Telehealth: IL, WA and FL & ID. Walk and Talk Therapy @ Chicago's Lakefront Trail and Alki Beach Seattle in summer. Ask about sliding fee.
Clinical Social Worker in CHICAGO, IL
I have worked in four treatment centers over the last 28 years. I see a huge interplay between issues related to addiction and trauma. I believe that for some people their path to addiction came as a means to self-medicate pain. I also believe that there is a strong physiological component to addiction and it doesn't reflect weakness of will. I support 12-step recovery but also alternative self -help groups such as Refuge Recovery which has a Buddhist meditation component.
Everything I see I view through the lens of being a lesbian woman in a changing but still extremely sexist society. It impacts the dynamics of everyone's lives. I see empowering women as my purpose for this practice as well as my soul's mission for being here at this time on the planet. Feminist therapy for me has always been about fighting all the "isms" we face. It won't do to be progressive about women but not recognize race, class, gender identity, disability or immigration status.
I choose to approach trauma work through present-focused coping skills training. I believe that for therapy to be effective the client must be the one to decide if and when details about trauma get shared. If someone wants to name the events which happened I am open to this but I will never force anyone to dig deep into the past. There is evidence that forcing this can create a high risk situation for relapse or self-harm. I believe that some of the best results come from group work.
I have been an out lesbian since 1986. I worked at Stonewall Recovery Services for the last few years it existed, providing the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and questioning communities alcohol and drug treatment services in Seattle. I love to work with people who are either wanting someone who needs no explanations when they are talking about their lives as who they are or with those who are still finding their way through all the issues that may come up.
I believe that without recovery from substances that therapy will always be extremely limited. Therapy is a place on the journey to deciding what one wants to do for recovery. I advocate the use of self-help programs. I have known people who quit alcohol and drugs just from church and many, many more from 12-step programs. I have worked with people who have found great assistance through recovery groups like Refuge Recovery, which is Buddhist philosophy/meditation based.
I come to anxiety work with an understanding that the way people reduce anxiety is by facing fears and trudging through. I know this process may happen very quickly but often takes time. I am a big fan of Cognitive Behavior Therapy and love to use the materials Dr. David Burns has provided. (Author of Feeling Good and more recently Feeling Great.) Having specific CBT techniques available can be helpful and sometimes you may just want to be heard and your anxiety may dissipate just from sharing.
Therapy can really help us sort through feelings about our relationships and decisions we might need to make for our own self-care and for the good of our relationships. I can help you process your feelings and decide what practical things you can do in order to show up as your best self in your relationships and make good decisions for everyone involved. Finding ways to improve boundary- setting and communication are just a couple examples of what we would be working on together.
A client-centered approach was integral to my early training as a counselor for women in the battered women's shelter and rape crisis programs I worked in at the beginning of my career. This approach involves unconditional positive regard for the client and active listening. All of this came quite natural to me. This can be a very warm and compassionate approach. It is far from the only tool in my tool box but it is fundamental.
I want to be clear that I do not force anyone to do CBT. It can be incredibly helpful for reducing anxiety. For clients who want homework and more structure to sessions I may work with them on exercises from David Burns Feeling Great book.