My approach to psychotherapy is best described as humanistic and eclectic. A humanistic perspective means that I see each client as an individual and complex human being with all the needs, fears, and longings that we all feel. I see myself as a guide with training and experience and I see my clients as the experts with regard to their own lives. Through my questioning, comments, and observations, and their expertise with regard to their experience, we work as a team to achieve their goals. My eclectic approach means that I offer guidance and care from a variety of perspectives and disciplines including cognitive-behavioral theory, psychodynamic theory, attachment theory, and mind-body techniques which include mindfulness and self-compassion.
Psychodynamic theory: This approach looks at how early experiences affect current feelings about oneself (e.g., self-esteem) and current relationships. Oftentimes when a client feels caught in repetitive thought and behavioral patterns that do not facilitate growth and joy, it is useful to explore how she/he has made sense of early life experiences.
Cognitive-behavioral theory: This approach is very useful in providing tools and strategies to interrupt negative thought patterns and behaviors. Cognitive therapy includes looking at one‘s internal dialogue, seeing where thought patterns may be self-defeating, and shifting these patterns to more optimal and self-nurturing ways of thinking.
Mindfulness and Self-Compassion: Mindfulness refers to the capacity to be aware, in a non-judgmental way, of present experience. This awareness facilitates many skills, such as noticing subtle physical changes that precede shifting emotional states, enabling improved coping with these emotions. The flexible shifting of attention is another important skill based on being aware in the present moment. Mindful awareness is also the scaffolding for self-compassion. Self-compassion is the capacity to "tend and befriend" our emotional difficulties, tolerate (with self-kindness) our full range of emotions and experiences, and take comfort in our common humanity.
Attachment theory: This approach considers the quality of one‘s current intimate relationships and explores how emotionally secure one felt in early relationships with primary caregivers. Attachment theory provides a useful framework for psychotherapy because it can pinpoint vulnerabilities in relation to self and others and help clients learn more optimal patterns of relating.
Attachment theory‘s emphasis on the importance of secure relationships is relevant to psychotherapy as well, since establishment of a trusting and secure connection between client and therapist is the necessary foundation of successful psychotherapy.