When I was first trained in psychodynamic therapy -- a traditional form of talk therapy-- I was taught to adhere to the mindbody split. Over the years, I have moved toward a more holistic and integrated approach. This approach allows me to weave talk therapy with other modalities. I integrate the use all of my skills informed by many years of experience in somatic psychotherapy, physical therapy, massage therapy, yoga, mindfulness and meditation, and harm reduction in both private practice and clinic settings.
My specialties are:
In my years of working with trauma, my fundamental belief has been that there is a place in us that can never be harmed. What and where this place is, I’m not sure. It’s amorphous. It’s known and felt, but it’s hard put into words or quantify. I keep this unbroken place in my awareness when I work with clients. We may be bruised and torn up inside, but within each of us there is a place that is complete, perfect, and whole.
Any event that has overwhelmed our ability to cope and integrate frightening experiences into our nervous systems might be considered traumatic. Trauma overwhelms our natural resources for recovery, looping us into cycles of destructiveness, dissociation, anxiety, numbness and disconnection. Since trauma is locked in the cells and tissues of the body, I have found that the most effective treatments address the body’s response, which talk therapy alone does not do. Some of the powerful, evidence-based therapies that I use are:
- EMDR (Eye Movement Reprocessing and Desensitization)
- CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)
- EFT (tapping on acupressure points)
- Mind Body Trauma Therapies
These mindbody therapies are effective in teaching us how to calm our nervous systems when agitated. I incorporate these techniques to help you reach a place where trauma no longer dictates your daily experience of life.
People often ask me what is “harm reduction?” I answer by way of example: harm reduction is wearing a seatbelt, a helmet, a condom. All of these things reduce, but do not eliminate, the possibility of harm. Harm reduction, in the most general sense, is any action we take that moves us toward positive change in our lives.
The harm reduction therapy approach I take helps us take an honest look at our substance use patterns. These substances can include cannabis, tobacco, alcohol, etc. We learn creative harm reduction strategies that don’t require an all-or nothing philosophy. One strategy is a moderation or modification plan. This plan can reduce the amount consumed, limit substance use to certain times of day, or substitute the harmful substance for one that is less problematic. Another strategy is to create an abstinence plan when we choose to quit altogether.
Through the course of harm reduction therapy, many clients discover that underlying issues such as depression, anxiety or trauma are the reasons why they are self-medicating with substances. This substance misuse is a way of masking or regulating the intensity of emotional turmoil. As mentioned above, I utilize body-oriented techniques to help calm down the nervous system so that you may become more aware of your behavior and potential paths to empowerment. At the heart of harm reduction is a gentle, non-judgmental, client-driven commitment to positive change which does not require an all-or-nothing philosophy.
I have further honed this harm reduction specialty in my work with clients who use medical cannabis to treat all kinds of ailments, such as cancer, Crohn’s, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s and chronic pain. I have facilitated medical cannabis support groups for seniors and for parents and caregivers of children with epilepsy, ADHD, and the autism spectrum. Some clients are seeking to use medical cannabis to help them quit or reduce the use of another drug, while others seek assistance in moderation management or abstinence either from cannabis or other substances.