My therapeutic approaches are to work through an anti-oppressive and liberation lens using eclectic, integrative, holistic, collaborative, culturally responsive, creative, person-centered, somatic, and intersectional modalities. 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. Below is a description of the modalities and approaches I am trained in and 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.
Person-Centered & Humanistic
Person-Centered and Humanistic therapy is a non-authoritative approach that allows the person seeking healing to have a prominent role in leading in the discussions, decisions, and goals of therapy so that, in the process, they are able to discover their own innate ability towards solutions and healing. A humanistic approach to therapy looks at the whole person, not only from the therapist’s view but from the viewpoint and lived experiences of the individual who learn to be more curious, observant and non-judgmental of 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 and wisdom within the complexity and context of their identities and life experiences. The therapist role is to collaborate and encourage greater support towards a deeper self-knowing, stronger self-advocacy, healthy boundaries and consent, personal instincts and developing greater insight and rooted wisdom for healing. Humanistic therapy focuses on a person’s unique wholeness, and resists essentializing and pathologizing individual's lifeways, ways of knowing, ways of being.
Expressive Arts Therapy
I hold a certificate in Expressive Arts Therapy and am working towards international 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 expressive creativity and art as a fundamental way to heal, resist oppression, grow, inspire and engage in transformative personal and collective change. Expressive art therapy works to make visible that which is subconscious, difficult to express in other ways, be in touch with our creative beings and spirits and to see yourself and the world in new ways. 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 witness, accept, and transform through struggle. Expressive arts therapy is embodied healing that merges with our innate, creative healing spirits, cultural and traditional healing knowledges, and works well in relation with other methods for a more holistic healing.
Somatic experiencing (SE) is a specific somatic (soma = body) approach to therapy based on the idea that traumatic experiences and chronic stress are held in the body in different ways and this impacts the functioning of our nervous systems. These impacts may keep us from fully processing the experiences and lead to chronic issues like 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 with other somatic therapeutic practices, such as expressive arts and narrative therapy. Some of my orientation to this work is grounded in the traditional healing practices I learned growing up and offered by healers in my home communities. I practice somatic work through an anti-oppressive and embodied liberation, person-centered, non-violent and collaborative, culturally responsive and non-appropriative approaches.
*Official website of Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute https://traumahealing.org/about-us/
Sensorimotor Psychotherapy (SP) is a therapeutic modality that works with trauma and attachment issues. SP welcomes the body as an integral source of information which can guide resourcing and the accessing and processing of challenging, traumatic, and developmental experiences. SP is a holistic approach that includes somatic, emotional, and cognitive processing and integration. SP enables the discovery and change of habitual physical and psychological patterns that impede a healing functioning and overall well-being. SP is helpful in working with dysregulated activation and other effects of trauma, as well as the limiting belief systems related to developmental experiences. SP helps clients cultivate their own innate strengths, while providing enough challenge to open opportunities for and stimulate growth, for long lasting change, and well-being.
*Official website of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy https://sensorimotorpsychotherapy.org/about/
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapeutic modality that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences. Using detailed and more formal protocols and procedures, therapists helps people seeking healing 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. EMDR therapy helps the meaning of painful events to transform 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.
*Official website of EMDR https://www.emdr.com/what-is-emdr/
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 present mind techniques, to allow for a more conscious attention to the person's thoughts and feelings without placing any judgments upon them, or without getting caught up in what should be, could have been, or might occur in the future. It provides that ability to learn a more present now clarity for thought and offers tools to help more easily let go of negative thoughts instead of letting them feed depression and anxieties. 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. MBCT helps you notice your feelings as they arise, to be more present in the here and now, while using cognitive techniques to interrupt automatic thought processes and work through emotions in a healthy way.
Lifespan Integration (LI) relies on the innate ability of the body-mind to heal itself from trauma and developmental wounds. 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 person seeking healing to imagine visiting this past memory, bringing into the past whatever is needed in order to resolve the memory. The therapist works with your life's Timeline, using it as a visual images reference of scenes from your life. This work using the timeline of visual memories and images helps to show the 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, as is common with trauma. Lifespan Integration therapy helps to connect memory gaps so people seeking healing are eventually able to connect pieces of their lives they may have forgotten into a coherent whole. Lifespan Integration is a very gentle method which works on a deep neural level to change patterned responses and no longer serving 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 helps to create change within the neural system to be more in line with the current life situation.
*Official website of Lifespan Integration https://lifespanintegration.com/what-is-lifespan-integration/