Many people read my website and become curious about what it would be like to work with me, especially with respect to my use of Somatic Experiencing techniques in combination with traditional psychotherapy. It is natural to be cautious about something that is new and different, although in reading my website, you may also feel a sense of hope and expectation that help and change are possible.
In coming to my office, the first thing I hope you will notice is that I have made an effort to create an environment that feels quiet, peaceful and safe, from the moment you walk through the door. I usually start by inviting you to let your eyes go where they want to go around the office, so that you can orient to the space. Another goal is to give your nervous system time to settle from the activation of traveling to the appointment, meeting a new therapist, and the anticipation of talking about your concerns.
In your first appointment, we most likely will review new client documents, and you can ask any questions you might have about the paperwork, or my practice in general. We can then talk about what brings you to my office and what your goals might be. It is important for me to get a detailed history of your life with respect to the information that will be most relevant to our work together. Together, we will monitor your response to this conversation in order to titrate any activation you might experience.
Titration is an important aspect of my approach. By "titration," I mean that our work together will be paced in such as a way to avoid you ever having the experience of feeling overwhelmed. The most effective, longest-lasting changes are those that can be integrated into your mind and body without significant distress. And yet, even small changes begin to pave the way for more significant transformation in time.
My therapeutic toolbox includes techniques associated not only with Somatic Experiencing®, but also a wide variety of theories and approaches, such as hypnotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and mindfulness. I am an active therapist, and will engage with you far beyond the stereotypical question, "And how does that make you feel?" From the beginning, I teach you practices and skills that will help you stay better regulated in all aspects of your life. Throughout our work together, I will invite you to engage in "experiments" with me. These are intended to strengthen your ability to notice your thoughts, emotions, body movements, sensations, and perceptions associated with both past and present experiences. I'll often ask questions like "what would happen if...?" or "If you noticed that, I wonder what would happen next?"
Science is increasingly providing evidence that conscious and subconscious integration of all the aspects of our lived experience increases psychological and physical health. Whenever possible, I hope for our work together to be fun. Even serious difficulties can yield to playful intervention.
I emphasize a collaborative relationship with my clients. You are invited to try the exercises and experiments I propose, but I also encourage you to tell me "no" when something just doesn't fit for you. Together we will learn about your nervous system and what will help it to achieve better flow. Part of my role is to teach you what I know, but in a way that makes sense to you. I want my clients to better understand themselves, and part of that understanding is increased knowledge about the functioning of their brain, body, and nervous system, which after all, are necessary to successful navigation of life and relationships.