Being a woman means that you face a unique set of challenges. Although opportunities for women in the workforce are greater than ever before, they are still fraught with challenges when it comes to being respected for our work and being afforded the same opportunities for advancement as men. In addition, women typically assume primary responsibility for children and elderly parents. A focus of my work is on helping women navigate this treacherous and often confusing landscape.
Many early therapists operated from a belief that the therapist was the all-knowing person in the room and that therapy worked best when the therapist maintained his (since most early therapists were male) distance. Most therapists today no longer hold this belief system. Instead, we view the work of therapy as a collaboration between two people who each bring something important and unique to the table.
Related to my interest in Feminist Therapy, I also use Humanistic approaches in my work. By this, I mean that in our work together, we will consider all parts of you and help you to realize your full potential in life. I believe that we are each greater than the sum of our parts and that we are better people and more engaged in our lives and our communities when we have greater understanding of ourselves and others.
I work extensively with lesbian and bisexual women and often with gay men. For many years, I provided supervision for pre-licensed clinicians at Pacific Center in Berkeley and at Queer Life Space in San Francisco. I have a deep understanding of the challenges that can come with seeing the world through an LGBTQ lens.
While many psychoanalytic concepts can feel dated, psychoanalysis has grown up and can be incredibly helpful. For example, psychoanalysis has great respect for the influence that our past has on our present and on our future. It gives us tools for thinking about how our minds take in information and how we make use of it. Perhaps most importantly, psychoanalysis has great respect for our unconscious minds and seeks to help us understand what might be going on "underneath the surface."
By "psychoanalytic therapy," I mean that my work is influenced by Contemporary Relational Psychoanalysis. Unfortunately, psychoanalysis has picked up somewhat of a negative reputation along the way! While I agree that many psychoanalytic concepts feel dated and don't speak to many of us, there are also many valuable ideas that are very helpful. For example, psychoanalysis has great respect for the idea that our past has an impact on our present and on our future, even though we may not remember the exact details. It also gives us tools for thinking about how our minds take in information and how we make use of it.
Unfortunately, psychotherapy has a stigma that it is only for people with a mental health diagnosis. This is so unfortunate! Of course, therapy can be of great benefit to people with mental health issues, however, most of the people I work with are ordinary people with ordinary life problems that have become too uncomfortable to deal with alone: relationship issues, career challenges, stress, anxiety, etc. Therapy gives people an opportunity to take a deeper look at the issues in their lives that are causing discomfort and to find new ways to respond.