Clinical Focus

It is important for you to find a therapist who is not just qualified to treat your issues, but who is passionate about working with you and with other people like you. I choose to focus on people who identify as performance intensive in personality style and/or through your activities and professions. I also focus on people who are going through the transitions that are common in early adulthood. I have found that specializing in people is more effective than specializing in problems.

The Performance Intensive Mentality
You have high expectations for yourself in at least one area of your life . . . but probably more. This mindset has served you well at times, but it has also undoubtedly been a source of stress and perhaps even pain. You may be experiencing some of the problems that can be associated with the performance intensive mentality – fear of failure, anxiety, perfectionism, procrastination, anger, depression, or burn-out. Living your life never feeling satisfied robs you of joy. Seeing yourself as never good enough erodes your self esteem. The disappointment that is often a presence in your relationships is wearing on you and your loved ones. The positive message that I would like to convey is that you already possess tremendous strengths. I would like to help you learn how to use them more effectively while minimizing the effects of the issues that cause you distress.

[Those of you who identify with being a performance intensive professional, athlete, or student may also be interested in a sport & performance psychology approach, which addresses your unique needs (see Sport Psychology).]

Anxiety. Gaining insight into how your anxiety works is the first step in learning to manage and overcome it. Some people primarily experience their anxiety mentally in the form of excessive worrying and intrusive thoughts, whereas others experience it physically and some people experience both. Not only can anxiety be extremely distressing to feel, it can make it very difficult to be in situations that are triggering. Most people with anxiety use some form of avoidance as a coping mechanism. What you may not realize is that avoidance behaviors actually increase your anxiety by making it progressively more difficult to face more and more situations. Anxiety can prevent you from doing the things you want to do, from being around people, from moving forward in your life. I will help you learn about your anxiety and about yourself, and develop a plan for treatment that addresses your specific needs. I am especially proficient in treating social anxiety and performance anxiety, which are commonly experienced by people who have a performance intensive mindset. Read about a large scale study that found psychotherapy to be the best treatment for social anxiety (Mayo-Wilson & Colleagues, 2014).

Depression. You may be in pain, or perhaps you feel numb or stuck. Being in such a place of constant discomfort, or comfortable misery, can wear on your mental, emotional, and physical health, as well as your interpersonal relationships. The challenge to overcoming depression is that it often negatively affects the very qualities that promote recovery – your motivation, the value you place upon yourself, your view of the world around you, and your expectations for the future. It is difficult to be motivated when you feel poorly about yourself, when you negatively perceive the world, and when you feel little hope that your actions will lead to positive outcomes. Problems that often accompany depression include loneliness, excessive guilt, motivation problems, and low self-esteem. I recognize that depression is experienced differently between different people, and that people also vary in their readiness to change and engage in treatment. I will tailor my work with you to take into account your unique experience with depression and your personal characteristics. There is no one catch-all approach that works for everyone, but I am committed to working with you to create a treatment situation that is the best fit for you and the most conducive to your recovery.

Early Adult Transition & Adjustment
The time from age 18 to 30 is marked by tremendous change in terms of both internal personal growth and external life transition. There are many exciting positives associated with this period, such as transitioning from high school to college, officially becoming an adult, gaining independence, forming new relationships, and creating a foundation for your future career. However, it is also a time of uncertainty, when you might question your identity and be consumed with existential concerns – what is your purpose and what is meaningful to you? There are stresses and challenges, and it is often difficult to adjust when multiple changes occur in a relatively short period of time – especially if you encounter a barrier or setback that interrupts your momentum and shakes your self confidence. I have worked with student-athletes in high school, and students in the community college, small college, and large university settings. I have also worked with clients focusing on early career, relationship, and new family issues. I want to convey that it is common for early adults to experience some difficulty with adjustment, and for a few to also experience distress and impairment. Now is a good time to work with a professional, whether to promote personal growth, to prevent more serious problems from developing, or to address your current difficulties.

Dysfunction in Relationships. Have you ever wondered why you repeatedly find yourself in unfulfilling relationships? Perhaps you are wondering if and how you are still affected by family dysfunction that you experienced while growing up. There may be a variety of reasons why you might find yourself in a relationship situation that is unhealthy for you. Whether you engage in dysfunctional relationship behaviors yourself, or you choose to relate with others who do, this is something that you are capable of changing. I wholeheartedly disagree that people suffer permanent damage from their pasts. Rather, I believe that people learn ways of coping and relating that make sense in a dysfunctional relationship situation (often in their families), but end up being counterproductive when they become a repeated pattern such as codependency. I would like to help you gain insight into your relationship behaviors and choices, and identify how to change so that you can create healthy, mutually enhancing relationships with others.