I treat adults, couples, adolescents and children. I am passionate about helping people of all ages live a full life, where they are not just surviving, but thriving! Whether you are experiencing a serious problem or want to live life more fully I welcome you.
Being alive is being aware, being able to be touched and moved and changed, being able to respond rather than to react, being able to see and hear.
— Rachel Naomi Remen
My work is informed by the most recent neuroscience. Research indicates everything that happens to us affects us. Recent neuroimaging shows the things that happen to us actually change our brain and this is true our entire life no matter what age we are. Our experiences, and more importantly how we interpret them, can cause great joy…or the opposite, unbearable pain. We can become depressed, anxious, panicked, fearful, alone. Or we may feel numb and lifeless or intensely angry.
That’s where I have experience and can help you. Working through (not getting over) the experiences that are causing discomfort (for example depression) or intensely unbearable feelings will lead to resolution and a peaceful sense of wellbeing and emotional health. I strive to offer a secure place where you will feel deeply valued. You won’t be alone with your feelings and emotions. The brain and nervous system change and become more flexible, coherent and resilient through the support of a compassionate other. The support you receive in therapy will allow you to feel safe, and find the courage to grow as an individual no matter what age you are, or together as a couple. The courage to feel, deepen, expand, and find your way to your own true self.
The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.
— M. Scott Peck
I am trained in somatic psychology/trauma and grief recovery. While I use recent brain science research findings to facilitate therapy, I also work with the body to facilitate healing. The body is where trauma is held, and research indicates talk therapy alone is not an effective approach to healing trauma. Somatic psychology focuses on the mind, brain/nervous system, and the body. I have three years of extensive training in trauma recovery (Somatic Experiencing, Trauma First Aide and EMDR. I co-facilitate two grief groups, a divorce recovery group at My Healing Place in Austin and a GriefShare group. I am a member of the Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute.
There is more wisdom in the body than in your deepest philosophies.
— Fredrich Nietzeche
Children experience healing and growth in therapy through play. Children have the ability to easily feel their feelings and develop a new story around an unresolved incident or situation that leads to resolution and peace. With just the right guidance their nervous system will become flexible again…it is wired to get back to a place of resilience and homeostasis. Sand tray is one of the techniques I use for this. I am trained in play therapy and am a member of the Texas Association of Play Therapy.
More important for our children than merely what happened to us in the past is the way we have come to process and understand it. The opportunity to change and grow continues to be available throughout our lives.
— Dan Siegel and Mary Hartzell, Parenting From the Inside Out
Adolescent and young adult years (ages 12 to 24) can be extremely difficult filled with fear, loneliness and confusion due to changes in the body and emotions. These years can be full of danger and risk. This period often affects how we will live the rest of our lives. For example, will we continue to think out of the box and access creativity when we are adults, or will we internalize the critical eyes of others and become filled with shame, withdraw and become rigid? I provide a place of structure, where adolescents can be who they are, as opposed to how they think others want them to be. This acceptance is often what facilitates empowerment, healthy change and growth.
The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.
— Carl Rogers
Therapy can be extremely helpful as a way to combat this period of feeling completely lost, allowing the adolescent/young adult to make sense of situations, approach problems and interact with others. Mindsight developed by Daniel Siegel, M.D, is one of the models I use. Through Mindsight, and the exploration of the person’s inner world, emotions become more balanced and life is a more positive experience. Also experienced is a greater focus of attention, and a greater understanding of thoughts and feelings of ourselves and others. Together, we will examine where the person has been, where they are, and how they want their future to look. This facilitates a safe and healthy separation from parents/caregivers towards self-understanding, autonomy and independence. The ability to launch into the world in a healthy way is often experienced. This includes the desire to check in again with parents/caregivers periodically, as opposed to the desire for a complete cut-off. And once again, this approach changes and supports the brain/nervous system/body moving the person towards greater resilience and mental health.
Couples I work with frequently seek counseling to work on issues of communication, trust, fairness, commitment. intimacy, desire, and passion, My job is to support each partner, and work towards the change each person desires to feel safe, supported and nurtured in the relationship. My primary focus is in creating a secure-functioning relationship so both individuals experience the partnership as thriving, equal and just. Based on couples research, these are the traits needed for relationships to last. I have four years couples training in two different models, Gottman and Tatkin (PACT) and have worked with many couples.
There is no such thing as complete independence from others or over dependence. There is only effective or ineffective dependence. Secure dependence fosters autonomy and self-confidence.
— Susan Johnson