About me: my approach and philosophy
There seems to be a misconception about counseling and what type of person would go to counseling. I've had many clients apologize for telling me about their reasons for coming to see me or they minimize their problems by saying something like 'oh, I'm sure that's stupid compared to what you usually hear.' I tell them all the same thing: we are all human. Thoughts, emotions, joy, pain, sadness, anger, etc...these are all normal parts of being human. Yes, there are varying degrees of issues I have worked with but we are all climbing our own mountains here. Some are tougher than others but they are still mountains. My clients, whether homeless or wealthy, uneducated or have doctoral degrees..they all have at least one thing in common: they are all humans who experience difficult thoughts and feelings.
I know the decision to come to counseling can be very difficult for many individuals. Taking that leap into the unknown can be scary (coming into counseling for the first time or seeing a new counselor if you have had counseling before). I believe that the individual decides to come to therapy because they have tried everything they can think of to improve their situation but have become stuck. The goal in therapy is to assist the client in becoming ‘unstuck’ and taking steps towards a more rich and meaningful life. I will do this from a down to earth, non judgmental, and accepting stance.
My approach is a behavior therapy (like CBT) called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) although I also uses techniques and ideas from other therapies based on what the individual needs. In ACT, I will work with you on getting your life going in the direction you want it to be going while also helping you to better handle the obstacles along the way.
I have been practicing counseling as a licensed mental health therapist for 9 years and have been working in the field of mental health for 14 years. In addition to working as a therapist, I have worked on a crisis unit, a psychiatric hospital, group homes, and as an emergency services clinician. While all of those past jobs have been mostly very stressful, I am grateful to have a well rounded background as I feel this has helped me as a therapist.
If you are interested in taking that ‘leap’ into counseling or you have any questions or concerns before you do decide, please feel free to contact me (email preferred for faster response). I look forward to working with you and it would be my honor to help guide you to a more rich and meaningful life where you are able to live your life despite whatever it is that has you stuck at the moment.
Why the name "Learning to Bend?"
Throughout history there have been many examples of the metaphor of 'bending like a tree.' From Aesop's fable of the Oak and the Reed to Lao Tsu's Tao Te Ching, there are many variations on the saying (and they all essentially mean the same thing). My favorite is from Tao Te Ching which is, "The tree that is unbending is easily broken." So what does this have to do with counseling? Well, we humans can be quite rigid. 'Things need to be this way. I cannot have this anxiety/pain/sadness/etc. This terrible thing happened and I can't move on with my life!' In counseling, the aim is to work with you on learning to "bend" with the rough winds life can throw at us.