Licensed Psychologist

Working with adults, adolescents and couples

 

Your well-being and how psychotherapy can help

I work with people across the lifespan. My role is to keep us on track and to keep our work together relevant, secure and sustaining. Your job is just to be yourself. I believe that people come for therapy to meet their goals, but the experience of therapy should feel like a good conversation. I can be described as warm and empathic when needed, funny at times, a good listener at others, and definitely interactive. The power of the relationship is the key, and I will listen, advise and support you, using a variety of evidence-based approaches, to work together to find out what you need to put you on the path to a better and more fulfilling life.

Stress and Distress

At times emotions can feel out of control, and important relationships are strained or broken. In some cases people struggling with these feelings use self-destructive or addictive behaviors which may make them feel better in the short term, but confused and empty later on. For others, the distress is seen in the relationship itself, as people find themselves caught in 'cycles' that they may be aware of, but are not sure how to break out of or change.

Stress may be an ongoing feeling of anxiety and tension. When it comes and goes it is typically not a problem. But when it feels as though life, or some part of it, becomes a constant strain, it becomes important to consider what kinds of changes in lifestyle and outlook can be made. Long-term stress can result in poor self-care, feeling run down, and medical conditions. The ways in which psychological stress and distress, and medical illness, impact each other, is one of my specializations and interests.

I also work with people who have experienced trauma in their lives. Trauma can be a single or a series of distressing events. Its defining quality is that it overwhelms our emotional ability to respond to it effectively. Examples of traumatic events can be exposure to verbal, physical or sexual abuse, or neglect; the sudden losses of friends or family; as well as car accidents, criminal acts, or medical illnesses. Trauma leaves signature patterns of feelings and behavior. For example, people feel isolated and may withdraw. They may experience nightmares, flashbacks and dissociation; or anger, guilt, anxiety or numbness. Trauma can effect one's ability to remember details of the event, it can also result in intrusive thoughts, sleep disturbances, and an overpowering sense of doom, as though waiting for the event to recur. 

Trauma is often misdiagnosed, as its symptoms overlap with other diagnoses such as Major Depressive Disorder, Anxiety or Panic Attacks, Bipolar Disorder,  or Borderline Personality Disorder. In many cases people who have been given these diagnoses have been exposed to trauma either recently, or at an earlier stage in their life.  

If some of these feelings seem familiar then I can work with you to make a plan to start to help you regain control of your life.
 

Anxiety, Depression & Relationships

While there are many reasons for depression and anxiety to occur, when they are present for extended periods of them they deplete your resources. People in depression may find themselves reacting in ways they have a hard time understanding, and unsure how to break the cycle. For some this can be a pattern of withdrawal from significant others and from activities, for others addiction or other self-destructive behaviors arise. These may make you feel better in the short term, but confused and guilty, or empty later on. Those who have been through depression know that it is not something that one can just 'snap out of.'
 

Anxiety, on the other hand, is a normal psychological reaction.  Under normal conditions it's our mind's way of signaling that something is wrong, or potentially wrong, and puts us in a 'fight or flight' mode. But it can also go awry,  feel overwhelming, and appear to the person experiencing it to happen without an apparent cause. This kind of anxiety, which may or may not be accompanied by episodes of panic, is addressed by coping skills in the short-term, and eventually by looking at the sources of the anxiety to better understand our own emotions and reactions.
 

Although it may not always seem apparent, depression and anxiety always appear either in relationships, or in the absence of relationships (i.e., due to real or imagined losses or loneliness). That is why the relationship, including the therapeutic relationship that is part of any work I do with my patients, is such an important part of the healing process.

Older Adults

Are you, or a parent or loved one, experiencing issues related to aging such as retirement, illness, memory loss or empty nest? As you move into the later stages of your life are you starting to wonder ‘what’s next?’ I have experience working with people in the senior stages of life, and the specific stressors that come with it. Older adults often struggle with losses of friends and family, medical illness, strained relationships with adult children and caregivers, and sometimes, the difficulty of caring for someone with Alzheimer's or dementia. I work with my patients on finding acceptance and meaning: not all problems can be changed or eliminated, but all problems can be looked at in a new light, and sometimes this can make all the difference.

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Contact

For questions, information or to make an appointment, please call me at 484-534-8830 or use the form below.

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