My therapeutic approaches are to work within eclectic, integrative, holistic, collaborative, culturally responsive, person-centered, somatic, and intersectional ways. I am trained in and utilize several formal approaches. I support wellness through approaches that address mental, physical, social, emotional, creative, and intellectual needs with an emphasis on the role of a healthy spirit, community connection, and culturally resonant forms of healing.
Listed below is a description of the modalities I work with. Depending on your personal and therapeutic goals and we may use one or integrate multiple modalities over the course of our work together.
Eclectic therapy is an open, integrative form of psychotherapy that adapts to the unique needs of each specific client, depending on the problem, the treatment goals, and the person’s expectations and motivation. Eclectic therapy draws from a variety of disciplines and may use a range of methods to determine the best combination of therapeutic tools to help the person. An eclectic therapist customizes the therapeutic process for each individual by using whatever form of treatment, or combination of treatments, has been shown to be most effective for treating the particular problem.
Person-Centered & Humanistic
Person-Centered and Humanistic therapy is a non-authoritative approach that allows clients to take more of a lead in the discussions, decisions and goals of therapy so that, in the process, they will discover their own innate ability towards solutions. A humanistic approach to therapy looks at the whole person, not only from the therapist’s view but from the viewpoint of individuals observing their own behavior and naming their own sense of being. The therapist acts as a compassionate facilitator, listening without judgment and acknowledging the client’s experience within the complexity and context of their identities and life experiences. The therapist is there to encourage and support the client and to guide the therapeutic process without interrupting or interfering with the client’s own process of self-discovery. Humanistic therapy is a positive approach to psychotherapy that focuses on a person’s individual nature, and resists categorizing people with similar lifeways and characteristics as having the same problems. The emphasis is on a person’s positive traits and behaviors, and the ability to use their personal instincts to find wisdom, growth, healing, and fulfillment within themselves.
Expressive Arts Therapy
I hold a certificate in Expressive Arts Therapy and am working towards national registration (REAT). I offer expressive arts therapy using a multitude of forms including visual art, collage, expressive writing and poetry, sand tray, music, movement, 3D assemblage, altar making, mask making, eco-art, and weaving. I view art as fundamental to many aspects of our life including our healing, resistance, growth and change. Expressive art therapy is an amazing way to make visible that which is difficult to express. Expressive arts therapy works within the deeper and de-intellectualized levels of the self, helping to honor our inner truths and unspoken beauty and offer a gentle, reflective, positive way to accept and transform through struggle. Expressive arts therapy is embodied healing that merges with our innate, creative healing spirits, cultural and traditional healing knowledge, and other methods for holistic healing.
Somatic experiencing (SE) is a specific somatic approach to somatic therapy developed by Dr. Peter Levine, and is based on the idea that traumatic experiences and chronic stress leads to impacts on the functioning of your nervous system. These impacts may keep us from fully processing the experiences and lead to chronic dysregulation and distress. SE draws on the innate wisdom of the body, and integrates this wisdom into your natural healing process. I weave Somatic Experiencing into other somatic therapeutic practices, some are traditional healing practices learned growing up and offered by healers in my home communities. I honor a person-centered, culturally responsive, non-appropriative, anti-oppressive, and embodied liberation approaches to the somatic work I engage with. *Official website of Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute https://traumahealing.org/about-us/
Lifespan Integration (LI) relies on the innate ability of the body - mind to heal itself. Lifespan Integration uses a psychological technique called an "affect bridge" to find a memory which is often connected to the current problem. The therapist guides the client to imagine visiting this past memory, bringing into the past whatever is needed in order to resolve the memory. The therapist leads the client through time to the present using a Time Line of visual images of scenes from the client's life. This work with the timeline of memories and images shows the client's body - mind system that time has passed and that life is different now. Lifespan Integration also works well with people who have trouble remembering their past. During Lifespan Integration therapy, clients who began with memory gaps are eventually able to connect the pieces of their lives into a coherent whole. Lifespan Integration is a very gentle method which works on a deep neural level to change patterned responses and outmoded defensive strategies. Lifespan Integration therapy helps people connect unpleasant feelings and dysfunctional patterns, with the memories of the past events from which these feelings and strategies originated, to clarify an integrated and resolved meaning. Making these connections at a deep level of the body - mind "re-sets" the neural system so that it is more in line with the current life situation.
*Official website of Lifespan Integration https://lifespanintegration.com/what-is-lifespan-integration/
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences. Using detailed protocols and procedures, therapists help clients activate their natural healing processes through an eight-phase treatment. Eye movements (or other bilateral stimulation) are used during one part of the session to target a particular memory while asking the client to hold different aspects of that event or thought in mind and track different responses and images, thoughts that arise through the process. In successful EMDR therapy, the meaning of painful events is transformed on an emotional level. Unlike talk therapy, the insights clients gain in EMDR therapy result not so much from the therapist's interpretation, but from the client’s own accelerated intellectual and emotional processes. The net effect is that clients often conclude EMDR therapy feeling empowered by the very experiences that once debased them. Their wounds have closed, and they have also transformed.
*Official website of EMDR https://www.emdr.com/what-is-emdr/
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
CBT works by helping to change people's attitudes and behavior by focusing on the thoughts, images, beliefs and values that are held (within a person's cognitive processes) and how these processes relate to the way a person behaves, as a way of dealing with emotional problems. CBT is based on several core principles, including the idea that psychological problems are based, in part, on faulty or unhelpful ways of thinking and learned patterns of unhelpful behavior. People who are struggling can learn better ways of coping with them, thereby relieving their symptoms and becoming more effective in their lives. The therapist will work with the client, in a collaborative fashion, to develop an understanding of the problem and to develop a treatment strategy. CBT places an emphasis on helping individuals learn to be their own therapists. Through exercises in the session as well as “homework” exercises outside of sessions, clients are helped to develop coping skills, whereby they can learn to change their own thinking, challenging emotions and behavior. CBT therapists emphasize what is going on in the person's current life, rather than what has led up to their difficulties. A certain amount of information about one's history is needed, but the focus is primarily on moving forward in time to develop more effective ways of coping with life.
*Official website of Beck Institute https://beckinstitute.org/get-informed/what-is-cognitive-therapy/
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is a modified form of psychotherapy that incorporates a combination of cognitive therapy, meditation, breathing exercises, and the cultivation of a present-oriented, non-judgmental attitude called "mindfulness." Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy builds upon the principles of cognitive therapy by using techniques, such as mindfulness mediation, to teach a client to consciously pay attention to their thoughts and feelings without placing any judgments upon them, or without getting caught up in what could have been or might occur in the future. It provides clarity of thought and can give a client the tools needed to more easily let go of negative thoughts instead of letting them feed depression. MBCT is often useful for depression and operates on the theory that with a history of depression you are likely to return to automatic cognitive processes that triggered a depressive episode in the past. The combination of mindfulness and cognitive therapy is what makes MBCT so effective. Mindfulness helps you notice your feelings while cognitive therapy teaches you to interrupt automatic thought processes and work through feelings in a healthy way.
In narrative therapy, there is an emphasis on the stories we develop and carry with us throughout our lives. As we experience events and interactions, we give meaning to those experiences and they, in turn, influence how we see ourselves and our world. Narrative therapy is an empowering approach to therapy that is non-blaming and non-pathological in nature. The primary foundation in the relationship between the therapist and client is that the client is an expert in their own lives. Narrative therapy is based on the following principles: Reality is socially constructed. The way we interact with others impacts how we experience reality. Reality is influenced by and communicated through language. People interpret experiences through language and people can have different interpretations of the same event or interaction. Having a narrative can help us maintain and organize our reality. Narrative therapy suggests that we create stories throughout our lives as a way to make sense of our experiences and we can carry many stories with us at one time. Although some stories can be positive and others negative, all stories impact our lives in the past, the present, and in the future. Narrative therapy emphasizes the exploration of these stories and the significant influence on our decision-making and behavior. With this perspective, individuals will feel more empowered to make changes in their thought patterns and behaviors and “rewrite” their life story for a future that reflects who they authentically are, what they are capable of and what their purpose is.
Psychodynamic means the mind in motion and works from a place of understanding the dynamic (moving) elements to how the unconscious affects conscious thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. The goal of psychodynamic psychotherapy is to help people to understand their concerns and patterns that lead to difficulties in life by uncovering their unconscious thoughts and feelings to directly support better outcomes, awareness and growth.