Specializing in Anxiety, Depression, Relationships, LGBTQ+ Issues, and Fertility Issues
Many of us have struggled with anxiety our whole lives. We may be dealing with constant tension in our bodies, obsessive thoughts, rigidity, a need to control the world around us, and fears that have kept us from doing the things we dream of doing.
If you've struggled with anxiety in any of these ways, it's likely affected your self-esteem. In our culture, anxiety has a negative connotation. The messages people with high levels of anxiety often get is that they're weak and lacking courage. When I work with my clients on anxiety, I love to change those messages!
Anxiety treatment is one of my favorite things to do. Of course we work on a great variety of anxiety management techniques that are incredibly helpful. But I like to dig deeper, if my client is willing.
I help my clients explore their past and present with anxiety, and uncover all the messages they've internalized about their anxiety. Together we gather evidence to figure out whether these internalized messages were ever true, and whether they're true now. And then we actively work to ditch the messages that just aren't true.
We look at how anxiety has affected their self-esteem. And then instead of thinking of anxiety as a heavy monkey on their backs, I help my clients make friends with their anxiety. The truth is, anxiety serves us in many ways. It's often uncomfortable, but that doesn't mean it's inherently bad.
Often, people with anxiety are on it! They've thought of 100 questions, considered everything that could go wrong and made a plan on how to avoid it all, and have analyzed the heck out of every little detail. And guess what? These qualities are often the backbone of career success.
Overall, my job with my anxious clients is to explore with them what's working and what isn't. And to help them accept that anxiety, like everything else, is a double-sided coin. You can't just focus on the bad. We increase management techniques, acceptance, and self-esteem, and as a result, discomfort decreases.
Depression is incredibly hard to deal with. It feels like a fungus that has grown over you, making it almost impossible to function in the world. Depression is a cycle that makes you feel like you just can win: In order to decease your depression, you'd have to take action; but it's your very depression that's making you feel like action is impossible.
So how can I help you break this cycle? First of all, if you're even considering coming to therapy, you're one step closer to relief. When I work with clients dealing with depression, the first thing I do is make them feel safe and validated. I listen to your feelings without judgment and with an open heart. I validate how hard it can be to deal with depression, how isolated you sometimes feel, and how it seems like you'll never get out of it. Sometimes when we feel depressed, we're struggling with internal and external messages telling us we're not good enough, that we should be doing something we're not, that we're failing, and that we're weak. I help you challenge the negative messages that might be helping the fungus of depression continue to grow.
Once my clients feel validated and understood, we work on baby steps toward taking action. My goal is to challenge you slightly without overwhelming you. Depending on your level of depression, this might look something like leaving the house twice in one week, calling a member of your support system once a week, or taking the very first step toward a goal you've been avoiding. We go at your pace. And slowly, we increase your ability to handle being more in the world. As a result, your self-esteem and belief that you are capable will increase.
I've seen the treatment of depression make a huge difference in the lives of my clients. Through validation, empathy, and short-term goal setting, I've helped many clients increase their self-esteem and desire to live more fully.
Romantic relationships require vulnerability, intimacy, trust, and presence. They ask you to put yourself out there, get hurt, and go back for more. It's no wonder so many of us find relationships challenging! For many of us, vulnerability and intimacy can be uncomfortable and hard to achieve in a stable and healthy way. Most couples I speak to feel hurt and frustrated that they're not getting what they want from their partner. They're focusing on all the ways in which they're different from their partners, and how they feel stuck in dysfunctional patterns. And they're worried that nothing will change. So, how can therapy help?
When a couple is stuck in dysfunctional patterns, therapy can completely revitalize a relationship. Most individuals in a relationship need help feeling safe expressing themselves, and need to believe that their partner will hear them. I provide a safe space for my clients to be heard. I encourage my clients to express their unmet needs effectively, and help them make a plan for how to get those needs met. I help my clients process past resentments with their partner in a new and healing way, and with each step, I help the couple build lasting safety and trust. When safety and trust are in a relationship, empathy follows. And when empathy is in a relationship, all things are possible!
I have seen couples in high conflict, not only improve their relationship through therapy, but build a healthier, safer, more intentional relationship using tools they learned from our work together. This is exactly why couples therapy is one of my favorite things to do. Whether you and your partner are having communication issues, emotional and/or sexual intimacy issues, struggling with built-up resentment, or are feeling stuck in a long-term relationship rut, it's likely that you need an objective third-party therapist to help. If you could have fixed your relationship on your own, you would have by now!
Members of the LGBTQ+ community are three times more likely to experience mental health issues than non-members of the LGBTQ+ community. That statistic speaks volumes. In a heteronormative culture where cisgendered straight people are the dominant group, it can be incredibly difficult to be an outsider. Whether you are transgender, lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, queer, intersex, or any of the other beautiful things under the LGBTQ+ rainbow, you've already had to fight hard to be who you authentically are.
For many people in the LGBTQ+ community, being authentic has been unsafe. Too often, they have been bullied, abandoned by their family of origin, and have been victims of violence. Even in less extreme cases, members of the LGBTQ+ community are left to fight for their basic human rights on a daily basis. As a result, it's nearly impossible to be LGBTQ+ in this world without experiencing anxiety, shame, low self-esteem, depression, or trauma. If you are in the LGBTQ+ community and have experienced these feelings, know that therapy can be a healing place. Therapy can help you process past shames and traumas, and help you understand how your past experiences are informing your current life.
I've worked with countless LGBTQ+ individuals on coming out issues, internalized homophobia, issues of acceptance among family members, and general anxiety and depression. And I've worked with a wide variety of couples within the community on issues such as general communication, physical and emotional intimacy, open or polyamorous relationships, co-dependency, and infidelity. I provide a safe and non-judgmental space to be heard, and whenever appropriate, I infuse humor into my work. I combine my LGBTQ+ Affirmative training with a humanistic approach and a cultural understanding of what being a member of the LGBTQ+ community entails.
Family planning and fertility struggles can be incredibly stressful. Whether you're heterosexual or in the LGBTQ+ community, getting help from a therapist can be a game-changer. I've worked with couples and individuals who are emotionally and physically preparing themselves to start a family, as well as couples and individuals who have been in the process of starting a family for some time.
If you've been in the process of starting a family for some time, you've likely experienced drug after drug, setback after setback, and sometimes trauma after trauma. It can feel relentless. Even if you have a supportive partner, you might feel alone in your journey. I've spoken to countless women who tell me they're angry at their bodies because they feel their bodies are broken. So many women tell me that they feel they're "failing" and, if partnered, that they're letting their partners down. All of this can be emotionally devastating and take a big toll on mental health.
In my work with clients struggling with fertility issues, I provide a safe, non-judgmental space for clients to let out their sadness and fears. I validate the pain and frustration that most women dealing with fertility issues feel. And I help my clients feel like they're not alone on this journey. My clients and I talk about the idea of hope; we explore their willingness to have hope, and their fears that hope will only disappoint them. Without minimizing their struggle, I help my clients come up with ways they can increase their coping skills, turn toward their support systems, and find joy despite their challenges.