Psychotherapy: Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome! I’m glad you’ve found my website and this page. Choosing the right therapist is an important and personal decision. As therapists differ greatly in their approaches I’d like to provide some information about my ways of working with clients. I encourage you to read about my approach to determine if it feels like a good fit for you.

In a broad sense, and drawing on my own experiences as both a therapist and a client of many years of therapy, psychotherapy is a journey of self-exploration and self-discovery. Many of us are often focused on our external environment and the actions of others, but in reality it is our inner world that needs tending. By committing to a process of self-exploration we get to know ourselves better and discover emotions and experiences we have not been aware of. It is through this journey of looking inward that we can reduce our suffering and distressing symptoms while also gaining access to more positive experiences and a more whole and meaningful life.

At one time or another, most of us have felt trapped by things we find ourselves thinking or doing, caught by our own impulses or choices; ensnared in some unhappiness or fear; imprisoned by our own history. We feel unable to go forward and yet we believe that there must be a way.” Stephen Grosz, The Examined Life.

My Approach to Therapy

My approach to therapy is to help you discover parts of yourself you may not have been aware of. Our inner world is a rich source of information about past events, memories, relationships with others, emotions, desires, inhibitions, fantasies, and so much more. Accessing these experiences in a safe, caring and accepting therapeutic relationship allows for integration of multiple parts of you and allows for adaptive solutions to emerge.

My therapeutic philosophy is informed by attachment-based, dynamic experiential, and emotion-focused theories of psychotherapy which hold that we all have a natural tendency towards growth, wholeness and healthy connection with others. We just need the right environment for those tendencies to be activated. It is through the therapeutic process that you can access parts of you which need attention and healing. One of the ways we do so is by exploring emotional experiences. Many of us become disconnected from our emotions, our bodies, and our intuitive sense of what we need in our lives. We do so through various protective strategies such as denial or minimization of our feelings, coping strategies such as work or substances, or unhealthy relationships with others including codependence and isolation.

My role in the process of therapy is to be both a witness and a guide. I am an empathetic and caring listener. I also strive to guide you towards experiencing new parts of you, and transforming your relationship with yourself in a more positive way. In our work together, I welcome all parts of you: your sadness, anger, shame, silence. One of the things I like to say is that therapy is a place for the “not-nice” parts of us. One of the important roles of psychotherapy is to have a space to express our traumas, fears, shameful experiences, aggression towards others – all those experiences we don’t have space for in social settings and other relationships. Whatever you’re feeling or holding I encourage you to bring it to our sessions. We will make room for all your experiences, strive to understand what’s happening, and transform your pain into healing and growth. Even if you’re not sure what to talk about or what needs to happen, come in and be present and engaged. Whatever needs to happen will happen in the therapy space.

“To live a full and connected life in the face of difficulty and even tragedy requires the capacity to feel and make use of our emotional experience.” Diana Fosha, The Transforming Power of Affect.

Types of Therapy

I work with both individual and couples clients. I’m particularly passionate about helping clients heal from childhood trauma, abuse and neglect. You can read more on the trauma and abuse page. I also love helping couples who are struggling in their relationships. I have information about my approach to relationships on the couples therapy page.

Frequency of Sessions

Individual sessions are scheduled on a weekly basis. For therapy to be effective, it is very important that we maintain consistency of appointments to establish trust, safety, a collaborative working relationship, and maintain the pace of progress. During the initial session we will find a standing weekly appointment that works for both of us. I generally work with individual clients on a longer-term basis.

Couples sessions may be scheduled on a weekly or an as-needed basis.

Fees and Policies

Please refer to my fees and policies page for up-to-date information.

Getting Started

If you have questions about other aspects of therapy, or would like to explore the possibility of working together I encourage you to call me for a free initial phone consultation. We will talk about the concerns that bring you to therapy as well as what you’re looking for in a therapist. If for any reason we are not a good fit to work together I’ll provide you with referrals in the community.