My Approach to Helping
I see therapy as a process of discovery about you and how you relate to yourself and to the world. It is a process where, as I help you to talk about your thoughts and feelings, you can learn to create the life and relationships that really work. As we focus on the issues you bring to therapy, our talking will affect the ways in which you relate to the world and how you experience the ways in which the world impacts on and influences you.
For some, therapy is about problem solving and may be crisis oriented. For others, therapy may be useful in dealing with difficult feelings like depression, anger or anxiety. Therapy can be helpful with relationships that are problematic. I have found that patients are often surprised to discover that the difficulties they have in one relationship have so much in common with other significant relationships in their lives. This may, for example, result in finding that problems one has in dealing with a boss are similar to those experienced with a partner or parents. It can be scary and exciting to become aware of how you (like all of us) repeat patterns that create limits for a more satisfying life. In our work you can learn to change these old ways of behaving.
I work with a wide range of issues and specialize in working with young adults who have difficulties with separation and transitioning into adulthood and with parents who struggle with the separation and individuation of their children.
More Info About My Practice
My clinical approach is not based on one particular theory. I don’t see what I do as one size fits all. As I get to know you, the theoretical approach or approaches I take will evolve from our work together. I see everyone as different and I respect those differences. This means I make a particular effort to work without judgment.
I supervise therapists in individual and group supervision. I focus on working with therapists whose patients are struggling with SeparationIndividuation issues.
Specific Issue(s) I’m Skilled at Helping With
After training as a Psychotherapist I realized that being a clinician meant I also had to be a student and a researcher. I am always studying and learning from people that I work with. As a researcher, I have found that most personal struggles are related to difficulties knowing and or expressing what we think, feel and need. The process by which we learn to know and express our own unique voice, differentiated from the voices of our significant others, is the SeparationIndividuation process.
IndividuationSeparation is an issue that is a fundamental part of human development. Over the years that I have worked as a psychotherapist, I have found that almost everyone who I have worked with has struggled with some aspect of this process. As a result, I have become increasingly attuned to this basic issue in the struggles of my patients and I have accumulated a great deal of experience and worked with a very wide range of problems in this area.
Everyone needs to develop their own unique self if they are to be separate functioning individuals in the world. The variety of conflicts that people encounter on their way to becoming individuals is astounding. Becoming a person requires saying yes to oneself: yes to what I like, yes to what I want, yes to what I feel, etc. One must also be able to say no to others. This requires tolerating a wide range of uncomfortable feelings. My work is about helping you get comfortable with uncomfortable and intolerable feelings.
Why Going to Therapy Does Not Mean You are Weak or Flawed
Recently, George came to see me for a consultation. He had graduated college several years before, was working in finance and hated it and he couldn’t seem to make relationships with women work. He felt anxious and depressed and told me he had been considering coming to therapy for a long time but felt it would be proof that he was weak and couldn’t take care of himself. He worried that he might be a wimp and he added that he particularly didn’t want his father or his co-workers to find out.
As George and I talked, I told him that I had such a different idea about what the choice of coming to therapy indicated about a person’s character. I told him that I believed the choice to seek therapy when you were unable to create the life you wanted for yourself was a sign of strength. It indicated to me that you had the capacity to assess your situation and decide a course of action to make things better. It meant you were not stuck going around in circles trying to make something work when it wasn’t working. In other words, knowing when to seek help vs. staying stuck in the same problems and issues is an assertive act.
When you are in a family, social or work group that doesn’t appreciate the merits of therapy or doesn’t understand the courage it takes to address your problems and look at yourself and your life, it is even more impressive that you can seek help. I believed that some day George would be proud of his choice.
My Blog Posts
- Why Kids Need to Be Able to Tolerate Uncomfortable Feelings
- Why Do I Take Care of Everyone’s Emotional Needs Except My Own?
- I Hate My Job: Financial Security at the Expense of Emotional Security
- ‘This Is Not Me’: At the Mercy of Others, with No Mind of My Own
- Why Can’t I See Myself as Anything but Ordinary?
- ‘Who Am I?’: Identity Politics and Family Conflict
- Terrified People Pleasers: Why Can’t I Love and Be Loved?
- When Trying to Be ‘Anything but My Mother’ Backfires
- Why Do I Repeat My Parents’ Hurtful Behavior with Others?
- Making Excuses for Parents to Avoid ‘Bad Person’ Feelings
- How Early Childhood Terror Stifles Self-Development
- What Happens When Children Don’t Individuate in Adolescence?
- Does Hurting Someone Make You a Bad Person?
- Mothers and Adult Daughters: The Pushes and Pulls of Contact
- Does the Role Scripted for You in Childhood Need Rewriting?
- Like Mother, Like Daughter: Whose Anxiety Is It, Anyway?
- How Unrealistic Praise Contributes to a False Sense of Self
- I Don’t Like, Admire, or Value Myself
- Losing My Self in Your Feelings: Empathy and Identification
- When Compliance in Childhood Haunts You in Adulthood
- When Parents Struggle with Feelings about Adult Children
- Why Do I Feel Like Something Is Missing in Me?
- Self-Sabotage: When Unexpressed Anger Undermines Success
- When Parents Project Their Appearance Issues onto Children
- How Unwanted and Intolerable Feelings Fuel Indecision
- Why Can’t I Be Me: How Parents Can Stifle Individuation
- Why Hiding Who We Are Hurts Us
- Parental Influence: Telling Adult Children What to Do
- The Wise Parent’s Message: Do It, Even If You’re Scared
- When Caring for an Ailing Parent Raises Internal Conflict
- Social Inadequacy: Why We Feel It and How to Address It
- Mom, I Didn’t Know I Didn’t Want to Be Like You
- Coming to Terms with Parents’ Feelings of Being Dishonored
- Why Feeling Anger and Hate Is Good
- Individuation and Children of Divorce: When Daddy Doesn’t Care
- Children and Parents: ‘If You’re OK, I’m OK’
- Separation and Worry: When It’s Hard to Let Go
- Selfishness, Guilt, and Separation: When Parents Take Precedence
- The Effects of Parental Involvement on Self-Confidence and Self-Esteem
- Off to College: Parental Separation Anxiety
- Parental Dilemmas about Babies’ Abilities to Self-Soothe
- Parent and Child: Whose Unbearable Feelings Are They?
- Blaming Your Parents Hurts You Most
- It’s Scary Being a Grown-Up
- How Parents Fuel Identity Crises in Their Children
- The Caretaker’s Conundrum: Guilt If You Do, Guilt If You Don’t
- ‘Just Like Me’: When Parents See Children As Reflections of Themselves
- When Children Reject, Disrespect, and Disappoint
- Stop Fixing Things: Why Children Should Be Allowed to Make Mistakes
- Couples, Trust, and Cyberspace
- Excessive Impression Management and Its Interference with Identity
- Individuation Experiences and Relationship Problems
- People-Pleasing and Looking for Mr./Ms. Right
- The Overimportance of the Other in the Process of Individuation
- Setting Free Our Creativity
- Separation and Individuation Among College Students
- Psychotherapy and Parental Dilemmas in the Struggle to Allow One’s Child to Individuate
- Starting School: Maternal Anxiety and Its Impact on Individuation
- Effects of Subtle Peer Group Bullying on Development of the Self, Part II
- Effects of Subtle Peer Group Bullying on Development of the Self, Part I
- Pleasing Others to Escape the Bad Person Feeling
- The Price Paid for Being the Perfect Child
- Staying Your Own Person while Home for the Holidays
- Following in a Parent’s Footsteps
- Individuation Issues with Elderly and Ailing Parents
- Fitting In and the Development of Self
- The Fear of Hurting the Other and the Inhibition of Self
- The Transmission of Separation Anxiety from Parent to Child
- The Undeveloped Self and the Difficulty of Relationship
- Children Opposing Parents: Talking Back or Positive Assertion of Self?
- Developing Mutual Concern between Mother and Child
- Adults and Children: The Positive Consequences of Tolerating Hate and Anger
- Wanting, Needing and Individuation
Client Focus (Age)
Billing and Insurance:
I don’t currently accept insurance, but I can provide documentation if clients wish to submit to an insurance company for “out of network” benefit coverage
Sliding Scale Available Clinicians who offer sliding scale payment structures may offer lower or reduced fees based on an individual’s ability to pay. Please contact this clinician for more details regarding their fees or sliding scale policy.