I believe that we live in relation to one another, from our circle of friends and family, to our community, to the culture in which we were raised as well as the one with which we now identify. As children we are shaped by those within our environment and we learn skills that enable us to have our needs met. Depending on our experiences, and the social and cultural context in which we were raised, those adaptive skills may not always serve us as adults, and may even hinder our well-being.
It is important to identify these frames of reference, because when we are in emotional pain or distress, dysfunctional relationships or patterns of destructive behavior that we don’t understand, we often beat ourselves up and wonder “What is wrong with me?” Sometimes having an awareness of the messages that we have received throughout our lives, from our loved ones, from our social and cultural groups, can help to shed light on the choices we have made and why we may feel how we feel. When we recognize that our response to our current situation is reasonable based on our past experiences and current influences, we can break out of the downward spiral of self-blame, shame, and helplessness.
Defining what is ours to own and what isn’t can empower us and give us the courage to make changes in our lives. It can also give us the strength to let go of the things that we try to (but cannot) control, and to be compassionate with ourselves and others. Therapy can provide an open and caring space to share your experience, a space to explore your strengths, fears and obstacles. The therapeutic relationship is equal: you are the expert on your life, and I can offer you a different perspective and some tools for growth and healing.
My counseling approach is feminist and humanistic, and I strive to offer a practice that is anti-racist and LGBTQIA affirming. I do not provide faith-based counseling.