Services

Over the years I have had the opportunity to receive training and gather experience with a wide variety of issues and groups of people. While I have focused on specific populations or difficulties in the past, at this point I most enjoy having a mix of clients in my case load. Thus, I have a general practice in which I provide therapy to people of all ages, ethnicities, orientations and cultures. I find this enriches my work and helps me maintain a broader, more holistic perspective.

Below, you can find more information on how I work with the different populations.

Individual Adults

While a few people come for just a few sessions and are satisfied, most of the individuals who start therapy with me find the experience so beneficial that they continue the work for several months or even years. I tend to view therapy as a long term process and enjoy being part of and witness to my clients’ growth and change. Long term therapy has the potential to foster deeply satisfying alterations and I very much appreciate the opportunity to be a part of this process with my clients.

Couples

While I have received training in a variety of models related to providing therapy to couples, I am most attracted to Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT) and have been working to apply this model with my clients. EFT combines the Humanistic/Experiential perspective with Family Systems Theory, and views relationships through an Attachment Theory lens. To learn more about this approach and the research guiding it, visit the EFT website. This model has been shown to be effective with both straight and gay couples, as well as with couples from around the world.

When I start with a couple, I meet with them as a couple for two or three sessions, then I will meet with each individually. We conclude the assessment period with another couple session at which we decide whether we all wish to proceed further with the process.

Children and Teens

When I treat children and teens, I also work closely with their parents. I start out by meeting the parents at least two or three times before I meet with the minor. I view these early meetings as an assessment period in which parents get a better idea of how I work and whether they believe I would be a good match for their child. I try to get a sense of how helpful I may be to the child and parents, and together we determine the most appropriate course of treatment.

Thereafter, I maintain regular contact with parents throughout the treatment with parent meetings and phone calls. Due to internet privacy concerns I prefer to limit email communications to basic information exchanges, such as appointment times. I frequently request permission to speak with children’s teachers, pediatricians, or other professionals involved in the child’s life to gain a fuller understanding of the child’s world.

I generally shorten the standard 50 minute therapy session to 45 minutes for children, and for the very young, two or three year olds, maybe even less, depending on their needs. For more details on how I work with children, please read Children and Therapy.

A couple of years ago, I recorded myself reading a couple children’s story books. Feel free to view these with your children if you believe it may help them feel more comfortable prior to or in between any appointments. They can be seen on my You Tube channel.

While all minors in therapy have a right to confidentiality, this becomes an especially sensitive issue for teens in treatment. While I have a deep respect for parents’ desire to know what their teens are doing, effective treatment with teens is dependent on the teen having a sense of privacy and belief that what they tell their therapy is confidential. Therefore, I always inform teen clients of the communications I have with their parents, giving them notice of when I’ll be meeting with them and we discuss what I’ll be communicating with their parents. Any issues that I believe are critical that the parent be informed of (usually regarding safety), I will work with the teen to tell their parents themselves, and if this is not possible, I discuss with the teen how I will notify their parents.

LGBTQ+

I have found that while members of the LGBTQ+ community come to therapy with exactly the same issues as straight and cisgender people, there are a number of issues specific to this group. Among many other things, this may involve any of the stages of the coming out process, internalized transphobia and/or homophobia, or dealing with the grief of rejection by family, friends or co-workers. While the Bay Area is more open than many other places, even here there still exists a high degree of ignorance, fear, and blatant prejudice and discrimination against the community. While I had long thought of myself as a gay friendly therapist, it wasn’t until I supervised interns at the Billy DeFrank LGBT Community Center in San Jose that I became much more aware of the importance of providing Gay Affirmative Therapy and even more sensitive to the subtleties and complexities of both personal and cultural heterosexism.

While at the Billy DeFrank center, I also learned of the scarcity of resources available to the transgender community. Since then, I have worked to learn as much as I can about the needs and issues specific to this group. Although there are many parallels with the issues faced by lesbians and gays, there are many that are quite specific to trans folk and their families. I have been working with transgender clients since 2006, I am very much enjoying this work and continue to expand my skills, knowledge and contacts.

Due to my personal and professional experiences, I can also be quite helpful to the parents, spouses, children, siblings, and friends of the LGBTQ+ community. Just as there are stages of coming out for the individuals, their loved ones also go through a process of their own when they are confronted with the information that their family member or friend isn’t as they always thought. For many, this is a difficult, painful process filled with ambivalence, conflict and confusion. It is important to recognize they are not alone and that others have gone through the same experience.

Support Groups

My colleagues and I run various groups at different times for different issues. Our  most popular one is “Group Nite!” We have at least four different groups running all at the same time in our suite. Two are for the parents (& grandparents) of Gender Expansive youth, one is for the trans teens (& siblings) and the last is for the gender nonconforming elementary age children (& their siblings). This is one Wednesday night each month. Feel free to call for more information, or check out the Gender Identity Awareness Network site for specific dates and times.

Consultation and Training

For many years I have provided supervision to Marriage and Family Therapy interns and trainees, both in my private practice and at different non-profit organizations. I am available for consulation to licensed therapists, and have been actively involved in setting up and providing professional training.

I have developed a series of trainings on providing services to Trans adults and Gender Expansive youth for therapists, teachers, and other professionals. I have presented and volunteered at the annual Gender Spectrum Family & Professionals Conference for the last few years.

I also provide parenting courses for schools and other agencies on a wide variety of issues that many families struggle with.