Research shows that eighty-five percent of the progress clients make in therapy is attributable to “unmeasurable factors” - which is to say, the relationship we have between ourselves and our therapist (Miller, Duncan & Hubble, 1997). So, let's start there because you need to know what it feels like to be in the room with me.
My clients have shared that they find me to be empathetic, funny, and straight-forward, and I see myself as warm, down-to-Earth and collaborative. I take my cues from you during session and am always conscious of what “feeling better” means to you. I work hard to remember your friends' names and important things in your life that you share with me. I wear jeans to work almost always.
I specialize in working with young adults and teenagers. I mostly practice
using EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) techniques and I have extensive training in treating trauma and anxiety. EMDR explores how distressing life events continue to impact our current lives and what we need to do in order to “reprocess” or resolve those experiences in order to feel less bothered by them when we are reminded of them. CBT explores how we interpret life events, and how those thought patterns influence our emotions and behaviors. You can read more about these therapy approaches below. I also utilize concepts and strategies from motivational interviewing, polyvagal theory, mindfulness, internal family systems, Applied Behavioral Analysis, and solution-focused approaches.
I am licensed in Washington D.C., Virginia, and Maryland as a Licensed Professional Counselor and I am also a National Certified Counselor. I am certified in EMDR. I have an office in the Spring Valley neighborhood of northwest DC and offer telehealth appointments.
Specializing in Anxiety and Trauma Psychotherapy
for Adolescents and Adults
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an extensively-researched, effective psychotherapy for the treatment of traumatic and distressing life events. Many people wonder if EMDR is the approach for them, as they feel they have not been through events that they see as meeting the definition of "traumatic," sometimes making statements such as : "I mean, it's not like I've been to a war!" or "Well, I know others have it worse than I do." But traumatic and distressing life events happen to everyone, and instead of comparing our suffering to that of others, a more accurate description of trauma is - any life event you've experienced that still makes you upset when you think about it.
The reason this is a more accurate description of trauma is because if we are still feeling highly emotional in response to past events, this means that our brain has not been able to follow its normal routine of sorting through information. Our brain is wired to instinctively get rid of information we don't need, and to store information we do need for future use. This is the same reason why we know where our car is parked right now, but wouldn't be able to remember where we parked it at any given point a couple of years ago. When we experience distressing events, our brains are so flooded with information, they lose their ability to sort through what is relevant and what isn't relevant, so it keeps everything just in case, and much of that content is upsetting. Then, a couple of years later, we say things to ourselves like "That was years ago, shouldn't I be over it by now?"
This is why EMDR can be helpful. EMDR is an eight-phase protocol that accesses the information in the brain that got stored (either maladaptively or unnecessarily) during the course of the upsetting event(s). In EMDR, we bring that information into "working memory" and use bilateral stimulation* to have the brain desensitize and reprocess that information until it is stored in a way that is no longer upsetting when we recall it in the present. You do not forget the event(s) itself, but over time it becomes significantly less impactful to your everyday life; it simply feels less upsetting.
*Bilateral stimulation is a term that sounds more intense than it is. It is as simple as moving your eyes back and forth to the left/right side, listening to a beeping sound in your left/right ear, and/or having a tactile tapper/buzzer tap back and forth in your left/right hand.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the most common and most well-researched psychotherapy treatments for any number of mental health issues. Most commonly in my practice, I use it to treat anxiety and panic issues as well as mood disorders.
One of the core ideas of CBT is rooted in one of my favorite quotes: "You can't believe everything you think." Cognitive Behavioral Therapy explores how our interpretation of life events and our beliefs about ourselves and the world can influence our emotions and our behaviors. In CBT work, we examine the way we develop a belief/story around things that happen in our lives, and evaluate the accuracy of that belief/story. A simple example of this would be whether or not we interpret having received a low test score as meaning "Well, I must be stupid to have failed" or "Oops, guess I didn't understand the test material as well as I thought I did." Cognitive behavioral therapy helps us identify where we have developed distorted beliefs about ourselves, life events, and the world in general, to find ways to restructure what is inaccurate.