Offering in-person sessions in Oakland and virtual sessions for individuals residing in anywhere in California.
What can I expect during individual 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."
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 more authentically in alignment with your values and goals. I integrate cognitive, behavioral, and mindfulness-based modalities when helpful to address the practical problems of your life. Some people come to therapy for several months with a specific goal in mind and some people crave long-term relational work. I am open to both.
What do you mean by "psychodynamically"?
“Trauma is about the fact that we are all given more to experience in this life than we can bear to experience consciously.”
Psychodynamic or insight-oriented therapy examines how past relationships and experiences impact our emotional and behavioral reactions today. Psychodynamic therapists assist clients in building a greater understanding of their core beliefs about themselves, the painful patterns they feel stuck in, and then aid clients in experiencing new ways of feeling safe, thinking about themselves, and connecting with others.
Psychodynamic psychotherapy helps clients create change by helping them understand and work through their unconscious conflicts and patterns of behavior that may be causing them distress. As clients become more aware of their unconscious motivations and conflicts, they may be better able to make choices and act in ways that are more in line with their values and goals. During psychodynamic psychotherapy, the therapist helps the individual explore their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in order to gain insight into their unconscious motivations and conflicts.
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.”
Knowing how your past relationships and experiences impact you today is beneficial 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?
"One thing I feel clear about is that it's important not to let your life live you."
In my experience, the number one reason clients reach out is they are experiencing some kind of 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.
"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."
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 impactful in bringing awareness to the changes we want to make, strengthening relationships, and healing what we need to heal.
How do I find the right therapist for me?
"The experience of speaking from the heart and being taken seriously builds the psychic architecture that supports the capacity to bear life.”
The right therapist for you is out there! Your personal goals and that special feeling of "chemistry" impacts who is right for you. Further, knowing your identity markers are shared by 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.