approach

My work has its strongest roots in Narrative Therapy, an approach grounded in the belief that people are separate from their problems and that we have the power to reauthor our own stories.

Your Knowledge and Values are Worthy of Respect.
Your way of understanding the world is critical to your healing. I will reflect back your words, ideas, and values in your voice. I will take notes while you speak, and these are yours to read at your request. I am an active participant in the work we do together.

My role is decentered but influential.
I am committed to centering your ideas, preferences, values, and ways of understanding the world. I emphasize consent in my work, and will ask your permission to share my own ideas, resources, or examples. I will respect your story, and to bring attention to your preferred words, ideas, theories and practices. I once witnessed a mentor of mine sitting with a distressed client who cried "is this normal?" My teacher asked, "Well, does it bother you?" Like my teacher, I am far more interested in what bothers you than what is "normal." Together we will search for solid ground where you can stand and breathe.

The person is NOT the problem.
I avoid thinking or speaking of those I consult with or their loved ones as the problem. Rather, the Problem is the Problem. I want to know you apart from your problems, so that I can stand with you against the problems that attempt to influence you. To highlight this separation I use a technique called "externalizing." For example, if you say, “I am depressed”, I might ask, “How did you notice Depression first influencing your life?”

Life is multi-storied.
If the problems you face have tried to eclipse parts of your identity, you might look back over your life and see mostly darkness. I am curious about what your problems have sought to hide, and so will ask unusual, exceptional, and curious questions that might help you shine light on hidden stories of strength, possibility, and hope.

Your immediate context matters.
Problems can isolate us and make it hard to find options, possibilities, and connections in our lives. I may ask you, with your full consent and understanding, to sign release forms to allow me to collaborate with key family members, relatives, friends, associates, or involved professionals, who may be helpful or concerned. I will coauthor any requested assessment, report, diagnosis, letter, or test with you in session. Whenever possible, I will also make consultation calls in your presence. I strive to collaborate in sensitive, responsible, ethical, legal, diplomatic and creative ways.

Your broader context matters.
Many problems stand on a foundation of oppression, injustice, and cultural history. We may spend some of our time making visible those influences that hide in plain sight--the socially constructed stories about family, gender, culture, ethnicity, sexuality, economics, faith, etc., that may be influencing your life.