Individual Therapy

Pain is the cracking of the shell of our understanding

Kahil Gibran

Even in our sleep
Pain which cannot forget
Falls drop by drop upon the heart
Until in our own despair
Against our will
Comes wisdom
Through the awful grace of God

Lifelong pain is so woven into our nervous system, our musculature, and our hearts, that we take it for granted as the way things are. We survive, instead of thriving. We live in preverbal states of chronic shock, grief, melancholy, insecurity, agitation or dread, without knowing why. In individual therapy, we learn to tune into our bodies, our memories, our intuitions and our dreams in order to break free of self-imposed prisons constructed long ago. Most importantly, we do so in partnership.‘Aha’ moments of piercing clarity occur in our body/mind, and always carry an emotional punch that can send us reeling. I will be there to catch you, so you don’t fall.

Therapy can be a lot like surfing: learning to balance at the edge of curiosity while riding the waves of feelings, especially preverbal feelings,  until they begin to make sense. Other metaphor for the therapy process: :

  • diving into the depths of one’s soul with a trusted companion
  • learning to breathe underwater while looking around at the mysteries of the ocean
  • a relationship between equals, exploring the meaning of life and suffering
  • unwinding interpenetrating layers of knotted yarn to weave a new tapestry of  your life
  • putting the pieces together of a shattered or broken heart
  • creating a work of art
  • gazing into a mirror that makes you feel good about your reflection
  • discovering your destiny, your highest potential, instead of being trapped by fate
  • entering and emerging from the dark night of the soul
  • closing some doors and opening others

Children/Adolescents: I work with children 11 and up so long as they want to partner with me  to understand themselves better. Many reasons bring children into therapy:

  • drugs, alcohol, videogaming and pornography
  • relationship challenges: sibs, friends, sexuality
  • dysregulation,: anxiety, panic, shame spirals,rage, defiance, despair, loneliness
  • identity issues including gender identification, sexual preferences and shifting relationships withibn the family
  • college applications: stress, avoicance, and overwhelm. Or, do I want college at all?
  • difficulty with school, driving, athletics
  • shifts in feelings towards self, family and authority
  • life long struggles with
    •  trauma: physical, sexual, or emotional
    • Aspergers
    • adoption
    • family dysfunction
    • medical challenges in self or family members

Young Adults The adolescent brain does not mature until the late 20’s.. Relationship, academic and self esteem issues figure prominently in the psychotherapy of young adults as they differentiate from their family of origin  and try to figure out who they are.

  • career choice: what I want or what my family expects
  • who my friends are, do I feel respected and valued?
  • dating and sexuality: soulmate or hook up
  • sexual and gender identity
  • college and post college blues
  • deatrh of friends
  • suicidal thoughts
  • to date, go solo or marry?

Adults Most therapy with  adult patients occurs in the hours between sessions!, Most adults who choose to work with me are coping with developmental trauma. Sometimes traumatic childhoods are subtle, not dramatic: feelings can be dissociated or overwhelming .

  • Relationships are always a struggle
  • I’m high funcgioning on the ooutside but a mess on in the inside
  • anxiety and despair that doesn’t quite make sense
  • I wish I were dead but I’m not really suicidal
  • Life is exhausting
  • I never really felt loved or lovable
  • Something is missing but I don’t know what
  • I’ve never really felt safe
  • I don’t trust people as much as animals
  • What’s wrong with me?