I come from the belief that most all people are complex, dynamic, fluid individuals with an inner capacity for healing and change. This stems both from personal experience as well as clinical experience where I’ve found that behaviors make sense – given the cards you were dealt, it’s very likely that anyone else would have made the same or similar decisions that brought you to where you are today. Most people that I see come to me at a time when they are feeling stuck in some way, unable to figure out how to create positive change on their own – something that also makes sense when you’ve likely tried all you can within the capacity that you’ve been able. My belief is that there is another path – you don’t see it yet because you haven’t been shown the way.
My approach is one that is eclectic, person-centered and holistic; following are some of the theoretical influences and techniques that guide my practice the most:
Mindfulness. One of the greatest gifts I believe that we can give ourselves is the ability to see our lives and ourselves from another perspective. To step back and take a bird’s eye approach, where all aspects of ourselves and our environment can be seen objectively, free from judgment and with the intention of inviting compassion for self and others.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy. While I don’t believe that coping skills in and of themselves are what creates healing, I do find them incredibly helpful on the way to get there. I view CBT as one of the most useful coping mechanisms available to us, at any time of the day, in any number of situations. As we gain the ability to observe our thoughts we can also begin to see which thoughts serve us and which don’t. This gives us the ability to create small shifts that point us in the right direction.
Internal Family Systems. Over the years it’s become increasingly clear to me that we all operate within a larger system or systems. A person exists within a family of relatives, friends, co-workers… within a community, a nation and so on. In order for the system(s) to work in harmony, there needs to be understanding and balance; appreciation for all that each has to offer. IFS takes this approach in the opposite direction by looking inward to see the parts of ourselves that may work well together and parts that may unintentionally get in the way. By doing this, we are then able to learn from our emotions and aspects of our experiences that drive behaviors and open the door to understanding and true healing.
Art Therapy. I’m a visual person by nature so it’s not surprising to me that the art making process can resonate so deeply with others. Many people seem to find that the liberation of self-expression is both revealing and cathartic in ways that talk therapy alone may not offer. I can’t even begin to count the number of times where imagery has played a major role in the healing process. I also recognize that art is just one of many expressive therapies, but if you’re open to it, this approach can work very well with the modalities described above.
I received my master’s degree from Hahnemann’s Creative Arts in Therapy program through Drexel University and have worked in the field for more than ten years. For the past six years I worked at the Renfrew Center where I learned to help women with Eating Disorders find connection and genuine expression as they explored issues such as body image, perfectionism, control, communication and the continual need for support. Prior to grad school I had the opportunity to travel around the country and abroad – an invaluable experience that I believe helped me to gain a better appreciation and understanding of different cultures and lifestyles. Currently in Philadelphia, I enjoy spending my free time working on various art projects, hiking nature trails and spending time with my school-age daughter.
- Stress, Anxiety
I also have experience in Addictions, Relationship issues, Trauma and abuse, Grief, Eating disorders, Self esteem, Coping with life changes