Have you tried traditional therapy in the past but are still stuck in the same old emotional and behavioral patterns? If so, you aren't alone and you’ve come to the right place. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, addictions, trauma, or grief, to name a few, I can offer you a different approach that goes beyond what most people think of when they hear the word "therapy." Over the years I have become trained in alternative modalities and thus have transformed the way I do therapy. In addition to my clinical social work degree (from the University of Maryland in 2002), I completed two specialized trauma trainings through The Ferentz Institute in 2010 (and I am also a faculty member there). Most recently, I completed my 200 hour level yoga teacher training through the Yoga Center of Columbia in 2017. I've found yoga to be a wonderful complement to my therapy practice and use it regularly with many clients.
I love learning about new and exciting ways to improve therapy for clients and apparently I'm determined to work myself out of a job! Maybe one day, everyone will have a happy childhood and the world will be a much more peaceful place. Until then, I'm here to create a safe space for people to heal and discover peace within themselves. I hope to cross paths with you when you are ready.
Imagine that you are trying to do a jigsaw puzzle but the top to the box is missing. This is one way to conceptualize the therapy process: we will find ways to to work on the puzzle together and little by little, the picture will emerge. Some people want traditional "talk therapy" only, while others are interested in trying more non-conventional and creative approaches to healing. Talk therapy can include psychoeducation, working on changing beliefs, and taking action steps toward changing a behavior. More alternative approaches that I find useful include mind-body techniques, yoga, breathwork, art, guided imagery, and a method I've created called "Inner Journey" that allows for deep emotional healing. My experience has been that the longer someone keeps coming to therapy, the more open to trying new techniques that person becomes. A trusting and stable therapeutic relationship creates a safe and comfortable atmosphere in which clients are willing to try something unfamiliar or even a bit uncomfortable. Therapy does require effort and you get out of it it what you put into i
Therapy is a deeply personal process rather than just something to learn about. I've included the following feedback from clients when asked to describe what has shifted as a result of therapy:
*A sense of peace and joy that they’ve never experienced before
*More compassion and understanding for themselves and others
*Closer, more meaningful relationships with friends and family
*Discovering aspects of themselves such as “inner strength” and “inner wisdom”
*Feeling more comfortable in their bodies and able to breathe more deeply
*Decreased anxiety and improved mood
*Finally able to let go of self-destructive beliefs and behaviors
*Deeper spiritual connection
Depression and anxiety are considered the "common colds" of therapy. Life can feel overwhelming and even hopeless and sometimes we need help to recover the motivation, perspective, and joy that we once had. Some of the clients I work with take medication for mood stabilization and I coordinate care with the prescribing doctor. I believe that medication can be a helpful tool in conjunction with therapy, especially if someone is feeling suicidal or unable to function in their daily life as a result of depression or anxiety.
However, I'm also a strong believer in the power of lifestyle changes such as proper nutrition, exercise, quality sleep, and stress-management. Something as simple as correcting a vitamin deficiency can have a profound effect on one's mood, for example. I work at a wellness center and can recommend other knowledgable practitioners who take a holistic approach to mood stabilization.
Sometimes, what someone is calling "depression" is actually unresolved grief, and what someone is calling "anxiety" is actually PTSD. Part of my job is to play detective and try to discern what's really going on for a person underneath the labels so that therapy will actually work.
The term "trauma" has become a buzz word in the therapy world. I've heard one definition of trauma as "broken connection," meaning loss of connection to self, others, and the world. Trauma really is in the eye of the beholder because different people will have very different reactions to similar events. Whether we are talking about childhood abuse and neglect, or acute occurrences such as a car accident, physical attack, or natural disaster, there can be long-reaching and lasting effects such as stress-related physical health problems, nightmares, generalized anxiety, flashbacks, depression, dissociation, problems with intimate relationships, and phobias. I am so grateful to have received the wonderful training I have with regards to treating and healing trauma. Our bodies and minds were designed to be able to heal from trauma but it takes specific tools and a very safe environment to be able to access this healing mechanism. So there is hope, regardless of how long ago the trauma occurred and if other types of therapy haven't worked for you!
I see addictions simply as coping strategies that end up causing harm unintentionally. It is human nature to want to feel happy and comfortable and to run from pain and discomfort. When someone is inflicting self-harm it's because they lack alternative, healthy strategies to manage their emotions. There's a lot of stigma attached to the word "addictions" and I work hard to re-frame behaviors in order to decrease shame and self-judgment. Prior to obtaining post-graduate trauma training, my main focus was in the field of substance abuse, so I am quite familiar with how traditional treatment methods work. I've found that taking a strengths-based approach rather than seeing a behavior as the enemy yields more meaningful, lasting change even for people who have been labeled "chronic relapsers." Also included in this category are behaviors such as cutting, food restricting, bingeing, purging, excessive gambling, shopping, video games, pornography, or anything else that ends up getting out of control and causing problems in a person's life. It takes a lot of courage to admit that you need help and it's a sign of health to reach out.
Please contact me with questions or to schedule your 30 minute free consultation. You can email me at email@example.com or call me at 410-206-8573.
8975 Guilford Rd., Suite 170, Columbia, MD 21046
Hours vary depending on availability. I have some Saturday hours currently.