Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, also known as CBT, is an evidence-based therapy modality (which is a fancy way of saying that research shows this approach works). CBT emphasizes the interplay between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and how being able to recognize and change the way we think can have a positive impact on our feelings as well as how we handle our emotions and situations. It is an approach that works well to treat symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as a host of other mental health disorders. I lean heavily on CBT principles in conjunction with more holistic practices to help people change their thinking as well as develop healthier and more effective coping skills.
Eye Movement Desentiziation and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an evidence-based therapeutic modality most often used to treat and resolve trauma symptoms. (Evidence-based means the intervention has been extensively studied and has been shown to produce positive outcomes for clients). Historically, trauma was treated primarily with talk therapy and often required clients to share in detail about their traumatic experiences in order to process the trauma. However, what we know now is that trauma needs to be treated both cognitively and somatically (treat the mind as well as the body). Bessel van der Kolk coined the phrase “the body keeps the score” meaning trauma is stored in our body, which is why we sometimes have extreme visceral reactions to what seem to be innocuous stimuli or experiences that we cannot connect cognitively to any specific cause. Our body is remembering something that our mind either cannot or has worked hard to suppress.
People often wonder if EMDR can be an appropriate intervention for them if they have not experienced a specific trauma such as an assault or car accident. The answer almost always is yes. Traumatic experiences, whether they be a one-time traumatic event or a series of emotional or interpersonal traumas, are tied to negative beliefs we hold about ourselves. EMDR seeks to challenge and replace these beliefs along with reducing the physical/emotional distress that accompanies them. We all have at least a few of these negative beliefs and therefore EMDR can be attempted in most situations and with most people.
EMDR is a protocol based intervention, which means it follows a specific set of steps, known as phases. There are eight phases in total. When most people refer to EMDR they are typically referencing the reprocessing phase; however, it’s important to note EMDR is comprised of many other phases including information gathering/assessment and building distress tolerance skills and resources. ***Anyone coming into EMDR sessions with me should know we will typically spend several sessions working on building distress tolerance skills to best equip you to manage whatever distress may come up through reprocessing.***
EMDR is not an easy intervention and can be very uncomfortable; however, the payoff of reducing trauma symptoms and responses can be significant. Although it is a protocol based intervention, it is specifically tailored to each client’s individual needs, strengths, and goals.
For more information on EMDR please see the resources page or reach out with specific questions about how EMDR might be helpful for you.
About Perinatal Mental Health
The perinatal period encompasses pregnancy through the first year postpartum. Common therapeutic concerns within this period include but are not limited to:
Complications During Pregnancy (Physical and Emotional)
NICU Stays and Caring for Medically Complicated Infants
Grief and Loss
Postpartum Depression and Anxiety
Creating and Maintaining a Healthy Work/Home Balance
Challenges of Being a Stay at Home Parent
This is a time of enormous transition and adjustment with many unexpected challenges. I help expecting mothers and parents address these concerns and mitigate or heal from complications during this time.
Anxiety and Depression
Most people experience periods of sadness or worry in their lives; however, if you are experiencing prolonged periods of sadness or hoplessness, or you find that anxiety is overwhelming you on a regular basis, you may have a more significant problem that needs therapeutic intervention.
Treatment focuses for anxiety and depression heavily focus on solution and goal-oriented approaches with a specific emphasis on changing distorted thoughts and developing more effective coping mechanisms.
Women's Mental Health
Women face a myriad of challenges (including but not limited to) becoming a new mother, raising multiple children, struggling with marriage or intimate partnership, and balancing work and family life. Sometimes the people who provide the most support for others end up feeling like they have the least support.
Counseling for Postpartum Depression, Trauma and Sexual Assault, Mood Disorders, Anxiety, Stress Management, and Relationship Discord
Treatment interventions include but are not limited to:
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
** Advanced Training in Perinatal Mental Health
** Listed with Postpartum Support Virginia as approved provider
** Membership in the DC Metro Perinatal Mental Health Collaborative
** PMH-C (Perinatal Mental Health Certification)
** EMDRIA Certified EMDR Therapist
Many people assume that couples counseling is the last ditch effort before divorce. I believe that maintaining healthy communication and relationship dynamics requires constant work, and couples counseling can be a part of this long before problems escalate. I help couples in various relationship stages from dating through separation improve communication skills, increase quality time, and co-parent more effectively.
Throughout my experience working with couples and families, I have come to understand how becoming a parent can cause significant strain on a couple’s relationship. It is an incredible milestone in life that is also difficult to navigate while achieving balance. Whether you are new parents struggling to adjust from your dyad to a triad (or more!) or are trying to set boundaries with adult children living in your home, addressing parenting dynamics, communication, and skills are essential to improving and maintaining the health of your relationship as a couple.
Additionally, there are unique challenges when a couple is co-parenting after their relationship ends. I believe special care must be taken to ensure children are able to maintain as much consistency as possible regardless of which parent is caring for them at any given time. Therapy for parents who are trying to co-parent after divorce or separation may be necessary to help them mitigate distress for their children.
I also offer couples services for people seeking pre-marital counseling, trying to improve trust and communication, and maintaining relationship health for those couples who are separated due to career requirements, such as military deployment.
There are many times when trauma goes undiagnosed and presents itself through anxiety, depression, substance abuse, risky behaviors, and relationship strife. Anyone can be affected, and everyone's experience is different. It is my goal to help individuals, couples, and families better understand trauma, its symptoms, and how it affects everyday life, while also providing treatment that focuses on management and resolution of trauma symptoms.
I have extensive training in EMDR and am a certified therapist through EMDRIA.