MY APPROACH TO TREATMENT...
MY BELIEFS ABOUT SEEKING TREATMENT
As Sigmund Freud observed, trying to bury our past is not the best way to recover from unpleasant events that have negatively impacted our lives. This is particularly true of traumatic situations that many people have experienced- experiences that they just can't seem to move past. The mantra we often hear from well-meaning family members and friends which suggests that you simply "forget about it," does little to improve our lives, and misery and suffering result from our ill-fated attempts to deny or "bury" our past. Whether it manifests in strained family relations, challenges at work, the inability to feel "at home" in your own body, the inability to form close relationships, or as a substance use disorder, confronting your issues is the only way to successfully move on.
The decision to seek help for issues impacting your mental health is not an easy one to make. However, when you finally do make that decision, you need a therapist who is able to connect with you as a person. I keep my client base very small so that everyone gets the individual attention that they deserve because no one likes to feel like a "number."
I believe in the inherent worth and dignity of all people. Through our work together I hope to enhance feelings of self-worth and dignity. I feel that this is important because when our self-esteem is at its zenith, our ability to cope with the problems of life is enhanced. My approach is one that puts the individual at ease and makes the experience of therapy as normal as possible.
WHAT I TREAT...
I treat a wide range of concerns, including anxiety, PTSD, depression, and addictive disorders/dual diagnosis, among others. Please note that I provide treatment for individuals only. I do not provide marriage/family/couples therapy. My practice is limited to adults/older adults, and as such, I do not provide services to children/adolescents.
I work and have experience in treating a wide range of clients, including:
Individuals who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning
Health Care Professionals
WHAT TO EXPECT
After discussing your concerns and a comprehensive assessment, we will discuss possible causes and contributing factors that may be underlying and contributing to your distress. Together, we will work to identify treatment alternatives that fit your individual goals, preferences, and lifestyle.
The goals of therapy are many and may include:
Helping you think through events and change behavioral patterns that are not useful.
Focusing on how you are feeling emotionally and physically and learning to use this information more effectively.
Increasing self-awareness of both automatic thought processes and unconscious material that may be causing or at least contributing to your distress.
Journaling and take-home activities to help you process and practice skills discussed in sessions.
Exploring how past events have impacted current life experiences and ways of relating to others.
In addition to being a licensed psychologist and professional counselor, I am also a professional nurse and nurse practitioner. This background informs my approach to psychiatric/mental health care. My approach is holistic, and one that emphasizes the work of therapy coupled with lifestyle modifications. It is only through the treatment of the person as a whole that healing can be achieved.
While I am skilled in several treatment modalities such as Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), Solution-Focused Therapy, Humanistic-Existential Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), (among others), my primary treatment method is psychoanalysis. I prefer this treatment modality because although it takes longer, its effects are more enduring than the other "briefer" therapies, and it tends to positively impact other areas of your life-- not just the issue that brought you to therapy in the first place. However, before proceeding, we will discuss available treatment options.
In addition to being a psychologist, I am a Pennsylvania state-licensed and board-certified psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP). Please note: Although I am a licensed nurse practitioner, I use this knowledge to help discern between counseling needs versus mental health disorders which may require medication intervention (and I make referrals to psychiatry as indicated). I do not prescribe medications in my practice.
I deliberately keep my practice small. By doing this, I get to know all of my clients quite well. You are important and to me, you are a person- not a "case number." My clients can always get an appointment with me within a matter of a day or two (and if it is emergent--the same day), not weeks or months from now.
TREATMENT IN REAL-LIFE: FACE-TO-FACE, NOT ONLINE
Potential new clients are sometimes disappointed to find that I do not work "virtually" with clients and provide services exclusively online. While I acknowledge that I had to use this approach when the COVID-19 pandemic was at its summit, it was never an approach I enjoyed. For many reasons...
By working with clients face-to-face (how life is actually lived), we avoid many issues that online therapy has created--- issues that serve only to impede the therapeutic process. Such issues include the inability of the therapist and client to see one another's facial expressions clearly, and the inability to read each other's body language (which represents approximately 70 to 90% of communication). Online therapy has also resulted in losing the experience of being "present" with another human being in real life. In-person treatment removes the problem of "the screen," which creates what has been described as a "stage" on which some clients have reported feeling compelled to "perform" for their therapist (not too dissimilar to the performance that one sees while watching a movie on television). In-person therapy also avoids many issues associated with technological challenges, such as the abrupt loss of (or unstable) internet connections, computer failures, and the multiplicity of privacy concerns associated with online therapy.
While there are many therapy providers out there who are willing to see clients in the "virtual" environment exclusively, I won't. I believe that you and your concerns are important and, as such, require the dignity, respect, and presence of a living human being.
My office is clean, comfortably furnished, and located in a safe area (actually, my office is caddy-corner to the Blakley borough building & police department), which is easily accessible by bus (see the home page for a link to the bus schedule).
PSYCHOANALYSIS... SERIOUSLY, DO I REALLY HAVE TO LAY ON A COUCH?
People ask me this question all the time. The answer is "no." Psychoanalytic treatment has changed since Sigmund Freud's time. Freud's famous couch was actually a gift from a patient, Madame Bevenisti, around 1890. She gifted it to him because she wanted to be comfortable during her lengthy therapy sessions with Freud. Eventually, Freud adopted the practice of sitting behind the client who was lying on the couch. Some people thought that this was to allow the person greater freedom to speak (or to "free associate," as we psychoanalysts say), but in actuality, he did it because he acknowledged that he couldn't stand being "stared at" for 8 hours a day!
While psychoanalysis has changed over the decades, many analysts still use the couch. But, of course, you don't have to. You can sit on the couch with your feet on the floor, you can put your feet up on the hassock, you can lay on the couch, or you can just sit in one of the chairs. It's all about you feeling comfortable during the session.