How I Work With Clients, And Why
To cover the basics first, I'm a licensed mental health counselor with a graduate degree in counseling psychology from Boston College. I also have graduate degrees in landscape architecture and theology.
My work as a landscape architect and my theological studies may be an unusual path to becoming a psychotherapist but I learned many things from both of them that you can't learn in school, like how to separate work from personal life, balance conflicting priorities, navigate complicated relationships, be respectively assertive, admit you're wrong, take personal and creative risks, push past fear, be open to unexpected solutions and find inspiration. I also learned how important it is not to lose sight of your strengths, and maintain a sense of purpose.
Anxiety can shackle you in all these situations. The self-criticism, self-censoring and perfectionism that come with anxiety can make it impossible to develop the skills you want to (and think you should already) have. My goal as a therapist is to help you to a new place where you walk through your days feeling confident and comfortable in your own skin.
How I Work: Iterative Therapy and EMDR
Both therapy and design work best as iterative processes - as in, you don't expect success the first time you try to find a solution to a problem. Designing and implementing solutions for any kind of problem requires persistence, an open mind, a willingness to try new things and an expectation that the best solutions don't usually come immediately. When you start therapy (or design) with the idea that failure is educational and that pausing to take stock before you try again is part of success, you're much more likely to succeed. That's the iterative process and helping people succeed in it is my favorite thing!
I use two types of therapy to accomplish this. First, regular talk therapy, which works well for figuring out what's at the heart of the problem and how you can work on it. With me, this involves a lot of gentle questions based on the idea that you are your own expert and, given space and perspective, you'll know what you need and want. My role is to offer a variety of perspectives you may not have considered, and to be a nonjudgemental sounding board for your thoughts.
The other type of therapy I use is EMDR, which is a highly effective technique for helping people move past the stuck places where talking about things doesn't seem to work as well. I think of it as untangling the stuck places in our brains. For more information about how EMDR works, you can read my blog article and this page about how I use EMDR in my practice.
Finding Your Compass
If my work in the design field taught me the value of iterative problem solving, my theological study taught me the value of orienting yourself toward your deepest personal truths, purpose and values. These are crucial for a happy life. Without them the most elegant solutions to life's problems feel hollow. And the great thing is that asking questions about anything at all can lead you back down to those roots because all the questions and answers are tied together. Which is to say that, basically, you can bring anything to the table and together we'll try to find the best ways to handle it so you can be happy.