Iíve come to my focus quite by accident, really. When I began my counseling practice, like all new psychotherapists, I opened my doors to all hurting people Ė depression, anxiety, IBS, AD/HD, difficult life transition Ė pretty much the list all newbies are qualified to support. I quickly discovered, that the clients who were coming to see me fell into trauma recovery categories Ė recovery from childhood trauma, especially sexual trauma, recovery from cancer diagnosis, and recovery from military combat challenges. Because of this surprising draw I have for those recovering from traumas, I began to focus my post-graduate training in the field of traumatology. I continued that focus through post-graduate studies with leading experts in the field (Dr. Bessel Van der Kolk, Dr. Martin Seligman, Dr. Charles Figley, Bellaruth Naparstek).
In this work, Iíve come to have enormous respect for the courage and focus that individuals who recover from trauma possess. I know from my own personal experience, that the process itself of revisiting the stories renews the wound. I also know that in spite of this pain, a personís strength and strong intention to heal drives them toward their healing and their courage to endure is truly remarkable.
I also have an unusual set of resources for a psychotherapist. This is probably why so many found their way to me before I was aware of my uniqueness. After leaving my corporate career, I began a private practice in massage therapy and energy healing. This gave me a special insight into the physical aspects of trauma, and its impact on the body. My first PTSD client, back in the late Ď90ís was a Vietnam Vet, who came for massage and energy work to calm his PTSD and free him of constant triggers and depression. Although I no longer offer massage, this background and my skills as an energy healer add tools I can offer to help people calm and work through the difficult process of remembering, reporting, desensitizing, and healing.
The other unique thing about me is my deep sense of spirituality. I believe if a person has a belief in something greater than themselves, this must be part of their healing and of their work, whether weíre finding a way out of depression, healing old wounds, or speaking the unspeakable. I have people from many religions in my practice, including Catholic, Evangelical, Muslim, Sufi, Buddhist, Pagan, Jewish, and traditional Protestant (Presbyterian, Methodist, and Lutheran). There is a wonderful story from the Jewish bible where Moses had a personal encounter with God in the form of a burning bush. God instructed Moses to remove his shoes, as he was standing on sacred ground. I believe that when a person comes to me for support, my job is to take off my shoes of assumptions, of dogma, of agendas, and stand on the sacred ground of your life. Only then can I be of service to your path to recovery.
ďI did have my first personal challenge with cancer several years ago. For us survivors, we all name that experience as life changing. The title of one of my favorite books, "I Will not Die an Unlived Life" pretty much says it all. Today I insist that I create balance in my personal and work life, and that I bring my full energy and focus with me when I come to my office. I try to remember not to sweat the small stuff, and that, really, it's all just small stuff - unless, of course we're talking about my CHOCOLATE, then, it's life and death.Ē (written in 2004)
Today, Iím moving through my second challenge with cancer, and learning more about myself that I could imagine.
While I have many degrees and certification as well as many tools to support recovery (see about page), what truly addresses my expertise to support your journey is both personal experience and experience with hundreds of trauma sufferers. What I know is that the healing journey, while similar in many ways to the models Iíve studied, is absolutely unique to an individual. The wound is locked into your body and into your brain and does not respond to a simple telling of the story. Your body and your brain are as unique as a snowflake and as specific to you as your fingerprint. Thatís why I always say ďTo your healing in your own way, in your own timeĒ. Youíll know when youíre ready to take the journey, and your heart will know what the next right step will be. Iíll be there as your expert companion, to offer possible next steps; even if you think you donít know what a next step might look like.
For more information about working with me to overcome symptoms of PTSD - Contact Me.