Bio and Information
Let me start by introducing myself. I am a Licensed Psychologist practicing in South Burlington, Vermont. I work with adults, adolescents, couples, and groups. I specialize in treating interpersonal/relational difficulties, family of origin issues, trauma, depression, anxiety, OCD, and grief/loss.
I’ll begin describing my approach to therapy with some general statements. I believe much of the suffering that brings people into therapy is caused by entrenched patterns – emotional and relational patterns, and habits of thought and behavior which stem from life experiences – and that therapy, if it is to be successful, must be about finding a way for my clients to empower themselves to change those patterns which are no longer serving them. I see my primary role as a therapist as that of creating a safe and supportive environment in which my clients can explore their thoughts and feelings about their lives, their relationships, and themselves. As they do this work, they come to know themselves more deeply and claim their ability to choose their lives. Once a person has choice, old patterns and habits become optional – he or she is no longer imprisoned by them.
The specifics of how each therapy progresses varies from person to person and depends on many factors, the most important of which is my client’s agenda, which guides the course of the therapy. One client may be coming to therapy with a very specific goal, such as a desire to improve her ability to communicate effectively with a difficult co-worker, and a short-term vision for therapy. This therapy will likely focus on skill-building and self-care. Another person might be coming to therapy to address a long-term depression and a history of abuse and neglect which continues to interfere with his ability to have a satisfying relationship with his spouse and children or to engage with life in a satisfying way. This will likely be a longer and more in-depth therapy. A person’s initial therapy goals can, and often do, change as the therapy progresses and as the client discovers layers within themselves they wish to explore.
Regardless of the length or pace, I see myself primarily as a humanistic, systemic psychologist. In other words, I see people as basically good, at their core, and believe people have a natural capacity for self-direction and growth. Because I believe we are products of our families, our societies, and our cultures, I understand people best in the context of the systems of which they are part (both internal and external). I believe understanding these systemic influences can empower people to make conscious choices about how they want to exist in the world, in their relationships, and inside themselves.
I see effective therapy as a collaborative process between therapist and client, so I tend to be fairly interactive with my clients. I follow my own curiosity and actively invite my clients to follow theirs. At some point in the therapy, I’m likely to challenge thought patterns or assumptions held by my clients, and invite my clients to challenge mine. I often use Internal Family Systems Therapy in my work with people.
Life is difficult and often unfair and painful – much more so for some than for others. This pain and difficulty brings people to therapy to engage in a process that is itself often painful and difficult; and yet they do so willingly and with hope. The act of coming to therapy is a hopeful, courageous act. I am continually inspired by my clients as they engage in this process, come to see themselves and their lives in new ways, and make choices that allow them to live more fully.