My counseling work is with adults, seniors and adolescents.
Though I have experience helping clients move through a variety of issues utilizing psychotherapy, I consider the following to be particular specialties of mine:
Trauma / Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (Combat Trauma / War Stress) — click to read more
Co-dependant Behavior and Relationships — click to read more
Sexual / Physical / Emotional Abuse Survivors — click to read more
Addictions / Substance Abuse — click to read more
Adolescent Issues— click to read more
Lesbian, Gay, Trans, Bi (LGBTQ) Issues
Adult Children of Alcoholics
Terminal Illness (Death and Dying)
Grief and Loss
Marital Counseling / Couples Counseling
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is the name for something that can happen to someone after they experience a traumatic event outside of the range of normal human experience. These events could include abuse, combat, rape, natural disasters, as well as many other difficult circumstances.
People dealing with PTSD often exhibit a characteristic set of symptoms which include:
- Difficulty Sleeping
- Difficulty with Relationships
These symptoms can interfere with functioning in any area of life.
When I work with people dealing with PTSD, I work with them to explore and understand how the traumatic event and the symptoms following have impacted their life. I find that this exploration and understanding often helps to reduce the intensity of their symptoms and return them to a level of functioning and interpersonal interaction that is more desirable.
War Stress – Combat Trauma
War Stress and Combat Trauma are words used to define a specific kind of PTSD.
I’ve worked with many Vietnam and Gulf War veterans dealing with their combat trauma. After working together to gain an increased understanding of the events and the feelings they have associated with the events they experienced, we move on to examine the impact the various traumas have had on their present day lives.
These clients have reported to me that after therapy they are more even-keeled emotionally, they have more patience and tolerance, their interpersonal relationships have improved, and they are better able to live in the present and enjoy their lives.
I have counseled abuse survivors and combat veterans since 1983. From 1995 to 2007, prior to moving to Austin, Texas, I was the primary outpatient counseling service provider recommended by the Veterans Administration for combat veterans in the county in which I practiced.
Addictions and Substance Abuse
Addictions of any kind rob a person of the ability to live life fully.
Whether it’s substance abuse (alcoholism, drug addiction, or compulsive eating) or behavioral in nature (sex addictions, self injury, etc…) what happens, simply put, is that an addict ends up spending so much of their time and energy focused on the desired substance or behavior that there is little time left for anything or anyone else.
Addictions can be as painful for family members as they are for the addict.
I don’t focus on the label. In my therapy practice I focus on working with my clients to help them understand the depth and nature of their relationship to the substance or behavior. This is the psychology of their addiction. Gaining this understanding can help to make small behavior changes possible, and these behavior changes are what ultimately allows someone to gain freedom from destructive patterns.
I have studied and worked with addictions and the families struggling with them since the early eighties. During that time I have assisted countless people in breaking the bonds of addiction and learning to live healthier, more complete lives.
Co-dependent Behavior and Relationships
Growing up in addictive, abusive and/or dysfunctional family systems can deeply impact the development of an individual. Living in this kind of situation often causes a person to feel very different or separate from others.
The term “co-dependency” means many things to different people. What I mean by the term “co-dependent” is what happens when someone becomes too externally focused on others and loses touch with themselves.
Helping or serving other people, especially those struggling with addictions or abuse issues of their own, may come easily to a codependent individual. But meeting their own needs by asserting or protecting themselves often seems an impossible task. Sometimes the co-dependent person is not even able to identify their own needs, because they have focused solely on the needs of others for so long.
The way to healing is through learning to become more self-aware and to become better able to take control of your own life, identifying and meeting your own needs in a healthy way. Increased self-awareness will also help you to establish and maintain firm boundaries.
I help my clients understand how the early messages of their childhood get played out in their current reactions on a daily basis. Utilizing the techniques of psychotherapy, my codependent clients learn about themselves, and this knowledge sets the stage for a change in perception. With a different view of their place and value in the world, a client can then start making decisions that are more self-supporting and begin to move beyond copendency.
Adolescence can be a turbulent time for teens as well as their parents. It’s a time of searching and self-discovery and it can be highly emotional. Developmentally, issues that need to be addressed during this phase of life are independence, autonomy and control.
Adolescence can be a very confusing time for teens. This confusion can manifest itself through anger, worry, depression, anxiety and power struggles. Even though adolescence is a normal process and one that needs to happen during the transition to adulthood, it can be very difficult.
The cumulative effects of stress, stress reactions, substance abuse, and the inability to negotiate the developmental challenges of adolescence can also compound existing family dysfunction.
Counseling/therapy can help. Speaking with someone outside the family can often enable the teen to feel better heard and supported in their struggle. Working together with a therapist can benefit the entire family unit by helping to clarify expectations and boundaries, and also by bridging gaps in communication and perception.
Sexual / Physical / Emotional Abuse Survivors
Abuse issues can threaten one’s sense of safety in the world.
It doesn’t matter if it’s childhood abuse or if the abuse is suffered as an adult, or as is often the case, both. The most important thing is learning how to identify safe people and situations. But this is not as easy as it sounds. Though abuse survivors often set out to become involved in relationships and situations that appear safe and supportive, like most people they tend to gravitate toward what is familiar. So they are often surprised and disappointed to find themselves in abusive situations repeatedly.
By exploring these issues in counseling, I can help you to understand how to break the cycle. In therapy we will work together to identify the personal issues and behavior patterns involved in your abuse. It then can become possible for you to break the cycle and begin to develop healthier patterns and connections to the world.