What do you specialize in treating?
My clinical expertise is working with adults suffering from a range of behavioral health challenges including: trauma, addiction, depression, anxiety, and co-occurring medical problems like chronic pain and obesity. These broad-based labels are really starting points that most often lead to exploring underlying shame, grief, and isolation. Collectively, these problems get in the way of normal emotional and relational development, resulting in painful and challenging relationships.
My work is about helping you see the big picture, and understand how symptoms, underlying core issues, and relationship challenges are all interconnected. This then provides a foundation for working developmentally to not just treat one issue, but instead intervene on the whole of your life struggles in a way that optimizes your abilities to deal successfully with the messiness of life.
I also specialize in working with clients who are searching for how best to help a loved one. This includes parents who are wrestling with a child acting out (addiction, cutting, anger), or a partner who needs help but refuses to get it. In these cases, many I counsel feel overwhelmed, helpless, and desperate for answers. The good news is that we have some very powerful interventions that can assist you in motivating someone you care about to seek the care they need. If this is an issue for you, please contact me.
What form does your counseling take?
I usually work individually with clients, seeing most for one session each week unless there is a need for more contact. Occasionally, I will work with couples, but often find it beneficial to work individually with clients and refer couples work to colleagues.
Do you ever run groups?
Yes! Presently I am running a men’s group with my friend and colleague Matt Modrcin. It meets twice monthly on Monday mornings from 8am to 9:30am. The group offers an opportunity for men to explore relational dynamics, life transitions, or personal concerns that influence or impact their experiences in work, family, or health. The group has a process orientation, where participants are encouraged to explore what they are experiencing in their interactions with each other. This process orientation in the group can be emotionally uncomfortable, but offers the participants an opportunity to learn about their emotional responses and reactions. Often if we can learn to tolerate a greater range of our emotional experiences we can make the changes in our lives that we desire. If you are interested in participating in a Men’s group, please contact me for more information!
How do you evaluate my issues and develop a treatment plan?
Our work begins by understanding your challenges within the context of a systems approach. This means we take time to understand the various pieces of your life puzzle, how these pieces dynamically interact, and which ones are key to helping you move in a positive direction. We call these key pieces leverage points, because when we identify and intervene upon them, they have the power to influence many other aspects of your life. This is helpful because it means we use your time and resources wisely.
Leverage points are often not obvious and can take time to emerge. Examples include: Uncovering missed or incorrect diagnoses, changing intervention strategies, or focusing on what you want in life versus trying to solve a problem. With 168 hours in a given week, it’s critical that our time together gets you where you want to go.
What does your initial counseling approach look like in practice?
I am a firm believer in the idea that knowledge is power. So one component of my counseling approach is to help you better understand your life struggles so you are empowered to take steps to improve your situation. While we are taught many things in school, sadly some of the most important things about life, relationships, emotions, and creativity are ignored.
Even more, when we find ourselves struggling with challenges like trauma, depression, addiction, grief, or shame, it can feel overwhelming knowing where to start. So I spend time helping you learn how to navigate information overload, and connect with resources that are current, evidence-based, and most importantly help you understand what change strategies may work best for you.
How do you help me change?
While a bit of a catch-phrase, the counseling I do is always individualized. There are no one-size-fits-all approaches to addressing the complexities of your life. In general, my style is a mix of talk therapy with interventions that focus on helping you better connect with your body and emotions. Talking facilitates understanding, insights, and important Ah-Hah moments that motivate change. Yet many of the most challenging issues like trauma and addiction require a more somatic, or body-based approach to healing.
If you are unfamiliar with these types of interventions, you are not alone. Many believe counseling is all about talking, but approaches like Focusing, Emotion-focused Therapy, and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy are evidence-based therapies that also produce insights and Ah-Hah moments using the wisdom from our body and emotions. I blend these approaches with talking to help you achieve the outcomes you seek.
I have also developed an intervention approach I call the 5 Actions™ that I initially utilized with clients struggling with addiction, but have now found valuable as a framework for treating a wide range of behavioral health issues. The 5 Actions™ involve 1) enhancing your motivation for change, 2) evaluating your challenges within a systems framework, 3) resolving solvable problems, 4) managing chronic issues, and 5) helping you create the life you want. The approach provides valuable insights into how best to intervene on life challenges over a broader time span.
Do you diagnose?
I am not a big fan of diagnoses and labels, and instead believe we gain more mileage by understanding life challenges within a developmental framework. In counseling this means we consider how normal development gets stuck, and work to provide you the developmental skills and capacities you need to overcome your life challenges and problems. Often this mean enhancing your ability to be fully in your body, present, and able to feel and use your emotions in more nuanced ways.
It also means we explore what it is in life that gets you excited, that makes you feel alive and passionate, and gives your life purpose. By engaging your natural talents more deeply in the world, we find that problems often lose their power and require less energy to address.
Do you measure outcomes?
Yes! Often those who engage in counseling have a vague idea about what outcomes they desire. Most just want the problems for which they seek therapy to resolve and go away. But outcomes ultimately provide accountability for me as a clinician, and for you as a client. They help establish measurable targets that we can use to assess our progress in working together, and whether we need to change our approach. I measure outcomes using various assessment tools, and collaborate with you on determining what outcomes are most important.