You’ll find me to be down to earth, respectful, honest, empathetic and challenging. I hope you will reach out for help.
Happiness is within your reach.
If you’re struggling with anxiety or depression, relationship issues, or you’re simply feeling run down by the complexities of life, I can help you. My therapeutic approach is very compassionate but direct. Therapy with me can feel intense but my clients often tell me that they needed the push I give them. You have the power to change your life; I can help you make that happen.
Life can be difficult and painful. While we are suffering, most of us think there is no way out of the drudgery or outright misery we experience in our daily lives. If you are in a deep enough hole, climbing out might seem extremely hard; it might even feel impossible.
The truth is that the path from pain to contentment and joy is one that requires sustained effort. Our lives don’t magically improve and nobody can give you the happiness we all long for; you must invest in yourself if you want to live a quality life. The good news is that creating a wonderful life, while difficult, is possible. Individual counseling is an important step for many of us.
I CAN HELP YOU
Determine what things in your life can be changed (and help you make those changes) and help you develop coping mechanisms to manage the things you cannot change
Understand and improve your personal and professional relationships
Manage daily stress
Identify things you might be doing, without necessarily being aware of them, that sabotage your peace and happiness
Take practical steps to move your life in a healthier direction
My strong belief is that all of us have the power to improve our lives. These improvements don’t happen overnight and you don’t have to make radical changes in a day. The path to increased happiness is a path comprised of tiny steps in a positive direction.
In counseling, we will focus on your inherent strengths and skills and use those assets as building blocks for future success and problem-solving.
You will discover that you aren’t defined by your problems, life traumas, diagnosis, or illness. Instead, you are defined by your capacity for growth and change and by your ability to take control of your life; this requires grit and determination. I can help you create a joyful life if you are willing to put in the work.
I love working with couples and can help you with relationship issues including conflict resolution, sexuality, reconciliation, separation, divorce, and mediation. My success rate with couples is very high. Many of the couples I’ve worked with have come to see me out of last-ditch desperation. Most of them have gone to couple’s therapy in the past and their relationships didn’t improve.
When you come to me for couple’s counseling, I will ask you two important questions: are you and your partner fundamentally compatible (despite whatever problems you may have in the relationship) and are you and your partner totally committed to your relationship.
If either of you already have one foot out the door, it’s unlikely that I, or anyone else, can help you. You might stay together, but there is no magic pill that any therapist can give you that will inspire you to want to be together if the relationship is really over.
Assuming you are both committed to making the relationship work, you need to be honest with yourselves and each other about whether you are compatible. If you are incompatible but you are ‘stuck’ because you have children and a mortgage and you would rather stay in the marriage than upend your lives, I can help you create an environment where you and your spouse can co-exist peacefully—but you are unlikely to ever be deeply in love.
Ask yourself this question: ‘if I met this person today and we had no history together, and no joint obligations, would I choose to date him or her?’ If the answer is no, and the ‘no’ is because of personality differences or any other major and unchangeable differences in the way you see the world, you are probably not compatible.
If you and your spouse are compatible and committed but are struggling with typical relationship issues (finances, fighting, miscommunication, sexual issues, etc.), I can likely help you heal your relationship and fall deeply back into love. You can experience a loving, healthy, ‘magical’ relationship even if things have jumped completely off the rails and you are losing hope.
I can help you heal your relationship and fall back in love—even if you are currently separated or considering divorce.
How will I help you heal your relationship?
We will work together to establish a strong foundation for deep attachment and love.
I will help you re-establish your relationship as the number one priority in your lives.
I will teach you how to communicate in a way that reduces the frequency, intensity, duration and damage of fights.
I will teach you how to relate to your partner in a way that encourages romantic love.
My primary area of expertise with regard to grief counseling is in working with people who have lost a loved one to suicide. But regardless of the source of your grief, whether it stems from the loss of a loved one to suicide, death of a loved one from some other means, childhood abuse or neglect, job loss, divorce, or some other trauma, I can help you. You are not alone.
People say that time heals all wounds but that is simply untrue, though it might often be soothing to tell ourselves as much. Time certainly helps dull the edges of pain, but time alone is not enough to heal the wounds caused by trauma.
The suffering I experienced after my own father’s suicide developed in me a level of empathy which is often lost on people who have never felt true anguish. Helping someone who is deeply grieving isn’t something that can be taught in a classroom or learned from reading a book. I’ve been where you are and can help you through the pain you are feeling.
I found my way through my own darkness and the path I took is still clear to me. Having experienced what I believe you may be going through, I know how to help you. Your pain may seem unmanageable but I can help you, regardless of the source of your trauma or loss.
Ten years ago my father killed himself and involved me in his suicide. That experience devastated me and I felt alone and unable to find a therapist who understood my pain. I worked through my grief and came out of that dark period stronger, and with greater self-love and peace than I felt prior to his death. When my dad killed himself I sought a therapist to help me deal with the loss. I was hoping to find an individual therapist who might also provide groups but would have been relieved to find any help at all.
I was unable to find a single therapist who had personally experienced the loss of a loved one to suicide. It was important to me that I see a therapist who had personal experience around this kind of loss because I believed then and still believe that suicide creates a unique and different grieving process for the people left behind than the pain people feel as the result of other kinds of loss.
This is not to say that I think there is no overlap in how we grieve or that other forms of grief can’t be just as profound. But the loss of someone to suicide is simply different and I wanted my therapist to understand the complex grief I was experiencing.
Because I couldn’t find the therapist I needed, I wound up attending a peer-facilitated support group. The group I attended actually exacerbated my pain and ultimately I was left to struggle alone through the grieving process. For years I was devastated, guilt-ridden, angry at myself and my father, and confused. I blamed myself. I blamed my dad, while simultaneously loving and missing him. I blamed everyone and everything. I tortured myself with thoughts of what I could have or should have done differently.
It is important to draw a distinction between peer-facilitated groups and therapist-led groups. The purpose of peer-facilitated groups is to bring survivors together to share their stories of loss, with the aim of providing comfort. Most of these groups make it clear that they are not providing therapy. There is nothing inherently wrong with these types of groups and some people may find them helpful; for many people, however, these groups can be painful and counterproductive.
The purpose of a therapist-led group, on the other hand, is to offer professional therapy with the goal of providing not only comfort but actual healing.
Many of my group members started out in individual counseling and then joined a group as they became ready and as openings became available. Individual therapy and group therapy are different in significant ways and you may find both to be helpful, or you may prefer one over the other.
Some of the overall benefits of individual therapy vs. group therapy include:
• More intense focus on your unique struggles (you aren’t ‘sharing time’ with other people; your counseling time is totally focused on your individual work)
• Total privacy in session—you may feel more comfortable sharing personal information with me alone than you might feel with other people in the room
My therapist-led groups provide a warm and accepting place where people who are grieving the suicide-related death of a loved one can find support and, more importantly, active assistance in working through the grieving process.
I currently offer the only Therapist-led suicide support groups for adults from Seattle Washington, to Medford Oregon. The Dougy Center in Portland, Oregon offers groups limited to young adults and children. For more information on this topic, please read my blog on Therapist-Led Vs Peer-Facilitated Support Groups.
I STRONGLY RECOMMEND GROUP THERAPY WHEN YOU’RE READY. SOME OF THE BENEFITS OF GROUP THERAPY INCLUDE:
An opportunity to work through your pain with other survivors who are in various stages of the grief process.
Group therapy normalizes the feelings you are experiencing. You will see that you are not alone and that there are other people in the world who understand what you’re going through and can help you heal.
Group therapy is less costly than individual therapy.
Most importantly, group therapy can help you uncover the faulty logic that is causing some of your pain. As an example, you may feel guilt related to the suicide of a loved one. You may erroneously believe that you could have said or done something to prevent your loved one’s death. When you attend group, you will hear other survivors’ stories and you will know that they were powerless in stopping the death of their loved one. This understanding will slowly transfer to your own deep understanding that you aren’t at fault, either.