One of my favorite opening lines is from the spiritual classic, The Road Less Traveled, by M. Scott Peck. It reads, simply, "Life is difficult."
Somehow, most of us expect that it won't be. Or that if it is, we should be able to handle it effortlessly. We criticize ourselves for feeling very human things like loneliness, confusion, anxiety, anger, boredom and depression when things don’t go the way we hoped. Unfortunately, life does not come with a user's manual for how to work with the hard stuff. And yet these very difficulties, the roadblocks at which we find ourselves, are often opportunities in disguise.
I see counseling as an opportunity. First and most important, it is a chance to be heard. Things often begin to shift when we can share our inner thoughts and feelings with someone who is really paying attention. I have worked with many people who come up with their own answers when they are able to hear their deepest selves, sometimes for the first time.
Counseling is also a chance to learn new life skills. If I had name what I think the most important life skill is, it would be this: psychological flexibility. This means the ability to respond flexibly to yourself, to others and to life. How to get there? By working bit by bit on the following: articulating what matters most to you in life; developing the behaviors that will move you in that direction; handling stumbling blocks along the way; and learning how to respond skillfully to difficult thoughts and feelings that are part of being human.
I have a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. The psychological approaches that best inform the way I work are: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Human Givens Approach to Emotional Health and Clear Thinking, and Attachment Theory. The following people have greatly influenced my thinking: Dan Siegel, Stephen Porges, Russ Harris, Karen Horney, Rick Hanson, Mark Tyrell, Milton Erickson, Michael Yapko, Peter Levine, and Pat Ogden. In addition, I am a Registered Yoga Teacher, as well as a Licensed Clinical Massage Therapist. This means I bring a mind-body approach to counseling, including, if you are interested, instruction in basic calming yoga poses and breathing exercises.
If this resonates with you, or you are curious to know more, feel free to contact me at any time!
Additional areas of focus: Addictions, Relationship issues, Trauma and abuse, Grief, Intimacy-related issues, Parenting issues, Anger management, Compassion fatigue, ADHD, Attachment Issues, Commitment Issues, Communication Problems, Control Issues, Dependent Personality, Emptiness, Guilt and Shame, Isolation / Loneliness, Life Purpose, Midlife Crisis, Mood Disorders, Obsessions, Compulsions, and OCD, Self-Love, Social Anxiety and Phobia, Young Adult Issues
Clinical approaches: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Attachment-Based Therapy, Mindfulness Therapy, Psychodynamic Therapy, Somatic Therapy
NY Psychologist 012621
CT Psychologist 2183
Amy is incredible. She always lets me start with whatever my primary concern is and she always listens.
Written on Mar 03, 2023 after therapy with Amy for 7 months on issues concerning stress, anxiety, relationship issues, self esteem, and adhd
Dr. Van Buren is wonderful. She has helped me lean in to self compassion. She is very responsive, professional, and brings warmth, respect, and understanding into every session. I would definitely recommend her!
Written on Dec 22, 2022 after therapy with Amy for 7 months on issues concerning depression, stress, anxiety, relationship issues, family conflicts, intimacy-related issues, and self esteem
Amy is very good at listening and remembering. This is the first time in my life I am seeing value in myself. She asks me things no one ever has, things I should have already asked. I appreciate her for always being on time and being present for me. She sees me and hears me and my life has changed thanks to her
Written on Nov 09, 2022 after therapy with Amy for 2 months on issues concerning stress, anxiety, relationship issues, intimacy-related issues, and self esteem
Dr. Van Buren has been extremely helpful - I feel like we are making progress and on the right track even after just a couple sessions! She is very ‘warm’ and creates a comforting, safe space to talk.
Written on Jul 18, 2022 after therapy with Amy for 2 months on issues concerning stress, anxiety, relationship issues, grief, intimacy-related issues, and anger management
Dr Van Buren has been incredible to work with. She is so insightful and she’s able to open me up to new perspectives and ways of coping I hadn’t considered before. She suggests and nudges, never pushing or imposing. Her compassionate approach has meant everything to me in my sessions and outside in my everyday life as I seek to speak to myself more kindly.
Written on May 25, 2022 after therapy with Amy for 1 month on issues concerning stress, anxiety, family conflicts, self esteem, career difficulties, and adhd