What do you specialize in?
Counseling with me might be a good fit for you if you are a young adult or adult who is hoping to reduce symptoms of anxiety, process grief and loss, or reduce the ways that painful past experiences are impacting you today. I offer talk therapy as well as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) depending on your goals and preferences.
Most specifically, I specialize in helping people heal from the impacts of trauma. If you have lived through a traumatic event or have memories that weigh heavy on your mind and heart, I am trained in EMDR, an evidence based treatment approach that assists in the healing process of your brain. Many people have not heard of EMDR, so if you’re curious about what it’s like, I’m happy to answer your questions. The process of EMDR is something we can discuss during your first session so that we can determine whether it is an appropriate treatment approach for you. From there, you can decide whether you’d like to give it a try, or whether you’d prefer to engage in talk therapy instead!
What can clients expect when they first come to therapy? How would you describe a typical session with you?
If you decide to schedule a session with me, our first meeting can be open and free-flowing, or–if you’re feeling nervous or unsure of what to share–I am happy to ask more guided questions. I will also invite you to share about whether you’ve had counseling in the past with a specific focus on what you found particularly helpful or unhelpful, and you will have an opportunity to ask me any questions that are important to you. I will do my best to help you feel as comfortable as possible by listening to and communicating with you to ensure I have an understanding of your general concerns and the ways you hope counseling will help increase your quality of life.
Once we have met, and if you feel I am a good fit for you, a typical session with me will have a conversational style that allows you to explore whatever has been gripping most of your attention recently. Sometimes, I ask clients where they would like to focus our energy so that our time together is as helpful as possible. I believe clients are the experts on their own lives, so while I will ask questions, provide feedback, or introduce coping skills or exercises that are informed by your goals, I aim to let you guide the content of our sessions.
If we are using EMDR, we will typically spend 1-3 sessions preparing to begin reprocessing and healing negative memories. These sessions include building rapport, gathering history, creating a treatment plan, providing education about the process and what to expect, and learning coping skills. From there, we will begin reprocessing. During a reprocessing session, I will ask you a series of questions about a specific negative memory. We will explore the negative belief(s) you learned from that experience, and identify a more positive thought you would prefer to believe instead. Then, I will ask you to think about that memory and begin “bilateral stimulation,” a fancy term that refers to any sensory experience that crosses back and forth over the midline of the body. Most of my clients prefer to use headphones and listen to music with a beat that alternates back and forth in their ears, however, other options are also available and can be discussed. In EMDR, we adhere to the belief that your brain is naturally oriented toward healing, and the ultimate goal is to help you feel “aware” of your memories rather than “disturbed” by them. We also aim to install positive beliefs to replace any negative beliefs you carry with you due to your trauma. This is a very brief overview of EMDR, and I am happy to answer your questions and provide more extensive information about the process to any clients seeking this form of therapy.
What is your personal style as a therapist?
As a therapist, I prioritize authenticity and compassion during our time together. Sessions with me are collaborative, interpersonal, and genuine. I encourage open communication so that you and I remain on the same page in terms of what tools and therapeutic approaches are most helpful for you. My hope is that you will feel comfortable keeping things raw and real during our time together. As well, I like to leave some room for laughter and lightheartedness (if it feels right for you), since humor can be such an awesome coping skill!
During sessions, I aim to help you feel empowered in every aspect of your life. By identifying your strengths and goals, and building a strong therapeutic alliance, we can work together to increase your feelings of belonging, meaning, purpose, and hope.
How have you seen therapy benefit your clients?
Clients report a range of benefits that are as personal and varied as the clients themselves. Some common themes include increased awareness, development of coping skills, an increased sense of clarity and groundedness, and experiencing a range of emotion that feels healthy and proportional to the circumstances they are facing.
What do you think are the most important considerations when looking for a therapist?
One thing we know is that clients report better outcomes when they feel good about the therapeutic relationship they have with their counselor, so I am a huge advocate of clients finding the right therapist. Whether you are looking for a specific treatment approach, or even just a good “vibe,” I will invite you to share openly about whether you feel I am the right therapist for you once we’ve had a chance to meet. If it’s a good fit, wonderful! If not, I hope that you will feel comfortable enough to share what you are looking for so that I can help facilitate finding the right therapist for you. After all, this journey is about your growth, and data shows that how you feel about the counseling relationship is one of the most important factors in the entire process!
Other considerations might include specific treatment approaches that align with your symptoms and life values, schedule availability, and insurance or self-pay scales that match your financial needs. While some considerations are easily addressed with simple questions, other considerations such as whether a counselor is a good match for your treatment needs, personality preferences, values, and lifestyle may take more time to explore. I would encourage clients to return to these considerations regularly. Sometimes with growth, our therapeutic needs change as well.
What do you hope your clients walk away with?
On the most basic level, I hope my clients walk away with a positive experience related to counseling. But, on a deeper level, I hope my clients find that the hard work they engage in during sessions leads to meaningful change in their lives. There is a huge range of complex emotions people experience as growth and change occur, but I hope that no matter where the journey leads, you feel empowered and confident in your ability to handle whatever comes your way.