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My New Petaluma Therapy Office13-Dec-2010

I have moved my office from Santa Rosa to the Burdell Building in Petaluma at 405 East D St..

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Therapeutic and Counseling Services

I have successfully worked with individuals, couples, and families struggling with a wide range of difficulties including trauma, depression, and relational conflicts. I also specialize in psychotherapy for people dealing with issues related to borderline personality disorder and bipolar disorder.

When working with clients I ultilize an eclectic approach with a large portion being a psychodynamic approach. I also untilize other approaches when appropriate and/or when it would assist the growth/healing process including, but not limited to DBT, CBT, anger management, and EMDR.

Counseling for People with Trauma

My work with people who are dealing with past trauma involves exploring the trauma and the coping and survival mechanisms that were developed to assist them in living through and surviving their traumatic or abusive situations. We look at how these coping and survival mechanisms assisted them at different points in their lives, but how they may be getting in their way now.

I help clients recognize when the coping and survival mechanisms are kicking in automatically (autopilot) and how to check whether the mechanism is either needed or appropriate in the current situation. This assists people in becoming more conscious and gives them the ability to choose whether to implement the coping mechanism or not, or to utilize another tool or option.

I assist clients in developing other options and skills to utilize in addition to the mechanisms they already have. They also commonly shift old mechanisms into updated versions that fit better with their current life situation. We also explore triggers and body sensations that offer information cues. I offer information and education regarding trauma and trauma response, to normalize what they may be experiencing due to the situations they experienced.

Couples Counseling

My work in couples counseling often involves:
  • Working with partners to take their relationship from where it currently is to where they want it to be, to identifying the steps for getting there, and to assist in moving forward with those steps,
  • Offering tools for improving communication between partners and enhancing their relationship,
  • Helping people to repair the relationship and to reconnect after they have disconnected or damaged the relationship. Repairing and reconnecting are intricate to growing and healing as a couple. All couples argue, disagree, and disconnect at some moments. The challenge is to learn to reconnect and repair any damage that has been done to the relationship. I assist people with tools and techniques and to utilize the strengths that they bring to the relationship, and
  • Helping couples salvage their relationship or finding ways that they can separate amicably.

My couples therapy work is informed by the research of Dr. John Gottman.

Counseling for People with Borderline Personality Disorder

I teach people who struggle with symptoms associated with Borderline Personality Disorder, to regulate their emotions using Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and the tools and techniques associated with them. I help people develop and recognize self soothing and self-calming techniques to utilize when they feel like their emotions are out of control or in control of their lives. Often changing the environment, body temperature, thoughts, or actions can shift emotion enough to re-engage their cognitive processes and the ability to think clearly.

I also encourage clients to practice self-care and calming techniques such as soothing music, taking a bath, applying an ice rag to their neck, prayer or a mantra, breathing exercises, journaling, utilize calming smells, etc. Although these techniques may seem simple, they can be hard to utilize and/or remember especially when the emotion is in charge. Helping people regulate their emotions gives them options beyond just the standard autopilot.

I also help people to:

  • recognize and control reactive impulsivity,
  • recognize black and white thinking, globalization, and all or nothing thinking,
  • identify distorted thoughts and thought patterns, and to utilize thought stopping,
  • stop and change the channel,
  • recognize their autopilot and to disengage it,
  • review and expand options available, and
  • assert appropriate choice based on the information they have reviewed.

Counseling for People with Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

I help clients develop options for dealing with the dramatic mood swings by having them keep track of moods through the use of a mood journal in order to recognize the mood being experienced. Journaling allows them to see that the current mood isn’t always present and will not always be there, making it feel even more tolerable. We develop a list of options for when they are faced with extreme moods and I teach:

  • opposite action,
  • being present/mindful,
  • self soothing techniques,
  • distraction techniques,
  • distress tolerance,
  • assertive communication skills,
  • and
  • interpersonal and relational skills.