Offering in-person sessions in Oakland and virtual sessions for individuals residing in anywhere in California.
What do you mean by "psychodynamically"?
“The trouble with the unconscious is that it is unconscious.” - C.G. Jung
Psychodynamics refer to the theory of psychotherapy that looks at how past relationships and experiences impact our emotional and behavioral reactions today. We have progressed far from the "does that remind you of your mother?" psychoanalysis of Freud and we can look more deeply at how both early relationships, systems we live in, and trauma impact us. I work and think psychodynamically and perhaps more importantly to me, I work relationally.
Psychodynamics demonstrate relationships (with people, systems, experiences, yourself) help define who you are, and I believe relationships (including the one we build in therapy) is one of the most powerful healing tools of past trauma. Working psychodynamically and relationally can help one build a greater understanding of their core beliefs about themselves, the painful patterns they feel stuck in, and experience new ways of feeling safe, thinking about themselves, and connecting with others.
What can I expect for individual therapy?
"We can practice being gentle with ourselves by being gentle with each other. We can practice being gentle with each other by being gentle with that piece of ourselves that is hardest to hold, by giving more to the brave bruised girlchild within each of us, by expecting a little less from her gargantuan efforts to excel. We can love her in the light as well as in the darkness, quiet her frenzy toward perfection and encourage her attentions toward fulfillment."
- Audre Lorde
I tailer my approach to your individual wants and needs. Working relationally and psychodynamically, we will collaborate to understand your stories and beliefs about yourself as well as your emotional and behavioral reactions. We will tend to the wounded, forgotten, or exiled parts of yourself so that you are better able to show up in this world in alignment with your values and goals. I work eclectically integrating cognitive and behavioral modalities when needed and wanted. Some people come to therapy for several months and some people crave long-term relational work. I am open to both.
How does therapy work for partners?
“When we choose to love we choose to move against fear -- against alienation and separation. The choice to love is the choice to connect - to find ourselves in the other.” ― bell hooks
Knowing how your past relationships and experiences impact you today is hugely helpful for how you move through romantic and sexual relationships. When I work with couples, I am informed by Emotionally Focused Therapy which looks at how past experiences shape our current attachments needs. Partner therapy gives space to understand each other's needs, notice patterns they are stuck in, and forge new ways of connecting and being with each other based on who they are as individuals. This style of partner therapy is way deeper than "here are some communication tools," though I will provide those too, this is about deepening your ability to access communication tools. Think about it...when you are feeling unheard, unseen, mad, upset...you can have an entire encyclopedia of perfect ways to communicate...if you are activated and distant from your partner, well, in my experience, you are not going to be able to open that encyclopedia. Partner therapy tends to be shorter term.
What brings people to therapy?
"Trauma in a person, decontextualized over time, looks like personality. Trauma in a family, decontextualized over time, looks like family traits. Trauma in a people, decontextualized over time, looks like culture."
- Resmaa Menakem
In my experience, the number one reason clients reach out is they are experiencing distress--and they would like to experience less of it! This distress may arise from our relationships with friends, family, partners, jobs, school, systems or from our internal emotions and thoughts or from our behavior. Many of us are holding these experiences of distress on our own, when truly the distress arises in the context of community and relationship. Community and relationship are needed to tend to, heal, soothe, and forge new ways of being.
How does therapy work for teens?
"Could we imagine that the instinctual turmoil of adolescence creates a special sensitivity and receptivity to the world and that this can manifest in the pleasure with which ideas are entertained, engaged and undertaken?’"
I work with teens collaboratively, bringing them into the process and not serving as another authority figure. I believe teenagers have great capacity of insight and self-knowing with gentle guidance. Many teens who come to me have feelings of overwhelming emotions or behavioral patterns that they feel out of control of. In addition to aiding in greater understanding of themselves, I provide tools for emotional and behavioral regulation and empower my clients to build a toolbox that works for them as unique individuals.
"The world is before you, and you need not take it or leave it as it was when you came in." - James Baldwin
Working relationally, weekly therapy creates a deeper rapport as well as creates a lesser need to discuss the more minor details of your weeks so we can get into the good stuff. In my experience, especially when first beginning to work with each other, weekly therapy is far more efficient and meaningful.
How do I find the right therapist for me?
"One of my greatest fears is I will die without finding a single soul who knows what to do with all this fire behind my eyes."
- Cindy Cherie
The right therapist for you is out there! Your personal goals and chemistry impact who is right for you. Experiencing your identity represented in your therapist can be healing. If you have made it this far in my website, reach out and we can assess if I am the right fit or if I have a colleague that better suits your needs.
Stephanie Bain (she/her/hers)
Associate Marriage and Family Therapist, AMFT #126452
Associate Professional Clinical Counselor, APCC #9796
firstname.lastname@example.org | 1-510-545-9329
Supervised by Dennis Reno, PhD.Lic #PSY9896
And Erin Harrell, Psy.D Lic #PSY27303
Employed by Center for Mindful Psychotherapy