I provide individual psychotherapy for adults and adolescents of all diverse backgrounds.
I help with issues including:
My past clinical experience focused in large part on working with adolescents, college students and their families, and I find it extremely rewarding to help young people through common struggles at this life stage including identity development, facing the tasks of separation and individuation from one’s family of origin and navigating the often complex array of emotions that emerge as relational skills with peers and romantic partners are developing.
I work particularly well with adolescent girls and young adult women. In my previous work in community mental health agencies, I worked closely with high school students both in the school and therapy settings and am committed to helping girls and young women stay tuned in to their feelings while navigating the complicated world of peers, media and school pressures.
I am particularly interested in working with women of all ages on issues related to motherhood, parenting, caregiver stress, work/life balance, and the impact of trauma on sense of self and body image.
I have a special interest in helping to support the bond between parents and adolescents. Adolescence is a time of attachment crisis. This is the “let me go” phase for teens. They are naturally driven at this stage to seek novelty and find mastery of their own voices, yet parents’ innate drive to hold their children close, nurture and protect them is heightened as they push for independence. Using emotionally focused therapy, I help parents and adolescents tune in to one another and deepen their understanding of each other’s emotions and behaviors. In strengthening the connections between parents and teens, we find that teens tend to be more responsive and parenting challenges that arise are easier to resolve.
In my doctoral work, I studied and counseled families who experienced the loss of a loved one in the 9/11 World Trade Center Attacks and thus have much knowledge in how to help families adjust and cope following extraordinary stress, trauma and loss. As my research focused on the experience of family members caring for one another following traumatic loss, I have a specialized understanding of caregiver stress in this context.
My research knowledge of grief, trauma and caregiver strain informs my clinical work with individuals and families facing extraordinary stress. I also bring a wealth of personal experience and knowledge, raising my own child with special needs. Parenting a child with medical issues, and/or developmental or learning differences creates cumulative stress for families adjusting to the already challenging role of being a parent. Many intrinsic and extrinsic factors influence how parents adjust, but parents of children with special needs must grieve the loss of the child they expected to have.
The combination of grief and meeting the demands of a child with a disability can be overwhelming. This stress impacts the well being of the child, parents and family as a whole. Special needs families must also cope with the array of intense and complex emotions that arise in the face of uncertainties about health and the challenging behaviors that are common in children with developmental differences. There is an added strain to the marital relationship as differences in reactions and coping emerge between partners. Siblings of children with special needs have their own unique reactions to growing up with a brother or sister whose needs often dominate the household. The support (or lack of) from extended family members is yet another additional strain. Trauma responses including hyper-vigilance, functioning on automatic and shutting down around emotion may be triggered for some parents facing these extraordinary stressors.
My background as a clinical social worker provides a unique expertise regarding how micro and macro systems intertwine to affect outcomes on multiple intrapsychic and interpersonal levels. For families raising a child with special needs, the impact of the extended family system, and the medical and education systems all have tremendous influence on the family’s level of stress or support. I often help support families by intervening at the systems level-either by helping to coordinate communication among various providers, by helping families to better understand the information they are receiving, and empowering them by enhancing understanding of their rights and building skills in communicating with the various players involved in their child’s care.