Specialties

Peruse my specialties below, or jump to:

Relationship Counseling  |  Women  |  Gay Men  |  EMDR & Trauma 

LGBTQIQ Issues  |  Gender Identity  |  Men's Issues | Teens & Young Adults 

Gay & Lesbian Premarital Counseling | Polyamory

 

Helping You Get Unstuck
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Are you noticing problematic thoughts, feelings or behaviors that you can't understand or get rid of? Do you feel like you're sinking? Are you feeling disconnected from your values, dreams and vitality? Have you drifted away from living as the person you actually want to be, and are unsure how to get back? Or maybe you've never known who YOU really are amidst the expectations placed on you by your family, friends, the mass market, and popular culture. This sense of disconnect can sap your life of energy, purpose and joy. It's painful, but it doesn't have to be this way. I know through personal and professional experience that real change is possible, and that therapy can help.

 

Many people in our culture suffer silently from a lack of soul, which often leaves life seeming like it lacks meaning or purpose. I can help you reconnect with your deeper nature and build an authentic, solid, enduring sense of yourself - one that withstands the influence of outside forces and relationships. Reconnecting with this deeper and more authentic self – your dreams, your unexplored or neglected passions, the disowned parts of your psyche – can lead to a profound new way of being in the world.

"No problem can be solved by the same level of consciousness that created it." -Albert Einstein

Relationship Counseling

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Let's face it: relationships are hard.

 

Whether young, old, married, poly, queer or straight, creating deep and lasting intimacy is challenging - but also immensely rewarding. Our childhoods and past experiences deposit us into relationships in which we struggle with familiar, frustrating and painful patterns, and part of creating a successful partnership is examining and working through these patterns in an atmosphere of safety, love and support from your partner. 

 

Couples usually come into counseling because they've reached an impasse: intimacy is lacking, resentment runs high, communication has deteriorated, fighting is frequent, and the more you try to work things through, the more stuck you feel. Whether you need a relationship "tune-up" or you're on the brink of separation, couples counseling  is a smart investment in your relationship and an opportunity to restore the best aspects of your partnership. How I help:

 

 

 

 

 

Helping Women Develop Healthy Relationships

• Are you looking to shift out of unhealthy or frustrating relationship patterns?
• Do you find yourself attracted to unavailable, immature, or damaging men?
• Have you had a history of relationships with men that have left you feeling unsafe?

• Do you have trouble feeling heard in relationships?

• Would you like to explore your inner masculine?

Working from feminist principles and incorporating a deep understanding of gender socialization, I can help you explore and overcome your negative patterns in dating, sex and romance. I focus on helping develop your sense of power and ability to set limits, and guide you in working through fears that may be stopping you from having healthy, committed relationships. How I help:

 

  1. I help you feel stronger on your own so you can choose relationships more wisely.

  2. I help empower you to make better decisions in relationships and get the support you deserve.

  3. I help you appreciate your unique gifts and learn how to offer them to others.

  4. I help you get in touch with your own power and ask for what you need.

 

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"Only by learning to live in harmony with your contradictions can you keep it all afloat."                                -Audre Lorde

EMDR & Trauma

When horrible or overwhelming things happen to us, whether incidentally or over a long period of time, they can seriously impact our mood, functioning and relationships in our present lives.

 

During traumatic events, our brains respond in ways that protect us from fully experiencing what's happening. This is a useful coping strategy for getting through an extremely stressful situation, but it can often cause those experiences to become "locked" in your nervous system, indefinitely playing out in myriad ways in the present. 

 

You may find yourself overly agitated or inexplicably depressed; you may react strangely to certain sights, sounds or smells; you may suffer from nightmares or sleep trouble; you may have unpleasant flashbacks or intrusive thoughts. These are just some of the symptoms that can emerge after a traumatic event. 

 

If you experience persistent and negative thoughts, feelings, sensations and beliefs that you have a hard time understanding or managing, I offer a focused treatment approach that may help.  

 

How I help: I treat trauma through two highly effective, biology-based methods:

 

(1) Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a simple, effective, rapid, evidenced-based therapy that can help you work through highly distressing memories and triggers for a more adaptive and fulfilling life. Often our disturbing inner experiences in the present are connected either to a highly-charged and specific upsetting event, or to  a chain of memories that trace back to our early life. EMDR uses bilateral stimulation and guided conscious processing to help activate your brain's innate healing capacity and repair psychological wounds. To read more about EMDR and whether it would be right for you, click here.

 

(2) Somatic Therapy guides you into you using your body as a place to experience safety and wholeness, develop resources, and fully process unresolved traumatic events. Somatic techniques help you learn how to regulate your nervous system and release the trauma using your body's natural rhythms. Note: If you are a victim of a violent crime, or have witnessed a violent crime, you may be eligible to have the cost of your therapy covered by the California Victims Compensation and Government Claims Board. Follow the link for more information.

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LGBTQ Issues
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If your sexual identity, sexual orientation or gender identity does not conform to mainstream societal expectations, the world can often feel unsafe. The mental health profession has a shameful history of pathologizing and discriminating against members of this community. It is important that, when you begin the process of seeing a therapist, you feel 100% safe as an LGBTQIQ person. 

 

Many therapists claim to "specialize" in LGBTQIQ issues simply because they are open-minded. While well-intentioned, most of these therapists are not equipped with the knowledge or skill to work with the complex and layered issues faced by our community. I have walked the path of being a queer person, and I also have specialized training and extensive experience working with the wonderfully diverse LGBTQIQ community. This training has focused on issues specific to folks who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer, Questioning, Genderqueer, Gender fluid, Transgender, Transsexual, Cross-dressing, Kink, BDSM, Sexually Fluid, Polyamorous, HIV+, Gay Adoptive Parents, and part of Step & Blended Families.

 

I also work with family members of the LGBTQ community who are having difficulties accepting a loved one who has recently come out.

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Helping Gay Men Find Balance
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• Are you a gay man searching for an intimate relationship?

Do you feel unsatisfied by what the gay community has to offer?

• Do you feel lonely but aren't sure why?

• Are you wondering how to cultivate deeper connections with other gay men?

 

If you identify as a gay man, you are living in a mainstream culture that ignores or rejects the unique gifts of your identity. Gay male culture can also, in its own way, be harsh, superficial, or unaccepting. You may long for supportive community, intimate connection with others, and a more joyful way of life - but aren't sure where to begin looking for it. My graduate research focused on the difficulties many gay men face in finding stable, intimate, lasting relationships - and how psychotherapy can help with this. How I help:

 

  1. I help you develop a healthier relationship to sex.

  2. I help you beat back the inner critic.

  3. I help you feel calmer and more confident in social situations.

  4. I help you develop stronger connection to others.

  5. I help you find your OWN gay community.

  6. I help you work through fears of intimacy.

 

Premarital Counseling for Gay & Lesbian Couples

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As gay marriage becomes more normative across the country, cultural support (and pressure) for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Queer and Transgender people to marry is at an unprecedented high. Many LGBTQ folks are, for a variety of reasons, ambivalent about the institution of marriage, and often have specific life experiences and views about partnership that deserve special attention when deciding to marry. I offer informed, open-minded, and affirming premarital counseling for queer couples who wish to discuss the future of their partnership in a safe and nonjudgmental space.

Teens & Young Adults

Adolescence and early adulthood is typically a time when we choose and develop who we want to be—and struggle deeply with those parts of ourselves we dislike. Sometimes friends, parents or other adults just don't get it, aren't helpful, or you don't want them to know what's really going on inside of you. I work with teens and young adults of all stripes dealing with depression, anxiety, academic problems, social anxiety or isolation, family conflict, and more.  

 

For Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQQ) youth, typical hardsips of teen years are often intensified by the shame, social stigma and rejection (or misunderstanding) signaled by loved ones and by society more broadly. In High School especially, one must navigate l a system of “in” groups and “out” groups, social cliques, and inflexible categories. I specialize in helping LGBTQQ youth sort out who they are amidst this confusion, and begin to learn how to author their own lives and identities.

 

How I help:

 

  1. I help you feel better about your life and cope with hard feelings.

  2. I help you explore who you really are.

  3. I help you express yourself in safe ways.

  4. I help you feel understood.

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“If you don't have any shadows, you're not in the light.”

                          -Lady Gaga

Gender Identity and Transgender Issues
Affirming, informed psychotherapy for transgender, genderqueer, nonbinary and other gender identity issues, including assessment and support letters. Oakland Therapist, Mill Valley Therapist.

If you identify as transgender, genderqueer, nonbinary, or somewhere else on the spectrum of gender—or if you are simply questioning your sense of self around gender, or experience body or gender dysphoria—you may feel like you have to hide parts of your identity or endlessly explain it to various people in your life. Or you may feel like there's no one to turn to with whom it will feel safe to discuss your experience.

 

I offer informed, affirming and social-justice oriented psychotherapy to clients across the gender spectrum to help them live with more clarity, support and congruence. This often involves providing assessments and support letters for hormone therapy, chest surgeries, sex reassignment surgeries, and workplace, school or residential issues. 

 

 

Affirmative Therapy for Nonmonogamy & Polyamory 

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Relationships can thrive in many diverse constellations, including those that are non-normative or carry stigma in our culture. Even as the country makes major advances in gay rights, those who practice nonmonogamy or polyamory often face judgment and incomprehension - even by therapists!

 

I offer informed, affirmative psychotherapy for those living or exploring these relationship styles, and am connected to community resources that can offer additional support. 

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Men's Issues

Are you tired, angry, or disengaged from your job or relationships? Are you having trouble communicating with your partner? Are you feeling lost and aren't sure how to get your life back on track? Do you struggle with inner conflicts that you don't feel you can tell others about?

 

When you feel you can no longer solve your own problems, reaching out for help is a sign of strength. Our culture continues to change in ways that can leave many men less certain about the value of their masculinity, and without models for exploring their inner life. You may feel isolated, unable or reluctant to express what you are feeling to others for fear of ridicule or rejection. Psychotherapy offers a confidential space for exploring what's beneath the surface.

 

How I help: I offer straightforward consultation that helps you learn the skills necessary to improve your mood, energy levels, relationships, and self-esteem.

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To schedule an in-person or online appointment, call 510-740-8024.