I work with individuals, couples, adolescents, and groups. Clients bring a wide variety of issues; therefore the process of therapy cannot just follow one method or theory. The method has to fit for the client, and the therapeutic relationship itself is key to the success of therapy. Talking to a therapist should feel natural and easy, and what happens in the unfolding process becomes a part of everyone’s life story .
It is not easy to change oneself or one’s life. You need the help of a specialist, who will be supportive at times, and challenging at other times. Therapy requires commitment, and there are no “quick fixes.” The problems that bring people to a therapist often have deep roots in personal and cultural history; Psychotherapy cannot undo the past, but it will change the way you think and feel about your life, and it will therefore change the way in which your past affects you today. It will increase your ability to solve your problems in the present and deal with the future.
Therapy is a “talking cure.” In the process of therapy, you are invited to say what comes to your mind, and together we will explore your feelings, your relationship to others, and the relationship that emerges between us.
Many relationships can be saved if the couple makes an effort to negotiate their differences with a professional counselor in times of crisis. Many couples are stuck in negative, repetitive patterns that turn the relationship into a trap. Frequently the children suffer most when the parents don’t get along.
I enjoy working with couples, because it is dynamic and enriching for everyone involved. The therapist acts as mediator, translator, or referee. As a therapist, I take it as my task to speak for the relationship itself, and to create the space where the conflicts can be sorted out and understood. The decision to start the therapy process is in most cases already the first step towards improving the relationship. Couples therapy oftentimes leads to deeper feelings of respect, intimacy, and love for each other.
Children face a complicated world, and it is incredible how much and how fast they have to learn in order to understand their environment. It starts with the dynamics of the primary family, then there are the peer groups, and the pressure to perform and achieve mounts rapidly. Adolescents are especially vulnerable: they survive the complexities and contradictions of the adult world sometimes through inadequate coping mechanisms that cause even more damage. I have treated many problems in teens and young adults: acting out or withdrawal, depression, attention-deficit disorders, bipolar disorders, academic problems, as well as the relational problems that result from a broken family structure. My approach is oriented towards the family system, and I will occasionally include other family members as well.
Group process is a very effective way to grow and to develop one’s social skills. It complements and enhances the individual psychotherapeutic process, because the group can function like a mirror for the individual. Groups are also a more economic alternative to individual psychotherapy. Each group has its own character and life-cycle. My approach is process-oriented, and each member has to find her place within the group. The participation in group-process is an intensive and transformative learning experience.
I have been a group member and a group leader in various types of groups over the years. I studied group psychotherapy in Europe with well known therapists such as Ruth Cohn, and Elisabeth Tomalin, and in California with Ron Kurtz and Jim Bugenthal.
Please email me for information about current group openings. Groups have generally between 4 and 8 participants and meet weekly. If you are interested in joining, contact me at 510-327-2110 to set up an initial consultation.