I mostly work with adults especially HAES / fat liberation, life transitions, LGBTQIA+, human relationships, anxiety, and creative folk.
Clinical Social Worker in Massachusetts
Relationship issues are most frequently about sex and / or money, and those issues can frequently be related to communication challenges. Alternatively, there can be a lot of feelings: about not being good enough, not having enough (literally - especially of money - in our capitalist society which impacts our wellbeing in so many ways), having less in common over time, the challenges of taking care of others, etc.
One of my most consistent questions is "Given this issue in your life, what would you like to do?"
The human connection is the most important part of therapy. This has been demonstrated over and over again, that the therapist we connect with is the best therapist for us, no matter what techniques they use.
Anxiety is such a challenging thing. Whether we have the hamster wheel in our heads that will not stop, or worrying all the time, or becoming controlling or avoidant, there are many things that we do to deal with what can be experienced as an onslaught in our heads of non-stop thoughts and feelings. Some people turn to substances or self medicate or self harm to mediate these experiences. Wherever you are with the Anxiety Creature telling you All The Things that are wrong, there is hope!
Family conflict to me is all about a few main themes: communication, most of all, and HOW we communicate with each other and have been communicated with; how families are the first production or play we learn in life, to use theatre language, and how the values, priorities, caring, we do (or do not) learn then are crucial to how we see things later in life; how families are frequently the last people to see or accept change and growth and relate to that change and growth.
Harm reduction work is grounded in substance use treatment, and its tenets can also apply to other arenas. Its deeply relevant for people who are engaging in self harm, emotional or binge eating, as well as for people who are very good at beating themselves up emotionally. Any way in which we can reduce the harm, hurt, and suffering of another human being is a gift.
Combining many treatment methodologies and techniques to best fit the person in front of us and their needs in the moment allows us to create new and more possibilities in the clinical work. If we weave a tapestry of options with the client, we can collaborate on treatment. Using creativity, existing "coping skills," and clinical work interwoven together can lead to unexpected treasures of connection and healing.
Although this is most frequently used in substance use treatment, it can also apply in other arenas. If there is harm to self or others, in what ways can we reduce the harm being enacted? What problems can we remove by making our actions less harmful to ourselves or others? Harm reduction can apply to whether or not we allow other people to "rent space in our heads" or to whether we accept hurtful statements from others. Reducing harm, hurt, and suffering is an incredible gift.
As part of my post MSW training, I have focused on Narrative Therapy as one of the main areas of continuing education for myself. Some of the tenets of separating the person from the problem / externalizing the problem is one of the most helpful things I have found that we can do as therapists, is work with people to see that they are not the problem, that problems exist in the world and do not need to be internalized.
As a HAES (Health at Every Size) practitioner, I believe strongly that community is one of the most important parts of healing our relationships with food, our selves, our feelings, and how we present in the world. I am starting a HAES group for people who self identify as small fat and larger in October 2021, for people who were AFAB (assigned female at birth), were raised female until approximately age 16, and believed themselves to be female most of that time, and now are any gender.
Working with other people to create environments in which everyone is supported to develop by creating new ways of thinking, feeling and relating to others is critical to growth. I relate to people as creators of their lives. This way of relating to people activates our capacity to play, perform, philosophize; to create new emotions and to grow. Ongoing social and emotional development is essential and inseparable from transforming the world.