Practical Guidance for Your Mental Well-being
What to Expect in Therapy
When you work with me, you're encouraged to initiate and steer our conversations.
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Feel free to ask questions or share what you need from the therapeutic process. Your active participation allows our discussions to evolve organically, focusing on your unique experiences and concerns. By engaging openly and authentically, you pave the way for a more personalized therapeutic experience.
Sharing your thoughts and feelings can be relieving.
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While it's natural to feel hesitant at first, trust that over time, opening up will become easier. Be gentle with yourself, acknowledging that it's okay to feel vulnerable, not have all the answers, or to take things one step at a time.
Guidance and Support
It's natural to seek concrete strategies or definitive answers when faced with challenges.
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Together, we'll explore potential solutions if you need them. However, there are times when the best course of action is to confront the emotions we'd rather avoid, and I will guide you and support you along the way.
Genuine Change and Growth
Therapy can be a transformative experience that varies from person to person.
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For many, the ultimate focus lies in developing a strong sense of self that is assertive, creative, confident, secure, and resilient. The goal is not to eliminate our feelings (it's impossible, unfortunately), but rather to understand exactly where these feelings come from and what they're about—often, feelings dissipate once discussed in depth in therapy over time. This process enables new neural pathways to form for long-lasting change and growth.
How Therapy Works
Therapy is both a science and an art, built on the foundation of neuroscience and the human experience.
Neuroscience shows that our brains have a remarkable ability to adapt—a feature known as neuroplasticity. This adaptability is what makes therapy effective.
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The cornerstone of successful therapy is a trusting therapeutic alliance between you and me. Research consistently demonstrates that this bond is a key factor in the healing process. That's why building a secure, emotional connection with you is one of my top priorities. This foundation sets the stage for improved emotion regulation and increased resilience.
Emotions are an integral part of the human experience, yet they can sometimes be overwhelming or confusing. Long-term therapy—especially within the framework of psychodynamic approaches—can expand your capacity for better understanding and managing your emotional world. This allows you to navigate life's ups and downs with greater ease and confidence.
As you gain a deeper understanding of your emotions over time, you'll also develop an improved capacity for self-regulation. This will help you manage stress, maintain healthier relationships, and lead a more balanced life in constructive and sustainable ways.
Just as genuine relationships or skill mastery can't be rushed, real emotional healing and understanding don't happen overnight. While we all wish there were a magic button to instantly feel better, real change takes time.
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Quick solutions may seem appealing, but they often just put a band-aid on the real issues (at times we do need a band-aid initially). With therapy, we aim to understand and solve these deeper challenges, helping you find lasting peace and happiness.
Imagine your mind like a room filled with boxes of memories, feelings, and thoughts. Some boxes are neatly organized, while others are scattered. Therapy is a space to sort through them. This tidying-up process might sound simple, but emotions and memories are intricate. They intertwine and overlap, which is why sorting through them is neither quick nor straightforward. With each session you have with me, we move closer to a more organized and clearer emotional landscape. Through patience, persistence, and guidance, we'll journey together to uncover your true potential.
Interested in learning more about how therapy works?
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long is Each Session?
Each session is a one-hour appointment. We will end our meetings earlier than the full hour to give you some needed time to transition to your daily activities.
Do You Offer Advice?
If you specifically seek advice from me, I am more than willing to offer my insights and perspectives. Together, we can explore various options to help you determine what feels appropriate and how to best address the issue for which you're seeking guidance. My primary focus is on creating a safe and non-judgmental space where you can vent, unburden yourself, connect with your thoughts and feelings, and seek support and guidance to confront difficult emotions and overcome challenges. I will never shut you down by unilaterally offering advice or imposing my opinions and suggestions upon you.
What Should I Discuss During Therapy Sessions?
In our sessions, you are encouraged to talk about anything you feel like discussing, or to speak freely about whatever comes to mind—whether it's your current emotions, thoughts, memories, associations, concerns, or questions. The only expectation is that you feel safe and comfortable in my presence. If for any reason you don't feel safe or comfortable, please let me know, so we can address it together. You're also invited to take the lead in directing the conversation based on what you find most pressing or beneficial.
What Topics Should We Discuss if I'm Feeling Better or Not Experiencing Difficult Emotions?
If you find yourself feeling better and not grappling with challenging emotions, that's great, and we can focus on that positive shift. We can discuss your newfound emotional well-being, your experiences with effectively managing emotions independently, and your thoughts on the positive changes and progress you have made. The space we share is open for you to talk freely about a range of topics, whether they are life events, relationships, hopes, goals, achievements, or ideas you're excited about.
What If I Don't Know What to Talk About or Feel Too Tired to Speak, and I'm Uncomfortable with Silence?
If you find yourself in this situation, know that it's totally okay, and simply let me know and we'll navigate it together. Moments of silence or pauses during therapy sessions are both normal and common. While silence may initially feel awkward, it also offers an opportunity for relaxation and introspection. If your mind goes blank and you find peace in the silence, feel free to embrace it. Sometimes, you may need these quiet moments to connect with your thoughts and feelings, especially when you feel safe enough in our sessions.
How Long Does Therapy Last?
The duration of therapy varies from person to person. Therapy lasts as long as it needs to, and as long as you feel you need it. Long-term therapy doesn't follow a strict agenda or timeline, as it aims to respect each individual's unique life journey, experiences, and needs. Therapy concludes when you feel ready to end it or take a break.
Coping Skills & Strategies
Coping skills can be learned and practiced at your own pace outside of sessions as desired, offering relief and regulation during challenging moments when needed. A strong sense of having an empowered self that feels assertive, confident, and affectionate in relation to others is not merely a skill to be taught; it is also a lived experience and an aspect of one's personality that develops within a nurturing therapeutic relationship.
Time Management & Organization
Schedule specific blocks of time to work on tasks, appointments, or activities. This helps structure your day and reduces distractions.
Schedule an hour in the morning for answering emails, followed by a 2-hour block for working on a project.
Prioritization and Organization
Categorize tasks into four quadrants based on their urgency and importance. Focus on completing tasks in the order of their priority.
Urgent and important tasks are given top priority, followed by important but not urgent tasks, then urgent but not important tasks, and finally, tasks that are neither urgent nor important.
Break Tasks into Smaller Steps
Break down complex tasks into smaller, more manageable sub-tasks. This helps make tasks feel less overwhelming and promotes a sense of accomplishment.
Instead of writing "clean the house" on your to-do list, break it into smaller tasks like "clean the kitchen," "vacuum the living room," and "organize the bedroom."
Identify and eliminate distractions in your environment, such as turning off notifications, using noise-canceling headphones, or creating a designated workspace.
Turn off social media notifications on your phone while working on important tasks.
Relaxation & Self-Care
Progressive muscle relaxation
Tense and relax muscle groups throughout your body to release tension and promote relaxation.
Start with your toes and work your way up to your head, tensing each muscle group for 5 seconds and then relaxing it for 30 seconds.
Limit exposure to stressors
Reduce the amount of time spent engaging with anxiety-provoking situations, news, or social media.
Limit checking news or social media to specific times of the day and avoid these activities close to bedtime.
Establish a consistent sleep schedule and bedtime routine to ensure you get adequate rest and rejuvenation.
Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night and create a calming bedtime ritual, such as reading or taking a warm bath.
Engage in physical activity
Incorporate regular exercise into your routine to improve mood, reduce stress, and maintain overall health.
Choose activities you enjoy, like walking, swimming, or dancing, and aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five days a week.
Maintain a balanced diet
Focus on consuming a variety of nutrient-dense foods to support physical and mental well-being.
Include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats in your daily meals and snacks.