My education, training, and experience include exposure to a number of approaches and theoretical orientations, especially experiential and cognitive-behavioral therapies. This helps me find the approaches that are best suited to a particular person or persons and situation, rather than applying one approach across all situations.
Gestalt therapy is my primary theoretical home-base; more specifically, the contemporary Relational Gestalt approach. Gestalt is a German word which means integrated whole or configuration, and Gestalt therapy is interested in the whole person, and their context. Early Gestalt therapy strongly emphasized excitement and growth in the human personality, and saw growth as the development of increased self-support. While continuing to strongly value excitement, growth, and the development of self-support, in the contemporary Relational Gestalt community there is now a fuller appreciation and understanding that we are deeply social beings for whom strong social connection and support networks are very important. Contemporary Relational Gestalt therapy thus attends to the development of both strong self support and strong social contact and connection, which complement each other.
In addition to the Relational Gestalt approach, my background includes substantial training and experience with Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS). I am also strongly influenced by the Generative Trance approach developed by Stephen Gilligan PhD (stephengilligan.com); Steve was a student and protege of Milton Erickson. While these three strongly experiential approaches to therapy have different lingoes and differ in some respects, in many ways they are quite similar, often using different terminology to describe very similar processes. I find that Gestalt, IFS, and Generative Trance approaches often work together well and naturally.
My graduate school experience provided extensive training in behavioral and cognitive-behavioral (CBT) approaches to therapy. I continue to strongly value science, and pay attention to developments in the theory and techniques of some of the behavioral and cognitive-behavioral approaches. There are increasing convergences between some of the experiential and more empirically based approaches to therapy. Especially encouraging is the increasing appreciation of mindfulness practices by the empirically oriented behavioral and CBT communities. The emphasis on awareness in Gestalt therapy, and the utilization of mindfulness practices in some contemporary CBT and behavior therapy approaches, are in some respects now quite similar.
I am particularly interested and experienced in working with clients whose anxiety problems include: obsessive compulsive symptoms, panic and agoraphobia, extreme social anxiety, post-traumatic difficulties, simple phobias, and highly generalized anxiety. While some anxiety is a natural part of human experience, there are many ways to work with extreme anxiety to transform and utilize it's strong energy. Anxiety symptoms are often signs of something strongly energetic and important trying to happen, but needing further understanding, support and guidance toward workable, effective creative adjustment and development.
Couples and Sex Therapy
Since we are such deeply social and relational beings, our intimate relationships are an aspect of our lives in which we can be both most fully ourselves in loving contact with each other, and experience some of the greatest suffering, pain and difficulty. Relationship problems often connect to our deepest wounds, and thus to the potential for deep healing. Couples in difficulty often have problems with sex, and in the past several years I've been pursuing training in sex therapy, working toward certification by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT). I am receiving supervision in sex therapy from Dr Stella Resnick, in her Full-Spectrum Gestalt Sex Therapy (drstellaresnick.com).