Areas of Focus
PTSD and Complex Trauma
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can develop following a traumatic experience that felt life threatening, or from a situation that makes a person feel helpless. Complex PTSD comes from a traumatic situation happening consistently over a long period of time. Symptoms such as hypervigilance, reliving the traumatic event, nightmares, and sleeplessness make it extremely difficult to function normally in life. It has been shown that talking about one’s trauma helps provide a perspective of being able to control the event instead of being the victim of it. I work with various approaches, such as EMDR and Somatic therapies to help my clients process suppressed emotions caused by their trauma, and to learn to live more fully in the present as a consequence.
Depression, Anxiety, and Panic
Along with depression, anxiety is usually present. Many professionals actually feel that Depression and Anxiety are two sides of the same disorder, and can affect a person of any age. I use an integrative approach in working with Depression and Anxiety, addressing multiple psychological layers that may best be treated using various therapeutic modalities. Tools such as Mindfulness and Meditation are helpful in grounding a client and bringing them into the present moment, where underlying causes can be explored. I also incorporate depth work, such as dream analysis and active imagination to help clients connect to a deeper sense of purpose in their life.
EMDR is used extensively to reduce anxiety and posttraumatic stress symptoms such as intrusive thoughts, nightmares, and flashbacks. EMDR uses exposure to a traumatic memory or disturbing event paired with “bilateral stimulation” of the brain: tracking the therapist’s finger or string of lights with the eyes, alternating hand pulsers, or listening to alternating tones. Current thoughts, feelings, physical sensations related to the memory are activated, and sets of bilateral stimulation are conducted to reduce the emotional and physiological (visceral) reactions to the memory. This form of desensitization helps the person to reprocess the event and the associated negative emotions and beliefs about themselves into adaptive, healthy and more accurate beliefs. As the disturbance diminishes, clients often report feeling “lighter” and less triggered by situations that had previously reminded them of the original event.
EMDR has been researched for over twenty years and has shown to be a rapid and effective treatment for PTSD. EMDR is also believed to be effective in the treatment of a variety of other clinical issues such as Depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Substance Abuse and other addictions, ADD/ADHD, grief, sleep disturbance, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, phobias, dissociative disorders, low self-esteem, complex developmental trauma, and even physical pain.
To read some of my research on EMDR, you can download this article: EMDR, Neuroscience and Dreams
Living with bipolar disorder has unique challenges. A person can feel very alone, judged, and confused as to why they are often misunderstood. However, it is possible to live a fulfilling life and have healthy relationships if one becomes aware of how their shifting moods affect them and others in their life. It takes a commitment to self-awareness and a willingness to change the habits that exacerbate hypomanic and manic episodes. I also believe that it means understanding that bipolar disorder is a challenge that one lives with, but is not defined by. I work with people with Bipolar disorder to help them establish more stability in their relationships and daily lives.
REIMAGINING RELATIONSHIPS GROUP THERAPY
Sometimes relationships fall into unhealthy territory because the vision of what each partner wants out of their partnership has changed over time, or wasn’t clear from the beginning. Reimagining Relationships helps to fine tune and clarify individuals’ expectations and ideas about what their relationship is, and what they want out of it. When these unexplored and unexpressed areas are uncovered and brought to light, the relationship can function on a more genuine and honest level, giving an opportunity for each partner to find what they want in their experience of relationship.
The Reimagine your Relationship group gives the participants real-life tools to use when relating to their partners. Focus is placed on psychoeducation about the myths of what a “perfect relationship” is and on normalizing common problems that arise every day when relating to another human being.
Using Psychodrama techniques to recreate life scenarios for each couple, and modeling healthy communication and intimacy, participants will get hands on experience in navigating their most difficult issues. Although there are common issues for most relationships, each couple is encouraged to explore unique ways to meet their challenges using the exercises and tools learned in the group.
Online Therapy Available