The clients I see, individuals and couples, come from all walks of life, cultures, religions ethnic backgrounds and sexual orientation. They vary in age: occasionally I see older teens or youth. Most often I work with adults across the age range—from young adults to those in their elder years.
The specific concerns and aspirations people bring are quite varied (see list just below). At the core, for most people are suffering and a struggle to find solutions. People coming to see me might be experiencing difficult life transitions, losses, disappointments, or unproductive ways of thinking or behaving. Most want to build and improve relationships; they seek to connect more deeply with intimate people in their lives and to communicate more effectively. Essentially they are seeking ways to live with greater ease, purpose, and vitality.
- Anxiety and/or Panic
- Life Transitions
- Meditation methods and obstacles
- Personal growth
- Stress management
There is no formulaic approach to our work together; each of us is different: at a different phase in life, works at a different pace and responds to and wants or needs different approaches. But, there are some core ways of being I strive to bring to all my clients which include authenticity, kindness and acceptance. Your strengths and resources are recognized and encouraged as we explore the hard places in a collaborative and open way, increasingly willing to move towards that which is painful and we have pushed away. For me it is clear that participating in psychotherapy is a courageous act. And, it is clear that you and I inhabit a shared humanity, aware that it is difficult to be human and that struggles and stress are part of our lives as we try to live the best, most meaningful lives we can.
Within those basic ways of relating with my clients, I draw on perspectives from experiential and emotionally-centered therapies, family systems thinking, as well as the cognitive-behavioural therapies, particularly those approaches that incorporate “mindfulness” and compassion such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. The list just below summarizes the main approaches that I use. As well, my training and experience in the neurosciences informs the work with individuals who would benefit from that perspective ( those who have incurred brain injury or who have a defined condition such as learning disability, e.g.).
- Acceptance and Commitment
- Family Systems/ Family of origin
- Relaxation procedures
An important part of my work is to define and encourage practices, small or large, related to key areas of life that are important to you (such as relationships, work, health, sleep). Self-care practices extend also into how we choose to relate to inner experiences (our thoughts, emotions, memories and so on). We can learn, for example, to recognize when we are unduly self-critical and to practice bringing different attitudes and understanding towards ourselves.
Ultimately, a major direction in therapy for me is to encourage, to help mobilize a process in you through which you are able to “reframe” your experience, that is, view it and understand it from other perspectives. In so doing it becomes possible to become more aware of and less threatened and less compelled by longstanding patterns of thinking, feeling and acting that haven’t worked for your life. You become strengthened, less burdened, more willing to do things that are important to you. You become freer to choose to lead the life you want with love and courage.