“Trust and a strong therapeutic connection are central forces in affecting and facilitating change.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist? What inspired you to choose this profession?
I decided to become a therapist on a six-week silent meditation retreat during a mid-career sabbatical. I had previously served as Executive Director of a social service organization. It became clear to me that working as a therapist would allow me to be of direct service to this world and would more closely align with my values. Through graduate school, post-graduate clinical training, and other specialized certifications in sex addiction treatment and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, that has become a reality.
What would you want someone to know about working with you?
The therapeutic process is collaborative. I use a variety of therapeutic approaches within a framework of psychodynamic principles to help people regain agency in their lives. Trust and a strong therapeutic connection are central forces in affecting and facilitating change. My focus is on behavioral change and creating a space where perspective can shift.
How does collaboration with other providers play into your work?
I work collaboratively with all clinicians involved in the treatment of a client, and I participate in therapist supervision groups which allow me to receive consistent support and feedback on client care. General wellbeing is an important part of any treatment plan and I am connected to a large network of wellness practitioners if a referral is requested. Depending on the client’s need, I may also collaborate with a range of clinicians and organizations — psychiatrists, intensive out-patient treatment centers, and residential treatment programs.
If there was one thing you wish people knew about the therapy experience who might be hesitant to try it, what would that be?
When I first meet with a client, I always ask who in their life they feel truly comfortable opening up to and going to for emotional support. More often than not, and especially with regard to the issue for which they are seeking help — whether that is dealing with a spouse’s addictive behavior, one’s own addictive behavior, enmeshment with a parent, or childhood trauma — there isn't anyone. Therapy is a process, a place, and a relationship where anything can be shared, unpacked, and safely discussed. Clarity, discernment, and behavioral change take time to achieve, and it's worth the effort.
How do you go about helping couples recover from infidelity or the discovery of out-of-control sexual behavior?
Recovery from out-of-control sexual behavior and relationship restoration is possible. Out-of-control sexual behavior is often accompanied by shame, secrecy, lies, and second tries. These behaviors erode trust and greatly impact closeness and intimacy in relationships. For couples dealing with the effects of sex addiction or betrayal trauma from a recent discovery, there are step-by-step actions we can take to facilitate healing. Through a variety of tools, exercises, and communication skills, along with willingness, time, and adequate support, individuals and couples can learn to regain trust and closeness. No process offers a quick fix. However, through commitment, behavioral change, openness, and practice, relationships improve.
“Therapy is a process, a place, and a relationship where anything can be shared, unpacked, and safely discussed.”