My Philosophy for Therapy
In my work as a therapist, I frequently bring the themes of empowerment and self-compassion into sessions. I believe that many of our behaviors that become problematic (e.g., isolation, self-harm, disordered eating) begin as a way to cope, when we feel we have little control in our worlds. From this perspective, even if certain behaviors are now causing you distress, it is amazing that you empowered yourself to survive, whether it be during times of trauma or when you did not have room to figure out who you truly were. Now, we can collaboratively figure out new strategies that not only allow you to survive, but to thrive, in a way that allows you to feel peaceful and free. Part of this process may be developing self-compassion for yourself, your behaviors, and your experiences. Together, we can help you let go of feelings of guilt and shame.
My approach to therapy is informed by interpersonal, cognitive-behavioral, and acceptance and commitment theories. I believe that, frequently, negative beliefs about ourselves form from past experiences such as traumas, being ignored, being pressured to be a particular way, or societal messages. These beliefs impact how we act toward others, which can in turn negatively influence relationships and make us continue to have negative beliefs. For example, if you believe you are unlikable, you might not want to ask people to spend time with you because you are afraid they will say no. Because you don’t invite people to spend time together, they might assume you don’t want to and will not ask you either. When this happens, it frequently causes you to hold stronger to that belief that you are unlikable. By figuring out how to change our relationships and interactions with others, challenging negative thinking, and learning new assertive ways of coping, we can feel less alone and more empowered and confident.
I also believe that learning to treat yourself like a friend is important. Do you find that you are very hard on yourself, almost to the extent of berating yourself, when you make a mistake? Although that can feel like it keeps you motivated, it also can keep you disliking yourself and pushing yourself down. But, if you learn how to “give yourself a hand” and pull yourself up through self-compassion, you can live a life in which you learn from and embrace your experiences and use them to empower yourself moving forward.
Finally, I view all individuals through a lens that respects, accepts, and acknowledges their multiple identities (e.g., gender, ethnic, sexual, religious). If you have experienced marginalization and oppression, I want to understand how this impacts you and help develop strategies to empower yourself in these situations or provide a space to heal. I also want to figure out how we can use your identities as strengths, whether we find related support systems or acknowledge your resilience as a tool going forward. I believe that striving to understand your unique worldview is necessary for us to best figure ways to empower you, develop self-compassion, and reach your goals.
I hope to create a space for you to be your authentic and true self.