First let me share that I am a systems counselor – a holistic approach to therapy. We evaluate parts of your environment as it relates to you as a whole. The idea is that we can better understand the self through assessing our roles in relation to our family and world in which we live. This extends to work, religion, spirituality, and friends.
My aim is to be honest and genuine
I model what I practice, showing others my process of approaching my own life’s experiences. Because of this I am very open about myself in sessions and rely on my personal encounters to guide us. This helps me connect to you and your story while creating a team approach to your healing.
Throughout my work history, I have striven to create opportunities for my clients to experience their potentials hidden within themselves first-hand.
For instance, I developed a holistic-oriented
boxing program while working with pre-adolescent and
adolescent girls at a residential treatment facility.
I used the physical boxing training as a form of somatic
movement therapy, facilitating a proactive process of
overcoming traumatic histories by learning self-awareness
and replacing fear with discipline and empowerment.
I do not follow traditional approaches to treating disorders, diagnosis or addictions. My approach emphasis’s healing individuals, families and couples from a point of view that we are unique beings with our own understanding of how our mind and body work. Because of this, I do not necessarily believe in diagnosis or addiction.
To clarify, I recognize that some of us do face mental health
disorders, but it is something we have not who we are. It does not define us unless we allow it to.
What does this mean?
This means that when I treat you, you learn how to explore and differentiate your emotions and physical needs. Whether that means incorporating healthy coping skills, diets, exercise, breaking negative thought patterns or recognizing minor emotional shifts, I believe you have power over your mental health. This approach empowers you to live your life the way you choose, not the way that has been chosen for you.
I have helped many people, through lots of hard work, become medication free or severely reduce their medication consumption, by learning healthier life skills and being more aware of their emotional needs and how their body works. They learn to take control back and manage their moods and impulses without the use of prescription medications.
My approach also challenges you to truly and intimately get to know how your mind and body work together and how it shows up.
For example: My work with schizophrenia and schizoaffective clients was based on the belief that their paranoia was a defense mechanism. By learning where their fears developed, individuals could separate the paranoia from their identity and treat these fears as a behavior. This same approach could be used with any issue, such as anxiety or depression. It is about detaching the symptom from your identity.
I treat the person not the symptom
It is tempting to focus on events and circumstances in our current life when treating mental illness. Although these are elements to your story, they are symptomatic of a deeper struggle. An example of this dynamic is through my work as an addictions counselor.
With clients who have an addiction we do not spend our sessions focused on the addiction itself. Instead we focus on the cause of the addiction. I found that most of my clients suffered from a history of trauma and unresolved issues in connection with this trauma fed the addiction. By treating the deeper struggle – the trauma – my clients gained the tools necessary to overcome their addiction and reach full recovery.
This work is hard and tiresome…
Yes, it is if you are being thorough and going the distance. There is nothing easy or quick about therapy. But it can be the most rewarding work you ever do. With this in mind, I offer my therapy dog, Bailey Hugh Jaxon, who accompanies me periodically to sessions to help create a calming environment. Bailey is an intuitive St. Bernard mix whose nonjudgmental approach and unconditional love can offer comfort and safety in a difficult and scary process.
I make no claims and have no misguided beliefs that therapy is easy and linear. There are times when you may want to avoid your treatment and there are times when you may need an extra helping hand. I try to offer Bailey and my space as a gentle and nurturing presence to hold the space for you when you may not be able to.