Here is more about my counseling services in San Francisco and Palo Alto, a more in-depth description of how I work.  A large part of my practice is focused on women’s issues, in addition to men, and couples.

In the desert of the heart
Let the healing fountain start

W.H Auden

     As a psychotherapist practicing for over 30 years, I have become well acquainted with the craft of uncovering the heart’s knowledge. Using an integrative approach, I combine my personal style with several theoretical approaches in a desire to create an atmosphere of safety, learning, and growth. The theoretical approaches I use are psychodynamic, control mastery, cognitive behavioral,  focusing (a type of somatic therapy), and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) Therapy. I am also familiar with other approaches such as mindfulness and relaxation practice. I think change comes from motivation coupled with a healing relationship based on your needs and history. The progression from the desert that Auden talks about in the excerpt above, which could be depression, anxiety, transition, self dislike, an eating disorder, etc., to the healing fountain, includes understanding your feelings and thoughts, noticing the way you treat yourself and how others have treated you now, and in the past. In the process of psychotherapy it may be useful to use tools such as guided imagery, creativity, soothing/relaxation, and somatic grounding techniques. I use writing as a healing tool with individuals and groups and can also work with collage and dreams.

we wake up empty and frightened

Life has its own inherent difficulties and stress in the form of change, both positive and negative, and loss. As humans, we tend to be influenced by the care and attitudes of family and events of childhood. You may find yourself in difficult or unfulfilling situations that feel continuously familiar. I believe that therapy, through the relationship with the therapist, can bring a new way of experiencing yourself. For example, if you are used to criticism, you may find acceptance, or if you are used to experiencing rejection, you may find patience and support. If you are afraid to get close to people, you may find a slow path towards safety, or if you believe that no one could handle your anger, you may find strength and helpful boundaries. Also in therapy, you may experience times when the therapist makes mistakes or even inadvertently lets you down. Through careful consideration and caring attempts to understand, these experiences have the capacity to be very healing.

 don’t open the door to the study and begin reading
take down a musical instrument…

Sometimes the way of healing is to try something different. As Rumi suggests, “take down a musical instrument”. You may have no idea how to “play” your new music, but with willingness, new ways of approaching life can emerge. This could mean learning how to recognize when you are falling into an old pattern and having new ways to cope. For example, you might feel anger, but be able to feel empathy for the other person’s point of view. You might feel fear, only to realize that you are not alone. You might want to take a drink after a period of sobriety, or engage in an eating binge, but have other coping skills available. You might be able to get through a problem or disappointment without condemning yourself.

I am surf on the cliff
mast, rudder, helmsman, and keel,
I am also the coral reef they founder on

If you have experienced trauma in your life, you may feel very disconnected from yourself. This means that you may have self destructive behaviors that feel very hard to understand and impossible to stop. Or you may see things in black and white instead of somewhere in the middle–in the middle of things there are many more choices than black and white. This could translate into permission to eat some of the food you are craving in a safe form, go to yoga instead of running miles when you are exhausted, spending some time alone and some time with people instead of either one or the other.

I am dust- particles in the sunlight
I am the round sun
to the bits of dust I say, stay
to the sun, keep moving

                    My hope is for you to find a way forward away from the dark and into the light.

You can find locations for my counseling services in San Francisco and Palo Alto.