Couples Therapy In-Person Or Online
What brings a couple into Relationship counseling?
One of my greatest passions as a relationship therapist is working with high-functioning couples who wish to deepen their connection even more. In sessions, we work to communicate more effectively and learn to “hear” and understand the emotional needs of the other, including identifying old wounds that are being repeated or recreated in the relationship. I also enjoy working vibrant partners who crave more passion, exploration, novelty, mystery and desire—together we explore ways to create this. Many couples seek therapy because they are in the midst of navigating a personal or professional crisis, have communication or sexual concerns as well as those who would like to heal from emotional or sexual infidelity. I am a sex positive therapist and work with heterosexual, same sex and non-gender conforming couples.
What follows are some common reasons people reach out for relationship help:
You repeat destructive patterns and dynamics which leads to endless episodes of fighting and more relational wounds
You have unhealed wounds from the past that are impact your relationships now
You have trouble resolving conflicts and have communication problems
You have stress symptoms related to adjustments, life-transitions, change and challenges
You need help repairing trust and healing from infidelity and betrayal
People seek relationship counseling and coaching for a range of reasons, including the need to create a better work/life balance, wanting to be better partners, parenting stressors, repeating familiar patterns and dynamics or needing a professional to support them through a crisis.
When I meet with couples in session, I frequently observe that they can’t really “hear” their partner, because the wounds from their own past have not been healed. Communications are received through the filter of their developmental experiences. Hurt and pain from long ago is being repeated and recreated in their current relationship. We repeat what we don’t repair, as they say, and this unfortunate unconscious pattern shows up in our relationship with ourselves and our partners.
How do these patterns show up in your current relationship ?
You continually repeat the same dysfunctional dynamics and patterns with your current partner
You find partners with similar qualities to a parent that caused you distress, such as a distant, neglectful, alcoholic or abusive parent
You repeat what’s familiar to you and what you observed or experienced as a child which generalizes to many aspects of your life
You repeat traumatic events in an unconscious attempt to master in the “here and now” the lack of control that you experienced in your early traumatic experiences.
You may feel you don’t deserve healthy partnerships especially if you’re a trauma survivor, so you push the other away or sabotage the relationship
You likely internalized your family of origin or generational traumas and experiences of shame which now impacts your self-esteem
We all repeat dysfunctional relationship patterns to some extent, but for some couples, the noise is so loud that both are deprived of “seeing” and “hearing” the other, and therefore, truly “knowing” and being “known” by their partner. When this happens, and it does a lot, they are unable to have an authentic and evolved relationship because they are playing out early dynamics with their partner. Your relationship will suffer and likely end without understating and being able to identify the source of relational dysfunction.
We are wired to repeat and this is one of the most important obstacles to having a healthy, evolved and conscious relationship
While many aren’t open to doing their own individual work, these dynamics that are played out in relationships can be identified during couples therapy sessions and obvious to a therapist who works with couples. Together we can work to understand what belongs in the past and what is getting recreated in the present. Why does this happen? Because we are wired to repeat familiar patterns and habits. On an unconscious level, we repeat what is familiar to us, even traumatizing events, in an attempt to “master” or gain control over the experience. These family dynamics and generational patterns are repeated and recreated, again and again. When partners are able to become aware of their own experiences of shame, abandonment, rejection, neglect, abuse and other painful injuries to the “self” that occurred long ago, they will be better equipped to recognized when these dynamics are being recreated or repeated in the relationship. When couples come in to therapy saying that they have communication problems, they are often describing this style of relating.
Couples therapy, relationship counseling or marital counseling is designed to help couples work through relationship and communication problems, navigate challenging life-circumstances and create or reconnect to love, respect and emotional closenessAs a New York State licensed psychotherapist and consultant, one of my greatest passions is working with couples. I work with couples in crisis and distress (such as infidelity, loss and transitions) and higher-functioning couples, helping them listen for and understand the emotional needs of the other. Effective couples therapy should support clients so that communication can feel safe and constructive. Additionally, couples can learn more effective coping skills to manage problems, work through new and longstanding conflicts and increase the attachment bond. I am excited to use the many skills that I've acquired to help clients create a more successful partnership as a result of my training with The Gottman Institute and by integrating EFT or Emotionally Focused Therapy into sessions when appropriate.
COMMON REASONS COUPLES DECIDE TO SEEK RELATIONSHIP COUNSELING:
Repeating personal trauma wounds within the relationship
To heal from emotional affairs and infidelity
Divorce, remarriage and blended family
Sexual and intimacy issues
Repeating patterns and dynamics
Individual health and/or emotional problems
Struggling with addictions or substance abuse
Money and financial distress
Difficulties with communication, resolving conflicts or expressing needs
Conflicts about values
Family, in-law struggles and step-family issues
Different parenting styles
Infertility and adoption
Cultural differences and religion
Fertility issues and related stress
Fighting, anger and resentment problems
Personal histories of abuse and trauma
Identity and role problems
I am happy to work with you in person or if your schedules conflict, online therapy using a HIPPA compliant service or Skype which is not secure are two available options. Please send me an email for more information.
Infidelity + Healing after an Affair or Betrayal
Couples counseling and healing after betrayal + infidelity
Many couples enter therapy because of emotional or sexual infidelity. Few things are more crushing and heartbreaking than learning of a partner’s affair. Betrayal is one of the deepest wounds that couples face. I have received specialized training to help clients in distress and are attempting to heal from the devastating impact of infidelity. distressed couples experiencing the devastating hurtful effects of infidelity. Healing takes time. Many couples never take the opportunity to grieve and process the experience and remain stuck in loneliness, despair and anger. For those couples who find the courage to seek therapy and counseling to repair their partnership, the relationship can emerge stronger as clients can feel closer and experience a deeper understanding of the other’s feelings and needs. Clients are supported to heal the attachment wound caused by the injury and help with guiding the couple back to the bond that they had before the affair.
MORE HELPFUL INFORMATION ABOUT couples psychotherapy or pre-marital counseling:
Many fear bringing their struggles to a couples therapist because of shame or the threat that the relationship may end. In my experience, many relationships grow and thrive as a result of successful couples counseling. Many couples enter treatment to enhance their connection and relationship. For some, the relationship is in a crisis and requires a swift response to contain the problem. A trained relationship therapist will know the right approach.
Many of my clients enter therapy to share the challenges and drama of single life and dating in Manhattan, as well as the complexities of long-term relationships. The ability to create and maintain meaningful and mutually satisfying relationships leads to a balanced and satisfying life. Research tells us that committed relationships, partnerships and connected marriages can be our greatest source of love, support, and happiness. As the early glow of a new relationship begins to wane, challenges in the form of patterns and dynamics begin to surface and things can unravel fast. Each member of the couple may unconsciously trigger in the other unfinished business of the past such as: early unmet needs, deficits, abandonment, loss, rejection, engulfment and a variety of other family of origin dynamics. What occurs can be emotional distance and negative feelings, contempt, defensiveness, conflicts that escalate, confusion and the inability to reconnect and repair after a dispute or argument. At this point, the relationship can become a source of pain and tension, rather than comfort, mutual support and joy.
Couples counseling is a type of relationship therapy that focuses on building and maintaining a healthy partnership by fostering connection and attachment, developing compassion and empathy for self and other, learning new skills and even resolving wounds from the past. Clients seek couples therapy and pre-marital counseling for a variety of reasons. In some cases, partners have suffered a trauma in their relationship, such as a betrayal or infidelity, unemployment or another type of crisis that creates stress. The popularity and dependence on social media such as Facebook and other technological advances such texting and email has created new problems for couples leading to misunderstandings and even emotional betrayal and affairs. Couples with relationships that are higher-functioning and less-stressed use relationship sessions to better understand the needs of their partners, deepen listening and communication skills and further strengthen their relationship.
According to marriage and relationship expert Dr. John Gottman, less than 5% of divorcing couples seek marriage counseling and the average couple waits six years before seeking help for marital problems. Additionally, half of all marriages fail in the first seven years. Couples may fear relationship counseling for many reasons, yet it is clear that most couples endure a less than ideal partnership for far too long. Therapists who work with couples agree that intervening soon rather than later will yield better long-term results.
The Gottman Institute
THERAPISTS WHO HAVE RECEIVED TRAINING FROM THE GOTTMAN INSTITUTE ARE INTERESTED IN USING A RANGE OF EFFECTIVE INTERVENTIONS TO HELP PARTNERS IN COUPLES THERAPY MASTER DIFFICULTIES INCLUDING, LEARNING TO:
Re-ignite the flames of fading romance and friendship
Build shared meaning, values and symbols for long term connection
Bridge the chasm of emotional distance and building a culture of appreciation
De-escalate volatile arguments and gridlocked fights
Eradicate criticism, defensiveness, contempt and stonewalling
Heal from affairs and other breaches of trust
Learn to listen and understand the needs of the other
Communicate more effectively
Develop healthier problem-solving skills and learn to resolve conflict productively
Identify and express personal needs clearly and openly
Create shared goals, values and dreams
Express, disclose and resolve painful emotions
Work through unresolved trauma and issues of the past and wounds that have occurred in the relationship
WHAT RESEARCH TELLS US ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS:
Emotional distance can be as destructive to a relationship as conflict
The way a couple fights, repairs and resolves problems is more important than what they fight about
Attachment insecurity leads to conflict and or distance
In distressed relationships, some partners shut down and withdraw as a way to manage intense emotions
Couples must nurture fondness and respect for the other in order to thrive together
Couples need shared meaning in their lives to remain connected
About Emotionally Focused Therapy For Couples
EFT or Emotionally Focused Therapy for couples and relationship counseling is an an intervention based on scientific study of adult love and bonding processes in couples. It is designed to address distress in the intimate relationships of adults with a focus on improving emotional attachment. Couples seeking marriage or relationship therapy do so to improve their relationships and may find this method a beneficial approach, as it can help people better understand both their own emotional responses in the context of interpersonal interactions and those of significant people in their lives. Psychotherapists who provide emotionally focused couples therapy typically work with couples and families to help facilitate the creation of secure and lasting bonds between intimate partners and strengthen and reinforce existing bonds. Couples will experience an increase in security, closeness, and connection in intimate relationships.
It takes a lot of courage to reach out for help regarding sexuality, and many have been suffering for years. I help couples and individuals connect to their sexual selves. Sex is a healthy and natural for of human expression. Sometimes situations such as negative or painful childhood or adult experiences interfere with healthy sexuality. This creates shame and confusion as well as terror and avoidance. I provide sex positive therapy to help couples restore intimacy and pleasure. Together, we will work to help you discover the psychological, emotional and physical factors contributing to your sexual concerns and lack of fulfillment and how you can overcome them. We will create a plan, you will feel supported as you transform your intimate life together. In a safe and affirming environment our sessions will include talk therapy and somatic work as appropriate. We will not only explore the specific problem you present in therapy but you will find more ease when communicating about sensitive topics.
WHEN TO CONSIDER SEX THERAPY:
You crave more passion, exploration, novelty, mystery, surprise, desire
You feel inexperienced
Aging concerns and phase of life
Hormonal concerns (men and women), childbirth, menopause
Problems related to medication or a medical diagnosis
Sexual identity and gender concerns
You were raised in a religion or culture that was not sex positive
Painful sex that may include pelvic pain, vaginismus or vulvodynia
Premature or delayed ejaculation
Varying Libido (high or low) between partners
Sex and porn addiction
Your partner is a sex addict
You've been together a long time
Talking about sex from an education perspective is helpful, but only briefly. Successful sex therapy requires a deeper mind-body connection. As an EMDR Therapist and a clinician trained in other somatic therapies, I am skilled at helping clients integrate both thoughts and beliefs as well as a profound sense of body-awareness. Somatic therapy includes a technique called resourcing, which helps the client experience a deeper sense of embodiment as well as a fuller range of emotions. Resourcing is an important aspect of somatic therapy which involves helping you identify the places in your body where you feel safe, grounded and at ease in addition to where you may feel numb, tense and experience distress. Clients experience this integration of mind and body as extremely helpful and healing.
About Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW
Licensed Psychotherapist, Kimberly Seelbrede maintains a successful private practice working with Manhattan clients online and in-person, providing therapy, coaching and psychological consultations. In her role as a trauma-focused therapist, women’s emotional health + relationship expert and mind-body consultant, her strategies blend practical psychology, cutting-edge treatments and evidence-based therapies while honoring eastern mindfulness practices. Her practice is guided by her intuitive skills to create positive, sustainable change and transformation. With extensive, post-graduate training and an eclectic approach to therapy and healing, Kimberly provides psychoanalytic psychotherapy, EMDR therapy, specialized eating disorders, compulsions and addictions approaches, brainspotting, mindfulness, DBT, CBT, solution-focused therapy, focusing-oriented therapy, hypnosis, yoga therapy with the Urban Zen Foundation UZIT, and specialized couples therapy training utilizing Gottman and Emotionally Focused Therapy. Kimberly’s clinical expertise includes: anxiety, depression, relationships and couples therapy, sex therapy, women's hormone health and autoimmune disorder coaching, family therapy, addictions, recovery support, compulsions, trauma resolution, stress management and relaxation support, performance blocks, loss and grief, shame, crisis situations and life transitions. Kimberly conducts psychotherapy, coaching and psychological consultations in her office, or worldwide via phone, FaceTime, Skype or a HIPPA-compliant platform. Kimberly's interests include: lifestyle change and transitions, women’s emotional health and mentoring, motivation and change, mindfulness, meditation support, successful communication, professional burnout, self-care and managing chronic pain and illness.
Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW supervises graduate students of mental health and allied health professionals in the areas of case consultation and the successful integration of alternative therapies into their private practices. She enjoys helping professionals build their private practices. Her background in the performing arts has enabled her to develop a special niche and work successfully with VIP’s, talented, creative, high-profile and celebrity clients. Kimberly Seelbrede has worked with some of the world’s most well-known personalities from athletes, international pop stars, TV personalities, entrepreneurs, thought-leaders, C-suite executives and Fortune 500 CEOs. She provides therapy exclusively online to busy New Yorkers, and coaching to professionals in other cities in the US and worldwide.
Therapy + Healing Philosophy
As an integrative psychotherapist working in-person or online via teletherapy, I'm delighted to offer a unique approach to emotional health and healing. My goal is to blend contemporary psychological practices, intuitive guidance and the wisdom of the ancient healing arts. The heart and soul of my approach is to help clients develop insight, self-awareness, self-acceptance, authenticity, self integration, respect for one's body, embodiment, healthy boundaries and self-care practices.
PSYCHOTHERAPY, COACHING + CONSULTATION CONCERNS
Depression and mood disorders
Anxiety, OCD and compulsive disorders
Eating disorders, emotional eating and body image issues
Feeing “not enough,” “undeserving” or “unworthy”
Women’s issues, coaching and mentoring
Sexual and relationship issues for individuals and couples, sex therapy
Celebrity, high-profile, gifted and talented individuals
Grief, loss and bereavement
Adolescents problems (behavioral, emotional, familial, academic challenges)
Addictions / drug addiction / process addictions / substance abuse / behavioral disorders / alcoholism
Adult survivors of abuse and alcoholism
Childhood, developmental trauma resolution of traumatic events, complex PTSD
Self-sabotage and self-defeating behaviors, self-harm issues
Self-esteem issues, negative self-concept
Performance blocks using EMDR therapy
Surviving and managing relationships with borderline or narcissistic individuals / partners
Environmental stressors and crisis therapy
Phase of life issues, life transitions
Work, creativity and career issues
Life purpose, existential and spiritual growth
Online therapy via telephone, Skype or a HIPPA compliant service
Individual Adult Psychotherapy
Marriage / couples / relationship problems
Psychological consultations and behavioral health concerns
Coaching, executives, optimal + peak performance
Weekend intensive workshops for couples
Coordination of services with school, medical practitioners, legal counsel, etc
Addiction evaluations and assessments, process addictions, substance abuse and alcohol misuse
Consultation and evaluation for addictions and eating disorders, potential in-patient residential treatment
Parent and new parent education and coaching
Clinical supervision for obtaining licensure or creating an integrative psychotherapy practice
Private practice building business and consulting
Presentations and workshops
Mindfulness, meditation and stress management coaching and instruction
Recovery support for individuals including their families
Self-care support and wellness coaching
Referrals to medical and allied professionals in New York City and beyond
An Eclectic Therapy Approach
Psychodynamic / psychoanalytic psychotherapy / interpersonal psychotherapy
Couples counseling / Gottman / emotionally focused therapy
Mindfulness / meditation support
Brainspotting for attachment and trauma resolution
Short-term and goal-oriented therapy
Cognitive therapy for depression
ONLINE THERAPY FOR NEW YORK CITY, MANHATTAN, NEW YORK STATE + METROPOLITAN AREA
I offer online therapy, coaching and psychological consultations to high-functioning clients using video therapy on the internet. Online therapy allows you the comfort, convenience and flexibility of receiving high-quality therapy with an experienced therapist from your home, office or hotel through encrypted, secure video conferencing. Many find online therapy to be just as effective as psychotherapy sessions conducted in-person. Online therapy delivers services to clients who may be unable to seek face-to-face mental health services due to health or physical limitations, location, travel, work schedule, parenting and other circumstances. The hassle of losing time because of commuting, travel and scheduling problems can be reduced with video or phone sessions. Online therapy is not appropriate for everyone especially for those struggling with psychotic symptoms, severe depression, bipolar disorder, certain addictions or a medical or mental health diagnosis that requires hospitalization.
RELATIONSHIP COUNSELING, COUPLES THERAPY + SEX THERAPY IN-PERSON OR VIA ONLINE VIDEO COUNSELING
In my therapy practice with couples in New York City I’ve successfully helped couples heal and mend the wounds of emotional and physical infidelity. I enjoy working with partners who desire a healthier and more satisfying relationship and those who crave more passion, exploration, novelty, mystery, surprise and desire. I work with high-functioning couples who would like to enhance their relationship and reestablish intimacy and connection. I also work with individuals at various stages of relationships including: newly-formed relationships, couples seeking pre-marital counseling, new parents seeking support, those considering separation or divorce and the newly single and ready to date. I draw from attachment-based theory, helping couples understand their own attachment style as well as that of their partner. Clients can learn to communicate their needs and "hear" the needs of their partner, as well as develop a shared vision or goals, learn acceptance and compassion for self and the other, heal trust issues and infidelity and develop new relationship and communication skills. Clients are also guided to identify and de-escalate when they experience triggers, address sex and intimacy concerns and understand how the past and family of origin issues may be impacting the relationship in the present. I am a sex positive therapist which means that I am aware of and accepting of a range of consensual sexual expression and lifestyle practices. This may include various forms of kinks, fetishes, and polyamory without judgment.
ONLINE VIDEO/PHONE CONSULTATIONS, REFERRALS, SECOND OPINIONS, PSYCHOLOGICAL CONSULTATIONS
I provide psychological consultation sessions that are time-limited and problem or goal-focused. Some individuals and families consult with a mental health professional for educational purposes, a clinical assessment or diagnosis, a second opinion, help with a specific personal or life challenge, support for a difficult transition or crisis and to obtain resources to other collateral support such as psychiatrists or treatment facilities and rehabs for addictions and eating disorders. Clinical consultations allow a client, parent or family member to explore concerns, problem-solve with a professional and make decisions or changes in their lives that move them forward when they feel unsupported or "stuck." I am delighted to share my trusted resources to complementary, alternative and conventional medical referrals in New York City and beyond. Consultations are not psychotherapy and can be done long distance using an online service such as Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, Simple Practice or via telephone sessions. I provide professional supervision consultation for new therapists seeking licensing and those with existing practices who are interested in blending integrative therapies into their private practice or building a private practice.
COACHING AND THERAPY FOR WOMEN’S ISSUES
In therapy sessions, women commonly express feeling overwhelmed and depleted, or a common theme of feeling “less than” or “not enough.” Women have harsh inner dialogues, and an internalized voice that is often pervasive and unforgiving. Women are invalidated throughout development with many messages stemming from society and culture with a focus on outward appearance. Social media has created an even more toxic environment for women. Women frequently feel shamed for having needs and suppress even the most basic of needs. Rarely do women have time to pursue creative passions and endeavors that replenish them. Women are deserving of healthy and fulfilling relationships, including the primary relationship with yourself. You also deserve to embody your sexuality and enjoy passionate pursuits. Women-specific counseling and mentoring offers a safe space for you to talk about your real needs and all the places that cause you pain and suffering. Helping you connect to your “true self” does not have to feel threatening to other parts of your life. It can enhance other aspects such as parenting and your relationships. It can also give you the support and courage to release all the areas that no longer serve you. Intimacy and vulnerability can be accessed in ways that can be transformative for your life and can generalize to your friendships and romance. I provide online video counseling or online therapy via a HIPPA-compliant platform for women who would like to explore enhancing work/life balance as well as reclaiming “self” and sexuality. We can also meet in-person if that works better for you.
WOMEN’S MENTORING ONLINE SESSIONS
Relationship dissatisfaction, recovering from infidelity and betrayal, blocks to intimacy and trust, healing from break-ups or divorce, divorce transition, dating again
Feeling “not enough” or “unworthy of love”
Fear of abandonment in relationships, losing “self” in relationships and boundary problems
Repeating patterns such as finding “unavailable” partners, co-dependency
Body image issues and concerns, dissociation
Difficulties communicating needs and desires
Overcoming loss, unresolved grief
Owning shadow aspects of yourself
Repressed anger and rage
Role and identity, career concerns
PCOS, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, autoimmune disorders, thyroid disorders, nutrition deficits that impact mood, hormonal struggles, weight concerns
Post-menopause, perimenopause, post-pregnancy, hormone imbalance
Sexual problems, inability to orgasm, pain during sex, sex drive concerns, sexual compulsivity, sexual fear and aversion, shame related to sexuality, recovering from negative experiences, reclaiming sexuality after abuse, recovering from childhood sexual abuse, assault, violence, harassment, religious and cultural concerns, gender non-conforming, queer, transgender, LGBTQ+, kink, fetish, BDSM, sexual orientation, bisexuality, alternate lifestyle, poly lifestyle, open relationships
COACHING AND THERAPY FOR MEN’S ISSUES
Men face their share of stress and pressure in today’s society. The early messages for men and boys is to “shut down” and not express emotions, and when they do, their authentic feelings are often met with reactions that induce shame. This leads to the suppression of normal and healthy feelings and emotions, and a reliance on coping skills that can be detrimental to masculine development, such as externalizing (acting out) and eventually, serious health problems. Men frequently lack the healthy integration of important parts of the “self,” they minimize feelings and emotions, fearing that they may appear weak. Many men have pressure to provide for their family and be “successful” producers in society, this contributes to fear, paralysis, stress and overwhelm. They choose work that may be financially rewarding but less so on a personal level of satisfaction. Not all women understand the unique pressures that men face as a result of society and cultural conditioning, leading to disconnection and alienation of “self.” As men age, they also experience sexual concerns that impact intimacy and their relationships with their partners. Working with a therapist can help men who have been conditioned to “shut down” and begin to feel less shame and guilt about embodying their “true” selves and honoring needs that deserve to be expressed and met with acceptance and support.
PSYCHOTHERAPY FOR ADOLESCENTS + ADULTS
In order to determine if psychotherapy is right for you, a consultation in-person or online can help us explore how best to work together, either short-term or long-term. After your initial assessment, I will give you my opinion, and together, we can discuss your needs and create a treatment plan to move forward. We will also consider the duration of treatment and the approach or combination that will serve your goals. I have expertise in anxiety and mood disorders, women’s issues, addictions, compulsions, eating disorders, relationship problems, sexuality, identity concerns, self-defeating patterns and self-sabotage, lack of purpose, goal setting, spirituality, family of origin issues, trauma/PTSD, attachment deficits, self-esteem, transitions, loss, wellness coaching and an integrative therapy approach that addresses chronic pain and medical challenges.
Many studies show that the most effective treatment for many mental health disorders includes a comprehensive approach, such as CBT, supportive and psychodynamic psychotherapy combined with psychoactive medication. For some individuals, but not all, some combination of treatments is the safest approach. I work closely with trusted psychiatrists, psychiatric NP’s and psychopharmacologists, and can make appropriate referrals if you and I decide that you would benefit from this approach. If you are already in treatment I work closely with your providers to offer seamless mental health care. As a therapist who supports holistic treatments, I’m all for lifestyle changes, supplements, and a supportive diet. However, some individuals, because of their neurobiological makeup, cannot live a full and balanced life without the help of psychiatric medicine, in addition to supportive therapy approaches. I am happy to work collaboratively as a member of your treatment team.
PERSONAL TRANSFORMATION COACHING, PEAK PERFORMANCE + PROFESSIONAL HIGH-PROFILE CLIENT COACHING NYC + WORLDWIDE
Coaching is not therapy. Coaching clients are goal-oriented individuals who seek results in their lives. Hiring a transformation coach who is skilled to help uncover obstacles, as well as guide and support you in your journey is a powerful resource. Having help and guidance as you practice new behaviors can be incredibly supportive. Some individuals seek an expert "strategist" to guide efforts towards growth and change. Successful coaching unearths the stubborn and often unconscious dynamics that keep people anchored in their present reality, without addressing the underlying drive and dynamics, coaching fails. Partnering with a skilled life coach can be encouraging and empowering, and can help clients navigate change and the challenging aspects of their lives. Whether it’s taking control of one's health, losing weight, career issues, focusing on goal-attainment, repairing a relationship, getting "unstuck" or transitioning to a new chapter in life, coaching can provide the needed inspiration and support one desires. Working with a licensed trained psychotherapist can yield exceptional results. I regularly offer EMDR for blocks and peak-performance enhancement, mindfulness, meditation techniques, solution-focused strategies or cognitive and behavior techniques to my clients, combined with coaching strategies to help "stuck" clients move forward. I often use a model of depth-focused coaching to help clients dig a little deeper into the unconscious to facilitate the removal of blocks and patterns.
THERAPY FOR DEPRESSION
Clinical depression is a complicated condition that can be treated with supportive and interpersonal psychotherapy, medication and a collaborative approach to identify the biological and psychosocial factors that may have contributed to a patient's depressive symptoms. Some types of depression are: major depression, dysthymia, postpartum depression, premenstrual, seasonal affective disorder, atypical, situational and bipolar. Depression can be mild and show up with seasonal changes and it can be debilitating and interfere with activities of daily living, life skills, relationships, employment, hope and may also include the desire to end one’s life. Depression treatment is generally supportive in nature, and may require help with daily structure and coping skills and often requires working with other mental health professionals who are able to prescribe antidepressant treatment. Interpersonal psychotherapy, CBT and EMDR therapy can be effective treatments for depressed patients as can antidepressant use, light therapy, vitamin D, amino acids, supplements and other complementary therapies to discuss with your doctor.
THERAPY FOR ANXIETY
Anxiety symptoms bring many into therapy for the first time. They include: generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia, social anxiety, separation anxiety, phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Not all clients experience anxiety in the same way. For some, anxiety is a distress that presents in a specific situation such as performance, public speaking or test-taking. For others, anxiety may be experienced as chronic, and ranging from mild to debilitating, including uncomfortable physical symptoms. Anxiety sufferers are best helped by understanding emotional conflicts, environmental and genetic factors with treatment that may include talk therapy, CBT, stress reduction techniques, Somatic Experiencing (SE) and EMDR Therapy to target early trauma, memories and present-day distress.
THERAPY FOR LOSS + BEREAVEMENT, TRANSITIONS
Losing something or someone is difficult and complicated for many reasons. Loss can include a loved-one, pet, health, job, lifestyle, home, identity, status, and more. Loss, especially when significant to the individual, requires mourning and grieving that loss, experiencing the associated feelings, and eventually, moving forward. Psychotherapy can give the individual a safe place to grieve and feel the sadness. The healing process is different for everyone as is the length of time required to heal.
THERAPY FOR CRISIS MANAGEMENT
Crisis counseling and management is intended to be brief, It is not the same as ongoing psychotherapy. Providing support for individuals, couples or families using crisis intervention therapy is focused on minimizing the stress of the event, if possible, providing emotional support and enhancing immediate coping skills. Crisis counseling involves careful assessment of the situation, planning, strategizing, treatment and focusing on the client’s immediate situation, such as needs and safety. Clients who seek counseling for a personal or professional crisis may need a more robust form of support, including extra sessions and extended time until the situation is resolved or they are feeling more resilient and better able to cope without the help of a mental health professional, psychotherapist or psychologist.
THERAPY FOR ADDICTIONS + COMPULSIONS
I view addictive behaviors as symptoms of other underlying, unresolved issues and have developed a special interest in recovery support as well as having received specialized training in this area. Addictions such as substance abuse and process addictions are complex problems and can be successfully treated when other co-occurring difficulties are addressed, such as depression, panic disorder, ADD, Aspergers and personality disorders such as Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Many may have more than two conditions that contribute to maladaptive coping responses. Some common addictions include: alcohol, drugs, gambling, food, shopping, video games, the internet, sex, pornography and work. Successful treatment for addictive behaviors is an integrative approach that may include some combination of psychotherapy and behavior treatments. EMDR therapy using addiction protocols, psychodynamic psychotherapy and dialectical behavior therapy or DBT skills are also very effective forms of treatment.
THERAPY FOR TRAUMA TREATMENT AND PTSD
Early trauma and chronic, developmental and complex traumas that have impacted a patient's development and attachment relationships are the most difficult to heal. Psychotherapy can help validate the patient's experience, work through any feelings of shame and confusion that may have been internalized, process the traumatic experience or event and help them understand how their current life is impacted by traumatic experiences. Psychotherapy can help individuals identify triggers in daily experiences that creates symptoms and contributes to familiar self-defeating patterns and dynamics. While talk therapy can be a good place to begin for some trauma patients, EMDR, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy and Somatic Experiencing are excellent treatment options to provide symptomatic relief and truly heal from trauma.
LOSS + BEREAVEMENT THERAPY
Losing something or someone is difficult and complicated for many reasons. Loss can include a loved-one, pet, health, job, lifestyle, home, identity, status, and more. Loss, especially when significant to the individual, requires mourning and grieving that loss, experiencing the associated feelings, and eventually, moving forward. Psychotherapy can give the individual a safe place to grieve and feel the sadness. The healing process is different for everyone as is the length of time required to heal.
URBAN ZEN INTEGRATIVE THERAPY SESSIONS UZIT
My interest in mind-body techniques and complementary medicine has allowed me to journey to some amazing places including workshops and training opportunities with experts in the field of integrative and functional medicine. Using my training with the Urban Zen Foundation and my yoga therapy training (RYT 200 + 500 hours), I help clients address anxiety insomnia, stress, trauma and chronic illness using a combination of guided imagery, breathing techniques, body scans, meditation and mindfulness. I've studied both aromatherapy and Reiki. Using the brilliance of neuroplasticity, western psychological theory, and the power of cutting-edge nutrition, yoga therapy, chakra work and other somatic psychotherapies, I truly enjoy helping clients who are open to these techniques heal on many levels. Together we can decide what might work best for your particular needs. Some examples of integrative therapy include: mindfulness training, lifestyle recommendations (nutrition, meditation, exercise, yoga and sleep), boundary work, shadow work, creative play, journaling, somatic therapy and more.
Psychodynamic psychotherapy is an evidence-based and active therapy that has a long history and tradition used in both short and long-term treatment. Psychodynamic sessions include the process of increasing self-awareness, encouraging self-expression, understanding conflicts, developing insight into the behaviors of self and other, unearthing unconscious content that can interfere with functioning and understanding patterns and dynamics that may have origins in the past but are played out in the "here and now." This form of therapy uses the relationship between patient and therapist to heal. The interpersonal relationship tends to be the focus of sessions as an active example of other relationships in the patient's life, so that patterns and distress can be "worked through" and not repeated outside of treatment.
EMDR THERAPY, BRAINSPOTTING + SOMATIC EXPERIENCING TECHNIQUES
As an EMDRIA-approved, level I + II trained EMDR therapist, I have enjoyed great success with clients using EMDR therapy for a variety of chronic, longstanding difficulties as well as recent traumatic incidents. I enjoy using EMDR therapy because it works, and can be a stand-alone treatment or integrated into ongoing talk therapy sessions to speed the healing process. I provide trauma resolution for PTSD symptoms, and healing for attachment deficits, developmental traumas, medical trauma and chronic physical and emotional abuse. Additionally, EMDR is an effective therapy for anxiety, obsessions, phobias, compulsions, panic attacks, depression, self-esteem, eating disorders, addictions and more. For individuals with anxiety, emotion regulation problems and in addiction recovery, elements of EMDR therapy can help clients develop and strengthen self-soothing inner resources. A combination of EMDR and coaching is an effective treatment combination for sports and peak performance enhancement and creative and performance blocks and can be seamlessly integrated into coaching sessions with executives and high-profile, performance-oriented clients. Brainspotting, another technique developed by David Grand, PhD, combined with EMDR psychotherapy is a technique I use to address attachment issues, unresolved trauma, pre-verbal trauma and performance problems. EMDR is an evidence-based treatment that targets many symptoms and conditions including trauma, negative memories, phobias, fears, anxiety, addictions, compulsions and performance difficulties. Originally used to treat Veterans, EMDR therapy is now one of the most efficient and effective trauma/symptom treatment methods that allows clients to fully heal from their psychological wounds. EMDR can successfully be integrated into psychotherapy sessions. Many clients find EMDR to be more effective than other forms of therapy including CBT and traditional “talk therapy.” EMDR is especially helpful with performance and creative blocks.
COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY (CBT)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy focuses on examining and changing maladaptive thoughts and behaviors. CBT tends to be a short-term approach that is highly-effective for many with empirically-tested techniques supporting an increase in skills and a change in behaviors. CBT is an effective solution for a variety of concerns including anxiety, depression and addictions/substance abuse.
DIALECTICAL BEHAVIOR THERAPY (DBT)
DBT was originally developed for the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder. With time, DBT skills and techniques have been found to be helpful for individuals who struggle in many areas of life including substance abuse and addictions. DBT treatment combines ideas of awareness, acceptance and change from mindfulness with a range of psychological theories. Because DBT skills are practical and can be generalized into many areas of life, DBT can be successfully integrated into treatment plans and used in a variety of treatment settings. DBT uses mindfulness and other skills to help increase emotion regulation, distress tolerance and interpersonal effectiveness with the goal of helping patient's cope, de-escalate, and self-regulate.
Developed in the 1970s by psychologist Dr. Eugene Gendlin at the University of Chicago, Focusing-Oriented Therapy is non-directive as the therapist guides the client to connect to the "felt sense" which then allows the client to explore troubling emotions and feelings, helping them turn inward and find the answers needed to heal. Focusing can help clients access their own inner wisdom and strength by inviting the non-judgmental attention to body sensations, inner "knowing," thoughts, feelings and imagery which may come in the form of words or pre-verbal and non-verbal experiences. Experiences and traumas reside in the body and long for attention even when they have not been consciously thought or verbalized. Focusing-Oriented Therapy can support one's own natural healing while increasing insight and awareness, helping clients gain a broader perspective of current and historical circumstances that have created pain, suffering and blockages. This powerful technique can reduce anxiety and depression, resolve individual and collective traumas, heal feelings of loss and neglect, increase performance skills, improve emotional regulation, increase relaxation, support immune function, support clients with medical and pain issues, support decision-making and more. It is this locating of the felt sense and its shift that causes true psychological change, empowerment, the restoration of self and enhanced well-being. Focusing-oriented therapy can be conducted using online therapy and video sessions.
Mindfulness is the practice of moment-to-moment awareness of feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations as well as an awareness of the environment and one's surroundings. Mindfulness, as a philosophy, has more recently become a widely-used and helpful practice in the fields of psychology and psychotherapy. Additionally, mindfulness is an empirically-validated practice with data that supports its efficacy and application in a range of clinical and non-clinical settings. A mindfulness practice includes the observation of feelings, emotions and sensations, a non-judgmental presence and the awareness and acceptance of the present moment.
RECOVERY SUPPORT, AFTERCARE + CONSULTATIONS FOR FAMILY MEMBERS
Individuals just released from addiction or eating disorder inpatient treatment can benefit from supportive care following rehab stays. This may take the form of individual psychotherapy, EMDR trauma treatment, and when helpful, family therapy. Getting a loved-one into treatment and finding the right program requires help, support and resources. Additionally, family members experience strong emotions related to the experience of having a family member who is addicted and at-risk. Consulting with a mental health professional can help individuals and family members make better decisions Recovery support can help clients and family members with the following concerns:
Build on the useful tools learned during rehab as maintenance care
Maintaining motivation and staying focused on personal goals
Support for creating healthy and safe boundaries for self and others, identifying needs, communicating effectively, learning to ask for help, and self-empowerment
Repairing relationships and gaining support for maintaining the energy, passion and desire for healthy relationships
Help with engaging in activities and relationships that replace the desire to use drugs or engage in harmful behaviors
Creating a self-care practice that nourishes mind and body, maintaining support and positivity
Learn to identify cravings and triggers
Celebrate important gains, achievements and learn to make healthier choices
Support with structure, activities, exercise, nutrition, socializing and sleep hygiene
Help with learning to be present, tolerate discomfort and live in the present moment
WHAT HAPPENS IN THERAPY AND COUNSELING SESSIONS?
Even though you may have good friends and family members to talk with, a psychotherapist or psychologist with professional training is able to see things from a different lens and even challenge and support you in ways that the people in your life cannot. Therapy helps people gain relief from unpleasant feelings and thoughts, create more fulfilling and meaningful relationships, and gain more pleasure and control in their lives. Effective psychotherapy and counseling helps clients get to the root of their difficulties and learn ways to become more self-aware, cope with difficult emotions, improve mood, gain control, feel connected to others, develop the skills to handle future problems, and live more fulfilling and satisfying lives. Therapists can provide support, practical problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for many life challenges and issues. Many people also find that counselors or psychotherapists can help with career concerns, managing personal growth, professional relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, parenting challenges, developing healthier habits, connecting to the body, understanding thoughts, feelings and emotions, balancing the stress of daily life and goal-setting.
High-achieving, successful individuals often experience emptiness, unhappiness, disappointment, loneliness, stress, anxiety and interpersonal problems. These concerns can lead to less than desirable coping solutions such as addictions, alcohol and drug abuse, eating problems and sleep deficits.. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or help their clients discover helpful solutions. Many lasting benefits can be obtained from personal, couples or group therapy. You can learn more about therapy from the American Psychological Association or APA.
HOW DO I KNOW WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A THERAPIST?
When you choose a therapist, you should feel “heard” and “seen” as well as understood and certainly not judged for the concerns that led you to seek counseling. A “good fit” is often described to explain how you should feel about the psychotherapist, counselor or psychologist you choose to work with. You should feel comfortable sharing your thoughts and feelings with your potential therapist as the process requires an investment of time and emotional energy. Your therapist should have good interpersonal skills as well as empathy and compassion. You should choose a therapist who has training in the areas that you are seeking help with. Some therapists have received specialized training in areas such as trauma, addictions or eating disorders. If your problems are serious enough to impact the quality of your life and your ability to function, you may need to find a specialist or someone who specializes in your particular problem. Many therapists have received general psychotherapy training and consider themselves generalists and are able to treat a range of difficulties. Some psychotherapists have received specialized training in addition to graduate school which helps them specialize and be experts in that area of healing
PSYCHOTHERAPISTS, PSYCHOLOGISTS, PSYCHOANALYSTS AND PSYCHIATRISTS—WHATS THE DIFFERENCE?
A psychotherapist is a mental health professional who may have an MD, Master’s or Doctoral degree and may use “talk therapy” as well as “somatic-based therapies” to help people experience and understand their emotional life. Psychotherapists may be psychiatrists, psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, counselors and marriage and family therapists. They have varying years of foundation training, and some, not all go on to receive advanced, post-graduate training in specialized areas. Psychiatrists are MD’s and are able to prescribe medication but may not provide psychotherapy, some do. A psychologist has a doctoral degree as a foundation in psychology and may or may not have received additional expertise and training in a specialized healing modality. Some Psychologists work in research, others provide therapy. Psychoanalysts have been through an extensive training experience which includes their own psychoanalysis or psychological exploration. They help people develop awareness of unconscious aspects of the mind. Some training institutes are allowing individuals with any graduate degree (law, history, as examples) study psychoanalysis and become psychoanalysts. You may not know whether your therapist has had their own in-depth therapy, it’s a question that you can ask. In my opinion, good psychotherapists have had their own good therapy.
HOW LONG WILL I NEED TO BE IN THERAPY?
Your personal needs and goals are always a priority, and will shape the time you spend in sessions. Many individuals desire focused, structured and time-limited sessions with a clear plan, targeting specific problems or goals that can be met within a relatively short period of time. Other difficulties require a more intensive focus and may take longer to resolve. This is especially true when people have been struggling for a long time and patterns and habits are rigid and entrenched. Some will do best with once weekly sessions, while others benefit from meeting twice weekly, or more when in crisis. Consistent sessions allow clients to examine patterns and dynamics that may interfere with healthy functioning.
WHAT KIND OF THERAPY SHOULD I BE LOOKING FOR?
Increasing insight into problems and self-awareness is one goal of therapy, but unfortunately, that alone does not always lead to the desired change. For this reason, and with certain clients, it may be necessary to implement behavioral changes and track progress between sessions. Some clients need targeted, specific types of therapies that resolve symptoms related to trauma. The duration of treatment is highly variable and depends on many factors, including: the nature of the problem, client motivation and having realistic goals for change. Depending on client needs, one may benefit from a number of different therapeutic strategies and techniques. In your initial consultation, you should work with your therapist to figure out the best approach for you. Therapists may use or combine the following approaches: psychoanalysis, psychodynamic psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, relational therapy, interpersonal, humanistic, gestalt, attachment-focused therapy, trauma resolution techniques as well as evidence-based therapies such as EMDR therapy, Somatic Experiencing (SE), Dialectical Behavior Therapy or DBT, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT to name a few.
WHAT IS INTEGRATIVE PSYCHOTHERAPY AND HOW ARE PEOPLE HELPED BY THIS APPROACH?
EMDR therapy can increase the capacity to experience calm and comfort in the body, release trauma, uncover hidden blocking beliefs that may be sabotaging success and happiness or contributing to anxiety and depression, reduce the impact of negative experiences
Address dissociation, body image, eating disorders, compulsions, addictions, substance use or abuse and obsessions using cutting-edge therapies such as EMDR, focusing, somatic experiencing techniques and brainspotting, mindfulness meditation, biofeedback techniques, guided imagery, breathing techniques, restorative yoga therapy
Learn more adaptive coping skills and self-soothing techniques and develop nurturing self-care rituals
Process and heal painful feelings of loneliness, disappointment, sadness, loss, grief, guilt, shame, anger, envy and fear
Develop enhanced attention and awareness through relaxation techniques, mindfulness and radical acceptance
Resolve trauma and abuse symptoms, develop healthier boundaries and heal early attachment wounds
Unearth parts of yourself that are dissociated and explore areas of spirituality and your true nature
Connect with shadow aspects of the self for healthier integration as you learn to set healthy boundaries
Heal physical symptoms of disease and pain by connecting to sensations and trauma held in the body, habitual thoughts and unexpressed emotions
Learn breathing techniques to support the relaxation response
ARE MY THERAPY SESSIONS CONFIDENTIAL?
It is important to know that everything you say during psychotherapy sessions will be kept confidential. The only exceptions are when there is a danger that you may harm yourself or someone else, or in active cases of abuse. Mental health professionals are obligated by law to disclose that information to the appropriate authorities. These situations are rare. Most people find it a great relief to have a safe place where they are able to share what's on their mind with a non-judgmental, supportive and trained professional.
WHAT LIFE CHANGES CAN YOU EXPECT WITH EFFECTIVE THERAPY OR COACHING?
Reframe current life circumstances and gain a different perspective
Learn to manage difficult work and personal transitions and changes such as marriage, new baby, mid-life problems and aging
Gain the support needed to get through difficult times such as loss and change
Learn to feel and live a more authentic life, accept feelings of being “different”
Develop healthy self-esteem and resolve persistent negative “self-states”
Develop healthier coping skills, habits and boundaries
Have healthier personal and work relationships
Develop awareness of any repetitive patterns that interfere with success and happiness by understanding how past dynamics interfere with the present
Learn to better manage difficult people both personally and professionally
Develop a path of purpose and life fulfillment
Heal from past trauma and abuse and process traumatic memories and dissociation
Increase insight and self-awareness and identify innate strengths
Improve communication, learn conflict resolution, develop better listening and self-assertion skills
Address depression, sadness, feelings of despair and isolation
Learn helpful coping skills for stress, anxiety, phobias and panic attacks
Relieve stress and insomnia and learn relaxation responses
Manage destructive patterns that include drinking, eating, drugs, addictions and self-harm
Understand negative and habitual patterns of thinking and behaving
Resolve writing, creative and other performance blocks
Mourn losses such as separation, divorce, miscarriage, infertility or the death of a loved-one
Develop effective parenting skills
Address problems related to chronic pain, fibromyalgia, autoimmune disorders, medical procedures and diagnoses
Heal from sexual abuse, emotional/psychological abuse, domestic violence and natural disasters
Resolve sexual and identity concerns
Manage feelings of overwhelm, feel more embodied and develop an awareness connection between mind and body