How I Work

In my work as a psychologist, I see myself as having three basic jobs. 

The first is to listen for patterns in what you tell me, and to help you figure out what the underlying factors in your distress are. These patterns can stem from a history of traumatic experiences, values that may be outdated, entrenched beliefs about yourself and the world around you, ways of relating that you fell into at an early age, or habits that keep you cut off from what is truly important to you. Regardless of where these patterns come from, I find that we are more able to make meaningful change when we understand what is going on beneath the surface, and can address the real players rather than just what meets the eye. 

The second is to help figure out how and why you might be contributing to what’s going on – not in a blaming way, but in a way that helps you make choices that work better for you. We all contribute to our own challenges in some fashion, and my hope is that I’ll be able to help you clarify what’s going on and to “choose better pain” – whether that’s the alarming feeling of saying “no” to some of the things you don’t want to do, rather than over-prioritizing the happiness of others; the discomfort of letting go of “safe” strategies that aren’t working anymore and trying new ones; or the fear associated with being honest about who you are, rather than continuing to mask it in an effort to avoid dealing with what life might look like if you decide to live with greater integrity and authenticity. 

The third is to help you identify concrete strategies that will help you live better. I take a practical approach to change, grounding our efforts not just in insights but in manageable, impactful shifts in behavior. I work best with clients who have a blend of curiosity and determination when it comes to changing what’s going on for them, who are actively engaged in the therapy process, and who are willing to try new approaches outside of sessions.

The work I do is informed by a number of sources. I primarily use Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), a third-wave cognitive-behavioral approach. ACT asserts that while pain is often unavoidable, we can still live deeply fulfilling lives alongside it, particularly if we’re aware of and living in step with what we truly care about despite the discomfort that doing so sometimes brings. To a lesser extent, I also use psychodynamic therapy and feminist therapy. Psychodynamic therapy emphasizes the ways in which early experiences – say, with your parents, or with previous partners – influence how you interact with the world around you in the present day. We often find ourselves repeating the same patterns over and over again, and the psychodynamic approach will help us determine what might be causing this repetition and how to help you work through the emotions surrounding the patterns. Feminist therapy emphasizes the ways in which contexts (i.e., social, cultural, political) contribute to our challenges, and encourages individuals to step away from the self-blame that is often wrapped up in our pain. In a less traditionally psychological vein, I also incorporate existential philosophy’s emphasis on the responsibility of individuals to make meaning out of their own lives.