Background

Following taining and certification as an alcohol and drug counselor in 1988, I went on to earn a Masters in Counseling at San Francisco State University along with an additional certificate for working with disadvantaged children in public schools.

Work experiences included school based counseling with all grade levels; drug and alcohol programs for adults and adolescents; adult and geriatric psychiatry; family and couples counseling.

Overlapping the work and training and informing my approach to working with people are 25+ years of group experience as participant and facilitator. (Group format included: psychodynamic, interactive/interpersonal process groups, psychodrama, multifamily, psycho-educational, meditation, and poetry groups.)

A personal meditation practice added a better appreciation for having compassion and kindness to oneself throughout the therapeutic journey.

A lesson taken from these experiences is that people function within mini systems (for example, teams, schools, families, couples, groups). They develop relationships that sometimes succumb to problems. I find satisfaction in joining with people as they troubleshoot and get on with their lives.

And the day came when the risk [it took] to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to bloom. ~Anais Nin

Philosophy

Change happens continually as we make adjustments to improve our relationship to the world around us.

Choices and what we set in motion help shape our worlds. We may resist the changge that is needed as suggested by a quote by Anais Nin: “And the day came when the risk [it took] to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to bloom.” We endeavor to bloom in our unique ways.

The effort to wisely adapt requires our willingness to focus.

Wise adaptation involves self-reflection, curiosity, and openness to self-discovery. Reflection and awareness help gain access to the wisdom inherent in our experience.

By relating with gentleness and compassion to what we discover, we also sustain the willingness for reflection and self-awareness.

Referring again to Anais Nin’s quote, there is a groundswell of willingness to face the uncertainty of a new beginning. There is a determination to bloom, perhaps in spite of not feeling quite ready. There is a life force to bloom.

Approach

My approach can be broken down into four key elements.

1. Collaboration is an essential facet of my approach. Working with you involves my trust in your having a sense as to what works best and is meaningful for you. It also involves understanding the world as you see and experienced it. Our dialogue would be a joint effort at enabling you to open up possibilities. Collaboration is integral to how I work.

2. Fostering reflection and self-awareness are elements of my approach. Through reflection and self-awareness, internal obstacles are identified. You will glean information and wisdom embedded in your experience of the world. Your wisdom will open up possibilities. Giving voice to obstacles that might have skulked outside awareness opens space for an expanded perspecticve, and ultimately, possibilities. To encourage reflection, I may raise questions with the purpose in mind to encourage wonder and curiosity.

3. This approach underscores the importance of self-kindness and compassion for sustaining motivation to continually practice reflection and self-awareness. Part of my task of providing a safe space for authentic dialogue is being attentive to how you use and direct language toward yourself. Is it gentle and with compassion? Similarly, you will notice that I do not use pathologizing language. You will notice, too, my holding you in positive regard. Honoring self-love during meetings is a way of encouraging continuance of that process after we finish meeting.

4. The approach is interactive and reflects my participation and experience in groups. Interactive for me means being both a participant and an observer. Like an anthropologist learning about a new culture, I endeavor to enter your world. For example, I might wonder if what comes up for me reflects what you may be talking about or experiencing. I may then share those thoughts with you. Then I would check to see if I was on target, if what I formulated was useful to you. You make the ultimate determination as to its value. I endeavor to relate genuinely and authentically.