My particular approach to the therapeutic process is experiential in nature and may often involve talking about unpleasant aspects of your life. As a result you are likely to experience feelings like sadness, guilt, anger, grief, and longing. Such experiences can be painful. If these occur, they are usually temporary.

Sometimes therapy is not short term. Sometimes traumas start very early in life and require a longer course of treatment. Some problems can be very complex. Struggles with drugs or alcohol can further complicate emotional difficulties. I may not see what is happening quickly, despite my best efforts.
In your sessions I will carefully attend to you, your current life and what you are hoping to get my help with. I will also focus on what is happening in the moment between us. 
  • How are you conveying feelings? 
  • What is not being said or said indirectly? 
  • What is happening with your anxiety? 
  • What patterns are emerging in your interactions with me that are also present in your life? 
  • To what extent and in what circumstances are you aware of your feelings? 
  • Are certain feelings more difficult for you than others? 
I will share my observations in the moment. My observations could be inaccurate and you can tell me what I missed or misinterpreted. You may like what I say or be annoyed or feel sad or have mixed feelings. We can learn about you very quickly by observing together how you handle your feelings with me, which is most likely how you handle the same feelings outside of therapy. I believe that this focused immediate experiential component is essential to getting to the bottom of your problems and shortening the duration of therapy.
Treatment, although meant to be helpful, cannot be guaranteed to be of benefit. Your participation in these services is voluntary and withdrawing at any time is your right. However, if you withdraw before it is recommended, there are potential risks that may be helpful to discuss with me beforehand. 
Over the years I’ve integrated several different therapy modalities into my work. As a relationship therapist (RMFT), Family Systems Theory and Internal Family Systems Theory became the foundation of my interests and training. In these formative years, I also studied NarrativePerson-Centred and Emotional Focussed therapies. I had the privilege to be in regular group supervision with John P. Millar for 14 years until his death in 2017. John was heavily influenced by Psychoanalytic Experiential Theory/Practice and as a result, I learned to hold relational space and psychodynamic/systemic processes in the therapeutic frame at the same time. 

This approach believes that persistent unmet needs and hurts experienced in our life cause wounds within us. These wounds result in us having painful hidden thoughts and feelings. Because we are generally programmed to avoid painful thoughts and feelings, our system develops all sorts of ways to try to avoid experiencing that pain and anxiety. ISTDP believes that the ways we try to avoid our painful thoughts and feelings cause the problems that we generally seek therapy for. 

The goal of ISTDP is to help us begin to notice our anxiety and pain and to help us identify what kinds of things we do to try and get away from it. It also helps us explore whether we can find another way to deal with that pain which is healthier than looking away from it.