Individual Therapy

Depression

Depression is a single term that encompasses a wide array of emotional experiences. It can feel like profound sadness, hopelessness, and helplessness, but it just as often parades as false empowerment, addictive behaviors, and irresponsibility. Likewise, while some people get "stuck" in their unpleasant feelings, others externalize, creating trouble not for themselves but for those around them. In these cases, the impetus for therapy is often the sudden realization that their actions have left them lonely and isolated. 

The common thread uniting the numerous presentations of depression is the sense that some part of us is "asleep." It could be the part that is capable of empathy and compassion for ourselves and others; or it could be the influencer in us that knows we have power over our own lives. It could even be the ability to sense the physical, bodily cues that signal connection. In therapy, we spend a good deal of time examining the circumstances that led to this shutdown and implementing strategies to help bring these parts back "online." 

Anxiety

Inside each of us lives a sage voice whose number one priority is to keep us safe. It whispers warnings like "look both ways" and "don't follow so close to that truck." With chronic anxiety, these whispers become louder and more frequent, sometimes escalating into yelling and even incoherent screams. The intended purpose of protecting us becomes undermined, and our ability to move through the world and experience aliveness and connection is compromised.

In therapy, I spend a lot of time getting to know the worrier in you. I find that these voices can only be calmed once they feel understood. The goal is not to silence the voice completely, but to find the "wisdom in the worry" and use it to take action for self-benefit. 

Grief and Loss

Loss is a part of life, and the effects of losing -- whether it be a loved one, a dream, or some part of the self -- reverberate through all spheres of our experience. Unfortunately, a cultural emphasis on gain often means that we are ill-equipped for the mourning that is necessary to heal and grow. We need more safe spaces to experience our grief without the familiar associations of self-consciousness, pressure to do it "correctly," or the sense that we are burdening others with our pain. Grief is something to be felt, not fixed, and I take particular joy in bearing witness to this profoundly human experience.

Sometimes, grief is obvious, and the firestorm of the immediate aftermath pushes us to seek help right away. Other times, we find that we are able to navigate the loss initially, but experience a smoldering discomfort that can last years or more. Still other times, we experience a number of "small" losses, but the cumulative effect becomes unbearable. We might even seek help for some seemingly unrelated concern only to realize that our suffering is linked to an unacknowledged loss. Wherever you are on your journey, I am happy to walk with you.

Life Transitions

No matter how vigorously we might resist, change is a part of life, and our ability to navigate transitions plays an important role in determining our overall health and happiness. Even welcomed changes are often challenging, placing new demands on everything from our daily schedules to our sense of identity, purpose, and meaning.

Transitions often present as crises. Yet, the sage knows that in crisis there is opportunity. Whether you are embarking on a new path or having one thrust upon you, I am here to help you make the most of life's rearrangements.

Relationships

The quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives. This simple fact is often forgotten in individual therapy where personal growth means just that -- personal growth. The problems that bring us to therapy, however, reverberate in our relationships. We could deal with the occasional sadness if it didn't leave us feeling so lonely; our anger wouldn't be such a problem if it didn't keep pushing people away.

Most of us don't learn how to have truly great relationships in the best of times, much less how to construct ones that stand up to force. What's more, the very nature of relationships is changing, and the models of relating we've absorbed from our families and culture simply don't get us what we crave. If you're feeling like something is missing in your relationships, you're probably right. Therapy can be a wonderful opportunity to grow not just personally, but relationally as well. I can help you understand your side of the equation, align yourself to attract genuine love, and deepen your own capacity for intimacy.

Meaning and Purpose

At the core of therapy is a desire to get to know ourselves so that we may lead better lives. Inevitably in this search, we brush up against some of life's more pressing -- and difficult -- questions: "Why are we here?" "What does it all mean?" "Do I have a purpose?"

While it can be tempting to shy away from such questions, I find that my deepest work occurs when I invite my clients to carefully consider how their answers impact the way they move through the world. When it comes to these fundamentally human issues, a small shift at a deeper level can create big changes on the surface. If you have been wrestling with (or avoiding!) these questions, I am happy to offer a safe, nonjudgmental space in which to explore. 

Resources

Necessary Losses, by Judith Viorst

Living Loving and Loss, Brad DeFord

I Don't Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression, by Terry Real

The Intimacy Factor, by Pia Mellody

Overcoming Codependence, by Pia Mellody

The Neurobiology of We, by Dan Siegel