Therapy for adults, teens, and couples provided
in Los Gatos, CA.

How I Work

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Some approaches I use are referred to as top down. This is a process driven by cognition and one that utilizes thinking and background knowledge to address your therapeutic goals.  

This umbrella captures the most common approaches in therapy with adults, teens, and couples. 

Taking responsibility for one's own mind can lead to liberation of the self...
- Dr. Dan Siegel

Some popular modalities that would fall under this umbrella are Psychodynamic Therapy/Psychoanalysis, and Dialectical Behavioral Theory (DBT) and Cognitive/Behavioral (CBT).

Working cognitively can be beneficial for managing anxiety, depression, grief, substance use, relational/marital distress, and a host of other difficult life situations you may be facing as an individual or part of a partnership or marriage. 

Read on for examples of what it can look like in therapy.
Top-down therapy may include: 

  • recalling & discussing memories
  • constructing a clearer narrative of events
  • challenging negative/unproductive thoughts
  • speaking your truth more clearly
  • learning new behaviors
  • naming & discussing emotions
  • journaling, writing, role play
  • analyzing patterns & relationship dynamics
  • many mindfulness protocols
  • and what you might consider ‘typical’ talk therapy

 In my opinion, therapy should focus not only on symptom relief (i.e., getting rid of of the distress/discomfort) but also enhance resilience, relational skills, and lead to a clearer sense of self. 

Depending on the circumstances, one can expect more fulfilling relationships, effective use of talents/abilities, increased self-esteem, and facing life’s challenges with greater freedom and flexibility.

Most therapy sessions with me will include top-down methods. I lean toward a psychodynamic/psychoanalytic approach. 

Working Top-Down

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Like a sponge filled with water, anywhere the flesh is pressed, wrung, even touched lightly, a memory may flow out in a stream.
- Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Another way of working therapeutically is bottom-up. This is a process driven by sensory input from various systems of the body.

Bottom up approaches work most notably with the limbic system & nervous system, and are typically referred to as somatic therapy; somatic meaning ‘of the body’.

There are several modalities that focus on a bottom-up approach, such as Somatic Experiencing (SE), Polyvagal Therapy, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, and the one I have the most training in, which is Hakomi Mindful Somatic Psychology.

Hakomi is a mindfulness-based, somatic, experiential form of individual psychotherapy. It has been developed over the past 40 years to uncover and explore core beliefs that may be guiding our lives without our awareness.

Hakomi facilitates attention and exploration in the here-and-now during sessions and can be highly experiential and deeply transformative. Read an article about Hakomi >>

Click more below for examples what it can look like in therapy. 

Hakomi & bottom up therapy can look like: 

  • practicing mindful attention of the body
  • interactive exploration / therapeutic touch
  • developing internal safety
  • noticing sensations
  • learning & using descriptive/sensorial language
  • discharging energy
  • experiencing visceral responses
  • expanding interoception & proprioception

Bottom-up approaches like Hakomi can be particularly useful for working with and through trauma (acute, developmental, systemic), as well as other complex challenges such as grief, depression, anxiety, stress, and difficult relationships.

For those new and/or curious about this type of therapy, I look forward to bringing these gentle and powerful methods into your toolbox. 

Working bottom-up

Working relationally is a principle I strive to uphold in all therapeutic encounters, whether you are coming in as an individual or part of a partnership.

We are born in relationship, we are wounded in relationship, and we can be healed in relationship.
- Harville Hendrix

Research has shown what we know intuitively; that in most cases the quality of the relationship between client and therapist is the primary factor in whether therapy is considered successful.

This means that on occasion I may ask for direct input or feedback on how therapy is working for you and address the ‘here-and-now’ of what is happening between us.

Building a relationship that can address these dynamics takes time, patience and dedication.

This also means that identifying and addressing various aspects of your identity are essential components to therapy.

We will explore social factors, such as race, class, culture, and gender (to name a few), and examine the power struggles that develop as a result of these factors. These are essential parts being a relational therapist.

We may explore how these factors impact relationships or personal challenges in your life, and even how the therapeutic process is/isn’t working for you.

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Working relationally

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The work of the eyes is done. Go now and do the heart-work on the images imprisoned within you.
- Rainer Maria Rilke

It would be quite presumptuous to assume myself (or any professional) has all the answers. Acknowledging the unknown is part and parcel to any meaningful therapeutic process. 

Acknowledging, honoring and relating to the mysteries of life and what it means to be human, are a part of my work as a clinician. 

I refer to this as working with the mystery, the unconscious, the unknown, the shadow, the transpersonal, the existential, the archetypal, the soul. Many call this type of therapy "depth psychology". 

Depth-oriented approaches to life & suffering attempt to help us to become curious about what is unconscious or unknown. 

Healing can then be associated with allowing what has been repressed or ignored to come forward so that one can explore its significance, allowing for a transformation in consciousness.

Taking a depth approach also acknowledges how much we cannot and will not know.

Depth Psychology attends to the way these unconscious processes express themselves not only personally, but in relationships, society, and culture as well.

As a therapist coming from a depth tradition, I attempt to understand the language and dynamics of the unconscious as it shows up in our time together, and in the world at large. And am constantly humbled by this process.

Depth psychological therapy may incorporate or explore:

  • poetry, myths & stories (familial/cultural)
  • dreamwork
  • metaphor
  • rituals
  • imagery/symbols
  • instincts
  • existential/spiritual meaning
  • and the imagination!

Depth psychology can easily interweave with other approaches, bolster a sense of meaning and purpose in the world, and provide context/direction for life’s challenges.

I look forward to exploring the depths with you!

Working with the mystery

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Free 15-minute consultation for all prospective clients. 

working together