I was employed in the insurance industry for 15 years before making a quantum leap into the field of mental health in mid-life. I graduated with my Bachelors Degree in Social Work from the University of Southern Maine (USM) in 2009, and my Masters Degree in Social Work from USM in 2015. Over the past 10 years, I've been fortunate to gain experience in community case management, care coordination, hospital social work, college counseling, and intensive home counseling. As a result, I've worked with individuals across the life span with various physical, functional, cognitive, and emotional challenges.
My focus is YOU. I wholeheartedly believe that we all carry within us the ability to find our own solutions, and to embrace our authenticity as unique beings in this world. My job is to encourage you to listen to what your inner self is communicating and to help you evaluate and break down the barriers that may keep you feeling "stuck" in your life or relationship patterns.
Therapy, like any other relationship, can have times where we just aren't "getting" one another. My promise to you is to be open to working through those moments when you don't feel heard. I encourage you to be honest and tell me when that happens, and I will do everything I can to ensure that you feel safe and supported in doing so.
Depression, fear, and anxiety are some of the most common mental health conditions that bring people to therapy. They can be draining and result in a vicious cycle of behaviors (isolation, anyone?) that only serves to reinforce itself. Let's talk about what is happening for you and figure out a way to break this cycle. Elements of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) may be incorporated into our work. Since change does not occur in just one hour a week of therapy, I will likely give you occasional homework assignments, or suggest supplemental readings. We can talk about your preferred learning style to figure out what works best for you.
Trauma has a way of making people not feel safe in the world or in themselves. Chronic invalidation of traumatic experiences throughout a lifetime can cause people to deny their own gut instincts and give them a diminished sense of their own value. It can feel as if there is no security in the future. The first step is to find a therapist with whom you feel safe. This sense of felt safety will not develop overnight. It takes work and patience. I will do my best to provide you with a therapeutic contained space that will allow you to safely explore the circumstances that brought you here so we can then focus on calming the internal alarm systems that may be keeping you in a state of hypervigilance, mistrust, or fear.
Couples therapy can be beneficial to partners who are looking to strengthen their emotional connection, or who want to repair ruptures and hurts that have occurred between them over time. Therapy sessions may include components of Emotionally-Focused Therapy (EFT) and will focus on the role of attachment needs within the relationship.
The thing about Couples work is this - you've been in your relationship "x' number of months or years to get to this place where you've ultimately decided to come to therapy. One hour with me every three or four weeks does not sustainable change make. I strongly recommend that couples plan on one regularly-scheduled hour per week for in-office work to improve overall communication. The purpose is not to re-hash grievances over and over again, as opposed to figuring out what makes this relationship worth saving (or not) and what is needed to move forward. I also will assign practice homework to be done outside of session. Couples work is a commitment that echoes the commitment you made in your relationship. If you want to fix it, you both have to do the work - regularly and consistently. I am merely the facilitator of change.