I am the Director of Supervision and Training who works with individuals, couples, and families, with particular expertise in couples and family therapy. Both as a therapist and in supervising and training other clinicians, I believe therapy must be rooted in the values of respect, honesty, and dignity. I show respect to the individuals, couples, and families with whom I work by leading towards what is true, which is often also what is hard, because I trust in everyone’s capacity to heal and grow. I take seriously the task of building intimacy and seeking to move closer to my patients in order to hold immense pain, fear, and despair while also bringing joy and playfulness to the work.
I approach therapy with both curiosity and humility so that some of the toughest topics can be brought out of the shadows. I have helped individuals, couples, and families through a wide range of issues, including terminal illness, addiction, loss, family conflict, depression, anxiety, adoption-related challenges, relational trauma, and involvement with the justice system. I feel confident supporting my patients in managing crisis, no matter what form it takes.
Even the most fulfilling relationships can be complicated, fiercely protected, and kept private in a way that allows unhealthy habits and dynamics to flourish. Couples, whether newly joined or well-established, can find themselves in situations that deeply challenge their ability to move forward as a unit. As a couples therapist, I refuse to sit back and watch couples fight or struggle through unproductive conversations. Instead, I take an active role in helping partners formulate a shared understanding of—and ultimately, addressing—what’s not working in the relationship and the contributing factors, including families of origin, past relationship patterns, individual emotional struggles, and skill deficits.
Sometimes couples realize that the relationship isn’t viable and can’t be fixed. While most couples who ultimately break up in therapy aren’t planning on it at the outset of treatment, some couples come to therapy specifically wanting assistance separating with kindness and respect. I see therapy for breaking up as a way to honor the relationship while ending it. Grief is a large part of this process, as well as logistics around cohabiting, decisions around money, and children. In particular, many parents struggle with how to discuss separation and/or divorce with kids—not knowing what to say, how much to share, how to field questions, and how to manage kids’ reactions. I also help parents who are no longer in a romantic relationship but want to be better co-parenting partners. I maintain the focus in co-parenting therapy on the job of parenting together, including struggles with transitions from one home to another, discipline, and mismatches in household rules and expectations, rather than the relationship between parents.
I don’t practice a one-size-fits-all approach to therapy and this is especially true of family therapy. I’ve spent years working with families of all types to help them identify the stumbling blocks and patterns that get in the way of communication and unity. Issues like substance use, sibling conflict, and significant transitions like new family members or moves can cause families to get stuck in routines and rituals that are unhelpful, and which can keep families from running smoothly and happily. My job is to help identify and disrupt these old patterns and guide families to create new ones with intentionality and purpose.
While I have the benefit of experience and training, I understand the necessity of looking at my own assumptions, as I help patients look at theirs. Over the years, my patients have taught me important lessons that stuck with me. Terminally ill patients have shown me how to maintain grace during suffering. Headstrong teens have reminded me of the importance of being grounded and honest. My most successful and seemingly “together” patients have taught me about the beauty of being vulnerable with another person. Working with deeply distressed couples and families gave me perhaps the most influential lessons of my career: seeing love, grit, and incredible resilience where others see brokenness. Remaining open to learning in building deep connections with patients, I believe everyone has the ability to heal and we are often far more able than we think.