I am a psychoanalyst, a meditator, and an author. I hold a master's degree in social work from New York University and am the Director of Training at the Training Institute for Mental Health, which provides advanced, ongoing training in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. I have completed EMDR training, and have been practicing Vipassana meditation since 1997. Please call me to set up an initial consultation. Together, we can decide whether the services I provide are right for you.
Through my understanding of how the mind and body work together, I will help you figure out what keeps you stuck in harmful patterns and how to better deal with overwhelming emotions. Sometimes we replay past trauma. Other times we can't stop thinking about unpleasant or unwanted things. Our bodies also store emotions, and they may hold the key to the change we seek. I am a compassionate listener, and I provide a safe, welcoming environment where we can discuss the events or feelings that trouble you. Many people come to therapy feeling trapped or helpless. Rest assured, it is possible to change your reality by understanding the patterns, conflicts and obstacles that interfere with your success and happiness.
Through a combination of the psychotherapeutic process, mindfulness, and EMDR, you will learn to become more aware of why you act, react, and feel the way you do. You will develop more constructive methods to resolve life's difficulties and stressors, and you will work to strengthen your inner resources. As this occurs, you will discover that your life becomes more in tune with your goals and ideals. You will feel stronger and happier.
Is therapy right for me?
Seeking out therapy is an individual choice. There are many reasons why people come to therapy. Sometimes it is to deal with long-standing psychological issues, or problems with anxiety or depression. Other times it's in response to unexpected changes in one's life such as a divorce, a death in the family or work transition. Many seek advice as they pursue their own personal exploration and growth. Working with a therapist can help provide insight, support, and new strategies for all types of life challenges. Therapy is a good choice for anyone who wants to feel better, stop repeating old negative life patterns, and increase his or her self-knowledge.
Do I really need therapy? I can usually handle my problems.
There is nothing wrong with reaching out for help when you need it. Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you've faced, there may come a time when you simply can't figure out what to do. It takes courage to make that first step. If you're feeling overwhelmed or at a loss, call me to set up an appointment.
How can therapy help me?
People are naturally social creatures. Simply having someone patient and compassionate listen to our problems can help ease our burdens. A good therapist does this and more. Therapists provide perspective, teach problem-solving skills and help clients better understand what part they play in creating or exacerbating their difficulties. As the process unfolds, clients find they learn new ways of understanding and dealing with old experiences or feelings. Situations which previously were overwhelming or upsetting, slowly lose their compulsive power. This allows for new ways to act and react, creating the possibility of real change.
The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:
• Improved self-awareness
• Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
• Developing skills for improving your relationships
• Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to therapy
• Learning new ways to cope with overwhelming feelings
• Improving communications and listening skills
• Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
• Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
• Re-evaluating your life, potentially moving in a direction more in line with your goals and values
What is therapy like?
Every therapy session is unique and caters to each individual's specific goals. In the early stages, there tends to be a lot of information gathering, as therapist gets to know the client, as the client learns to understand the process, and as client and therapist discuss the primary issues or concerns that brought the client into therapy. Over time, a rapport is established, and the client's comfort level increases, allowing more candid and spontaneous conversation. Deeper layers of understanding occur over time, as emotional and life patterns are uncovered. New possibilities will emerge, as well as new complications and obstacles. Sessions can be profound, emotional, and even fun. It all depends on the relationship between therapist and client, and what is happening in the client's life at the time.
For therapy to be most effective, clients must actively participate in the process. The insights that are gained in session must eventually be applied in the client's outside life. Client and therapist will work together to figure out how to enact wanted change, and overcome the obstacles that lie in the way.
What is EMDR?
EMDR is a kind of therapy which aims to help people reprocess past experiences which interfere with their functioning. EMDR is particularly helpful with the following issues:
EMDR is different from psychoanalysis. It is a focused modality, where we attempt to get the brain to reprocess experiences, like those listed above, in which we are currently "stuck." The problem is that the brain is divided into two hemispheres, a left and a right, which function differently and have difficulty communicating with each other.
The left brain is the "analytical" part of the brain. It remembers the past and can imagine the future. Your left brain knows very well that past trauma is in the past. You survived the car accident. The predator who tormented you as a child is no longer able to hurt you. The plane is not likely to crash. Unfortunately, even if we know all of this, we don't necessarily experience reality in this way. That's because of the influence of the right brain. The right brain is the "experiential" brain. It functions in the present moment, and has no analytical ability and no sense of past or future. This is where some experiences can get "stuck." The right brain still feels the sense of danger you experienced when the traumatic event actually happened. It does not know what the left brain knows, and so continues to be haunted by the past. EMDR works to get the two sides of the brain to communicate with each other, so that the right brain can learn what the left brain knows, and vice-versa. As this happens, the experience gets reprocessed. We can incorporate the current reality and what we know now with what we experienced in the past, and in this way we can change the way these past experiences effect us. It offers a way out. EMDR sessions generally are double sessions - an hour and a half. For more information, please call me for a consultation. You can also get more information by going here.
Is medication a substitute for therapy?
Medication can be the quickest way to alleviate overwhelming feelings, and for some people it is necessary to balance neurological hormone levels. However, therapy is important because often medication simply addresses the symptoms, without working on the roots of the problem. Therapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness.
Is therapy confidential?
In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and psychotherapist. No information is disclosed without prior written permission from the client.
However, there are some exceptions required by law to this rule. Exceptions include:
• Suspected child abuse or dependent adult or elder abuse. I am required by law to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
• If a client threatens serious bodily harm to another person, I am required to notify the police and inform the intended victim.
• If a client intends to harm himself or herself, I will make every effort to work with the individual to ensure his or her safety. However, if an individual does not cooperate, I will take further measures without his or her permission that are provided to me by law in order to ensure his or her safety.
Ultimately, safety for the client and for those around him or her is the paramount concern.