All of us carry trauma of various kinds, making life stressors feel more overwhelming, or even the day to day. Experiences that were intolerable for you in the past may not have been seen or felt clearly, though they continue to impact you. Much of life disruptions result from seeking to cope with, or avoid entirely, these “exiled feelings,” often the emotional and physiological memories of unresolved loss, shame, or trauma (Van der Kolk, 2014). While we may carry the wake of past experiences subconsciously, the body remembers everything. When we have moments in our day to day lives that seem emotionally shattering, it is often because the unresolved and unaddressed emotional states are triggered and felt via cognitive, emotional, and sensorimotor processes (Fosha, Siegel, & Solomon, 2009; Ogden, 2009). Developing our relationship as a safe place for you will allow us to explore these states within a “window of tolerance” that we manage together (Levine, 1997). Learning to sit with authentic anger, sorrow, and even joy, empowers your core self – your greatest resource. The more you allow yourself feeling emotional states “to completion,” the stronger your sense of an authentic and emotionally coherent self becomes.
My relational psychodynamic training informs my belief that the therapeutic relationship, our relationship, will serve as a microcosm in which to explore how it is you interact with other people in your life. Your experiences while in session with me in the “here and now” will help to inform me further about your person (Yalom, 2010). I invite you to communicate clearly with me. Should my perceptions of what you’ve shared seem off base, I want to know. In this work, you are teaching me about who you are, and the more I can respond in a constructive way, leaving you to feel further seen and understood, the stronger our collaboration will be, allowing for deeper exploration and honest healing. Each moment we successfully repair a potential rift in session, you are building greater emotional resilience.
our bodies are the texts that carry the memories and therefore remembering is no less than reincarnation.
I use motivational interviewing and dialectical behavioral therapy (a marriage of cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness techniques and skill sets) as additional tools. Further information regarding both frameworks can be found on my website. Throughout the course of my work to date, I have found relational-cultural theory as a most useful framework in understanding emotional well-being, as connectedness to one’s self and the various layers of one’s life (professionally, interpersonally, communally, societally, etc.) (Comstock, et al., 2008). Additionally, feminist theory and liberation psychology inform my conceptualizations of clients and treatment plans (Brown, 2006; Martín-Baró, 1994). Holding ecological truth and learning how to move within various cultural and contextual realities throughout our work together is crucial to providing holistic therapeutic care, and often key to lasting empowerment (Aron & Corne, 1994; Ballou & Brown, 2002). I am, of course, more than willing to discuss these orientations further and direct you to relevant literature should you be interested.
Aron, A., & Corne, S. (1994). Writings for a liberation psychology: Ignacio Martin-Baro. Cambridge: Harvard UP.
Ballou, M. B., & Brown, L. S. (Eds.). (2002). Rethinking mental health and disorder: Feminist perspectives. Guilford Press.
Brown, L. S. (2006). Still subversive after all these years: The relevance of feminist therapy in the age of evidence-based practice. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 30(1), 15-24.
Comstock, D. L., Hammer, T. R., Strentzsch, J., Cannon, K., Parsons, J., & II, G. S. (2008). Relational‐cultural theory: A framework for bridging relational, multicultural, and social justice competencies. Journal of Counseling & Development, 86(3), 279-287.
Fosha, D., Siegel, D. J., & Solomon, M. (Eds.). (2009). The healing power of emotion: Affective neuroscience, development & clinical practice. WW Norton & Company.
Levine, P. and with Frederick, A. (1997). Waking the tiger: Healing trauma, Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.
Martín-Baró, I. (1994). Writings for a liberation psychology. Harvard University Press.
Ogden, M. F. (2009). Emotion, mindfulness, and movement: Expanding the regulatory boundaries of the window of affect tolerance The healing power of emotion ed. Fosha, MF Siegel, MF Solomon, MF New York: WW Norton, 204-231.
Yalom, I. D. (2010). The gift of therapy. Piatkus.