I see therapy as a collaboration––a space and a relationship that I create together with each of my clients. While I will certainly draw from my education and training to support you, I believe that you are the expert on your own life and that you already have this innate capacity to heal, change, grow, and identify what is and is not right for you. I view my role as walking alongside you, supporting you in reaching the goals you have for therapy, and helping you (re)connect with that capacity or sense of self.
While the way in which I practice is flexible, responsive, and specific to each person depending on their needs, goals, identities, and experiences, I generally draw from internal family systems therapy, feminist therapy, and relational-cultural therapy in terms of theories. My approach is also informed by:
-The concepts of safety *and* accountability. I have seen how––and research supports––that the most important factor of therapy that leads to good outcomes––is the relationship between therapist and client (think: do I feel safe with my therapist? can I trust them?). I want to work with you in a warm, non-judgmental way such that I can earn your trust and you can feel safe enough to be vulnerable and share all parts of you. At the same time, many of my clients have come to therapy looking for a therapist who will do more than just validate them. I get that, and that's why therapy with me can sometimes involve (gently) challenging you to sit with hard feelings, offering interpretations or perspectives you may not be considering, exploring areas or growth and things you want to change, etc., but still in a consensual, collaborative way. Supporting your accountability with a foundation of safety and trust creates more room for growth and change, I feel.
-A consideration of your identities and the impacts of systems of oppression. No matter what identities one holds, we all live in and are affected by interconnected systems of oppression, such as racism, white supremacy culture, homophobia, ableism, capitalism, etc. Historically, the field of pyschology has constructed mental illness as a disease rooted in the individual, but a lot of emotional distress and symptoms are reasonable responses to a society that is sick. In therapy, we will zoom out and explore how these systems and privilege, power, and/or marginalization have informed your life, your mental health, and your relationships with and beliefs about others as well as yourself. I feel I have a responsibility to approach therapy with a social-justice lens to support my clients as individuals and also in the spirit of collective liberation.
-The idea that personal, inner work is important, and we still need other people. I feel that we hold the most responsibility for taking care of our own emotions, triggered responses, and healing and believe it's worth being intentional about strengthening the relationship we have with ourselves, even and especially when that feels hard. At the same time, loneliness can be deeply painful and Western individualism is killing us; we need and often heal through relationships with other people. I aim to support clients with being curious, compassionate, and connected to themselves, and I hope that the work we do in therapy can lend itself to feeling more connected to others and having meaningful, safe, and authentic relationships.
-The desire to expand the idea of what therapy can look like and make more room for joy, humor, and creativity.
Therapy doesn't always have to be heavy or involve sitting with hard feelings, though I do feel that's important. It can involve jokes, memes, or otherwise laughing together. It can look like talking about what brings you joy or sharing/showing me something you're proud of. There's also room for art, music, writing, even playing a video game together. I encourage prospective clients to lean into their imagination and if interested, disrupt traditional notions of what therapy is "supposed to be."
For more information and/or to ask me any questions you may have about my approach to therapy, the theories I use, my experience, my own identities, etc., I invite you to reach out via my contact page to schedule a free 15-30 minute consultation with me.