For individual therapy, I specialize in three areas: Treatment-resistant depression, recovery from emotionally and verbally abusive relationships and managing uncontrollable worry/anxiety using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
For couples counseling, I focus on communication tools and conflict management using Gottman Method Couples Therapy.
Depression is the “common cold” of emotional disorders. It’s hard for us to admit, but we all go through periods of adjustment that can cause us to feel sad, blue, down, and unhappy. Yet we tend to forget that depressed feelings can also be important signs that something important is missing in our lives. We can deny and run from them, but that is a serious mistake.
Often, those struggling with deeply entrenched depression don’t show it on the outside. Rather, they are highly negative about themselves (“I’m my own worst critic,” they might say in a sudden moment of insight). It is very true that most of us are hard on ourselves, particularly if we get even the slightest hint that we don’t measure up in some way – in our achievements, career or study, social standing, relationships, appearance, body image, financial status, and so on. If we make even the smallest mistake, then we have a tendency to berate ourselves, and if we make a genuine medium or large mistake, then look out!
It’s not uncommon for those struggling with depression to be well-functioning, capable people who “look like they’re doing well” on the outside. This is often a result of overly high standards, excessive perfectionism and occasionally the side-effects of perfection which result in procrastination.
Recovery from Verbally & Emotionally Abusive Relationships
Dealing with a verbally abusive relationship can be very stressful. It is hard to understand why our loved ones want to control and dominate us. We cannot understand it because we tend to see it in our own reality rather than through their own “private logic” which is totally different from how most people view the world. It is important to understand the “cycle of violence” and the signs of abusive relationships.
This can include learning how to be assertive and effectively set boundaries: Being able to clearly and calmly express what you need without being overly passive (hurting your own self esteem) or aggressive (damaging other’s self esteem). Communicating assertively doesn’t guarantee you will have your needs met. However, it does make it more likely that you will be heard and listened to. It can also dramatically improve your relationships with other people in unexpected and beneficial ways.
Often, we are stuck due to issues of codependency: Being in a relationship where you do all the work and suffer all the consequences. Meanwhile, the other person does not grow or change, others don’t even notice all that you do, or appreciate it, and you end up worn out, exhausted, blamed, and torn apart. We learn how to be codependent from our childhood, our family of origin, and our life experiences. Learning a new way to become “unstuck” is critical to our survival as an intact and whole person, capable of relating to others in a responsible and mature manner.
Low self-esteem is common in verbally abusive relationships. Phrases like “I’m a good person” or “I’m worthwhile and valuable” seem disingenuous. These aspects of self-esteem lack two crucial elements: First, they’re not believable. And second, they don’t address the real question, buried down deep: We really do feel that we are unlovable, worthless, or permanently stuck because of who we are.
If you do end up leaving the relationship, this loss will bring out many emotions, causes much confusion, and affect those that are closest to you. Relationships are important to our lives and it is difficult for us to experience the loss of them. As we experience the changes of divorce, it is important that we understand what has happened.
Uncontrollable Worry & Anxiety
Worry is a pattern of thinking that is persistent, repetitive, and uncontrollable. When we worry, we often focus on the uncertainty of the future and are afraid that bad things will happen. We plan over and over in our head various solutions to our problems. Yet this in-depth thinking and ruminating never seems to provide any relief.
Couples’ Counseling using Gottman Method Couples Therapy
Drs. John & Judy Gottman decided to take all the counseling approaches for couples and actually test what worked, and what didn’t. In the end, they discovered that most of the advice was useless. From this, they refined and established actual, measurable methods of working with couples that actually makes a difference. Since over half of my practice is dedicated to working with couples, I have an entire website dedicated to relationship issues and couples counseling.