"The glory of God is a man fully alive" This quote from Irenaeus exemplifies my purpose as a therapist- to help people become fully alive.
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Aptos, CA
If you are a HSP, you know what it's like to live with your perception, awareness, and empathy on overdrive. And you know that these same traits can spin you straight into exhaustion, overwhelm, stress, and physical illness. As a HSP, you have different self-care needs from the majority of the people around you. Through therapy, you can learn how best to nurture and soothe your sensitive system so that your sensitivity becomes your greatest strength.
Investing in yourself by prioritizing your growth is a major choice, and one that often receives a surprising amount of pushback from people in your life who benefit from your staying small. Choosing growth takes a tremendous amount of courage to be fully honest with yourself as you critically examine all aspects of your life. It also takes grace, compassion, and non-judgment as you build new habits and pick yourself up from sliding back into old ones.
Loss changes us in a way like nothing else. It challenges our beliefs about the world and how it should work. Loss often highlights the fact that life isn't fair and that bad things can happen to anyone at any time. Grieving is an ongoing process, both immediately after our loss and then again as we move through new life stages without that person or place or dream.
I specialize in treating anxiety because it's something I've dealt with for years. ACT is one of the best methods for treating anxiety, and it's what has worked for me. The process of navigating anxiety can be short- ACT techniques can give relief in only a few sessions- or it can be long- as you explore your thoughts and narratives, you may notice old habits that no longer serve you.
Transitions can be expected or unexpected, but any transition point invites a new opportunity to shape your identity. Some transitions like graduating school, changing careers, or welcoming a child are positive changes, but that doesn't make them any easier to navigate. Other transitions like grieving a death, losing a dream, or failing in life can feel devastating, but they can be the most transformative opportunities for you to grow.
I have additional training in career counseling because a large part of our anxiety shows up in the workplace. You spend so much of your waking time working, you deserve to have a fulfilling and purposeful career. Instead, so many working people are burned out, stuck in dead ends, and feeling undervalued by employers. Modern technology has transformed the world of work, and you no longer need to stick with something that isn't working for you.
Choosing growth is the highest good of humanity. As conscious beings, we have the option to stay in our comfort zones if we want to. Growth is difficult and often painful, but it is ultimately good. Growth often means engaging with our shadow side, the parts of ourselves we might rather not see. It takes bravery and conviction to look honestly at ourselves and choose to change for the better.
Mindfulness is the core of how I work as a therapist. It allows us to separate from our thoughts and get back in touch with our true Selves. When we act from our Self instead of reacting to thoughts or circumstances, we can have a full life aligned with our values.
Between my personal experiences with anxiety and my professional training, I have a thorough understanding of the difficulties and frustrations that come along with anxiety. ACT is a proven process that helps change your relationship with anxiety from the first few sessions.
I have helped many clients navigate panic attacks. Whether they have just had their first panic attacks or their experience is ongoing for years, ACT can help defuse the fear of having another panic attack and help refocus on what matters right now in the moment.
In addition to my focus on anxiety and panic, I also work with people who are asexual, aromantic, or questioning if either of these fit their experience. Many of my asexual/aromantic clients are in mixed-orientation relationships with partners who do experience sexual or romantic attraction. I have lived experience as well as clinical training in helping individuals and couples navigate the issues that may come up with an asexual/aromantic identity.
Existential questions come up every day. What is the purpose of life? Why are we here? Why do bad things happen to good people? These are key questions at the heart of existential therapy, and they are at the core of why the profession of therapy even exists. We help to create meaning out of chaos and order out of disorder. Existential therapy helps to clarify the questions and help draw us closer to our own answers.
Therapists are at a HUGE risk for burnout because, compared with other professions, we give so much more of ourselves in doing the work. Your natural compassion and attunement to others help you key into your clients' needs, but they also open you up to second-hand trauma and compassion fatigue. You can learn to recognize the signs of burnout and address them before they turn into a desire to quit this career entirely.
Relationships are a core part of who we are as humans. We are not meant to do life alone. But loneliness is a huge problem for many people- not feeling connected to friends, community, or partnership. And a history of trauma, loss, or bad relationships makes it harder to trust others and move forward in a healthy way. By looking at these patterns in your history, we'll get to know what you need to change the future of your relationships.
I work extensively with queer relationships with both individuals and couples. My specialty is in mixed orientation relationships where one partner is asexual or aromantic and managing their relationship with a partner who is allosexual or alloromantic. As a Christian therapist, I also work with queer people who are navigating their relationship with religion and how they want it to function in their lives to serve them and not to harm them.
ACT starts from the standpoint that much of the pain and difficulty in life is inevitable, and our response to these natural ups and downs can either create even more pain or be the source of our freedom. Acceptance is the center of ACT. Acceptance means shifting your energy from striving to fix or prevent pain to simply letting it be. Acceptance naturally flows into Commitment, which is your ability to live a life based on your values and not in reaction to circumstances.
Women face unique mental health issues including pre- and post-natal changes, hormonal fluctuations, and the challenges of living as a woman in this world. As I have worked with women over the past several years, I have enjoyed growing alongside all of the women that I have been privileged to know.
Sensitivity can be an amazing trait- you may be more open, empathetic, and aware than others. But sensitivity can also lead to issues in relationships where others experience you as too much, too intense, or too emotional. As a sensitive person, we can work together to help you navigate life in a world that is often insensitive and does not value your gifts.
Life transitions are where our pain points often show themselves. It's easier to feel okay when everything is going as planned. But change is inevitable in life, and we often discover new sides of ourselves when we go through the stress of a life change. These changes also represent new opportunities for us to grow as we transition out of our old life, and we have a choice how to respond to transitions whether they are planned or unplanned.
CBT is based on the idea that your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all connected and all contribute to your insomnia. The high structure of CBT makes it excellent for managing targeted problems efficiently.
CBT-I is considered the gold standard of insomnia treatment and is typically recommended as a first line treatment before medication. About 70-80% of people will see significant improvement with CBT-I and will not need medication to sleep.
Self-examination helps you look at how your past affects your present. Discover why you do the things you do, explore connections, and create a roadmap for your future growth. We are always growing and changing, but unless we direct our growth, our environment and circumstances will have a larger effect on us than our values do. Conscious growth is key to personal fulfillment.
Burnout is SO common for helpers. We give and give and give to others, and then there's nothing left for ourselves at the end of the day. It's hard to say no to one more thing at work, staying late because someone needs you, saying yes to every good volunteer opportunity. But you CAN learn how to combine your deep desire to help others with structure and boundaries that put YOU and YOUR NEEDS first.
Emotional eating is a major sign of disorder and need for rhythms of rest. Food is a source of comfort going back to our infancy, but as adults we need to learn new ways of coping. Explore the root causes of emotional eating and learn new ways of managing emotions, situations, stress, and trauma without turning to food. As you build structure into your life and grow your coping skills, you can watch the pounds melt off as you return to your natural weight.
Sensitive people are highly attuned to the people and environments around them. If you are a HSP, you will find particular benefit in creating rhythms and spaces that support and protect your unique sensitivity. Sensitive people are often strongly drawn to helping professions, but you are also at VERY high risk of burnout because you take in ALL the stories of pain that you are hearing throughout your day.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is a proven method for managing anxiety. By learning mindfulness to separate from your anxious thoughts, you will be able to refocus your life away from the limitations of anxiety.
Panic attacks can be debilitating, but they are treatable. I address panic disorders using a proven formula in addition to ACT for anxiety.
This third wave cognitive therapy incorporates mindfulness to deepen what is normally a very surface based work. ACT is useful because it can provide timely relief of distress and other symptoms so that you are more free to participate in depth work toward meaningful change.
Existential therapy is concerned with meaning, isolation, loss, and death. These four themes permeate our lives, whether we are actively avoiding them, fascinated by them, or holding them in balanced awareness. Like psychodynamic therapy, this method focuses on internal awareness as a key factor in creating transformative growth.
The psychodynamic approach to therapy gives a deeper look into how your past affects your present compared to modern present-focused therapies. This depth orientation helps address transgenerational themes from your family of origin. Your internal unconscious world is revealed through your actions, dreams, words, and thoughts. Exploring your inner world is transformative and results in deeper change than addressing external factors alone.
Your sexual identity is foundational in how you relate to yourself, others, and the world. Using personal experience and professional therapeutic techniques, I will work with you to confront the societal norms of heterosexism and gender normative scripts to develop your unique identity, presentation, and voice.
People are naturally wired for growth. If your growth is blocked, we will work together to identify obstacles both internally and externally that are keeping you from accessing your potential. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is a powerful tool to help you step back from your circumstances, clarify your values, and take meaningful action toward your best self.
People are meant for relationship, but many of us find that our past impairs our ability to develop meaningful intimacy in friendships, family relationships, and intimate relationships. I work with you on communication, boundaries, expectations, and trust to improve your ability to relate to others in a healthy way.