Since the Covid-19 pandemic, I have moved to secure online sessions with individual, Couple, Family, and Group Psychotherapy, Educational Consultations and Small, Personalized Workshops/Support Sessions. I also offer phone sessions if this is your choice.
With over 30 years in a general psychotherapy practice and on staff with organizations in Marin County and San Francisco, I work with you, respectfully and collaboratively, based on your individual needs and goals. My area of expertise are trauma and PTSD; loss and grief; cult, high demand group, spiritual/religious abuse education and recovery (including those born and raised); motherless daughters (women who have lost their mothers through death, illness, narcissism, abandonment or estrangement in childhood, adolescence or adulthood); relationship issues; couple counseling; depression; anxiety, major transitions, mother-daughter and parent-adult child conflict, family conflict and family conflict resolution..
We all may have patterns and beliefs that may be self-limiting and obstruct us from pursuing healthy goals. All of our challenges in living make sense given our history. We can make changes although at times it may seem impossible. I've worked successfully with a diverse population and I'm an advocate of personal rights and healthy relationships with individual autonomy and connection.
Individual Therapy or Counseling
via Secure Internet Sessions or Phone
Studies have shown that the single most important predictor of successful outcomes in therapy is the right fit between the therapist and client, with warmth, accurate attunement, experience, and authenticity on the therapist's part. In this regard, I am trained to respect your process of healing and growth and to actively work with you from our first contact. You may need help with a single challenging or difficult transition; a "tune-up" for your relationship; a wound or loss from long ago or recently; a need to gain more trust in self. You may suffer from anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress. Stage of life issues and transitions presents one with growth, loss, learning new skills and new beginnings. I maintain a safe environment with an equal power dynamic so you can have better outcomes or corrective emotional experiences in therapy and in your life. We can work together short or longer-term.
Educational Consultation Individually and in Workshops, Online or Phone
Telecommunication or Telehealth is in demand especially since the pandemic although I have been using it for some clients, consultations, and workshops for years. Generally, telecommunication is a way to save money, time, and traffic stress. Depending on where you live and your desire to work with someone with a specific area of expertise, you can choose to have secure telecommunication sessions, individual or group, or a combination of both. As an educational consultant, I offer small, personalized, interactive educational workshops and individual sessions online .
Couple Therapy, Family Conflict Resolution, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Parent-Adult Child Relationships
With training in family systems, I collaboratively work to help each member identify and change dysfunctional patterns, gain relief from rigid roles, "hear" each other's feelings, needs, and thoughts. We focus on commonalities and differences to move forward with healthier interaction. This often includes learning and using effective communication skills, understanding and setting boundaries, active listening, knowing limits and engaging in successful problem-solving and negotiation skills. Agreements and new patterns can be developed that result in a better quality of life for individuals, relationships, and families.
We all have group experience beginning in our family of origin, in organizations, special interest groups, etc. I have experienced healthy and unhealthy aspects of groups and so have you, I imagine! People who are drawn to one of the groups I facilitate may have some initial anxiety, curiosity, hope, and excitement. While you may have benefited from individual therapy, group therapy offers the experience of learning from and helping others. In group therapy, participants gain acknowledgement, validation, and new insights. They recognize they are not alone in their responses.
I've witnessed the amazing power of groups in providing individuals with opportunities to heal and change, feel more comfortable and stronger within themselves, and learn more adaptive skills. We can find relief from old, outgrown roles and self-limiting, inaccurate beliefs. Groups and workshops can also offer us a microcosm of our lives outside and in a more protected environment give us opportunities to try out new, healthier behaviors with positive outcomes. Although we each have our individual process of healing and growth, groups are a way that we can travel on a journey together.
Women Older and Wiser (WOW) Group, Online (55+)
Since 2016 I have facilitated a supportive/exploratory group for motivated women that meets alternate Wednesdays, 12:00 - 1:30 PM Pacific Time. Women address and explore issues that are relevant in their lives including stages of life, losses, traumas, family of origin issues, relationships, roles & self-identity, aging, care-giving, health issues, challenges, and successes. Practical and in-depth mutual learning, receiving acknowledgement and validation, expressing different perspectives, gaining new coping skills are part of what women gain, including finding comfort with others who understand in this ever-changing, complicated world.
Motherless Daughters, Individual Sessions, Consultations, Groups, Online Group Since April, 2020
In 1997 I developed and began offering groups for motherless daughters, working with a population identified in Hope Edelman's best-selling books Motherless Daughters (1994, 2014) and Motherless Mothers (2007). I was a pioneer in developing and facilitating motherless daughters groups and I was honored to be on a panel at the first Motherless Daughters Conference in LA , 2014. I am also a motherless daughter. My mother died a tragic death when I was 15.
Women with whom I work have lost their mothers through death, illness, separation, shunning, or estrangement in childhood, adolescence, or adulthood. They often come into therapy describing a sense that an essential part of themselves is missing, that they feel an emptiness inside, a longing for a nurturing mom, and a desire to understand how to navigate through life as a motherless daughter and, for some, a motherless mother. A motherless daughter may have experienced recurrent and deep feelings of anxiety, depression, and isolation, without others who understand or know what to say about the profound loss. When a daughter is raised by a mother who is still living but who was never a "good enough" parent, she may share feelings common to motherless daughters who have lost their mothers through death, finding insufficient support from others who may be uncomfortable with hearing about the shadow sides of motherhood.
Consultations and Workshops/Support Sessions With Those Affected by Coercive Control in Cults, High Demand Groups and Relationships, Spiritually/Religiously Abusive Groups, Including Those Born and Raised in Them.
Beginning in 2003, I developed and facilitated an on-going group for former members of cults or high demand groups, including those born and raised, in Mill Valley, CA, the first of its kind that I know of. Since COVID we have moved to online workshops/support session for cult, high demand group and relationship survivors. The popular workshop is limited to no more than 10 participants and it takes place via secure Zoom alternate Saturdays, 10:00 AM to 12:00 Noon Pacific Time. It is specialized, small and interactive with topics participants want to address and explore. Resources on topics are sent the Friday prior to our workshop. SEE THE ONLINE WORKSHOPS/SUPPORT SESSIONS on the menu for further information. I am also a former member of two groups I identify as high demand -- one, a Christian/Mystical group I entered with my mother when I was 14 and left two years later. Another, an Eastern/New Age group I was recruited into when I was 19 and left seven years later. I understand the affects of high demand groups or cults from both professional and personal experience. I also have been primary therapist and on a team to develop a program for domestic abuse survivors (Center for Domestic Peace) and I have worked with survivors there for five years. Many commonalities exist with interpersonal violence or abuse, cult abuse, and narcissistic abuse.
Any family, group, organization, movement or relationship may have cultic characteristics to a greater or lesser degree. Arthur Deikman, MD, in his book Them and Us, Cult Thinking and the Terrorist Threat (2003) asserts that the most useful question to pose is not, "Is this group a cult?" but "How much cult behavior is taking place?" He lists four basic characteristics: 1)Compliance with the group; 2)Dependence on a leader; 3)Devaluing the outside; and 4)Prohibiting dissent. A cult or high demand group or relationship is one in which an unaccountable leader exploits and manipulates others primarily for his/her own gains -- money and control. In such systems, you're either "in" or "out", depending on your loyalty and how you play the game! In cultic or abusive relational systems, group think rules, and a member is vulnerable to shame, guilt, and fear strategies if he doesn't comply with the ideology. The vulnerable or dependent person in such a relationship can be dominated by a corrupt authority figure, losing her autonomy, healthy sense of self, personal rights and freedoms -- including the right to pursue individual goals. Cultic groups include those categorized as spiritual, religious, coaching, political, new age. Cultic relationships can include teacher/student, intimate partner, employer/employee, therapist/patient, parent/child, etc. A healthier group, movement, or relationship are those that are open to reevaluating its dynamic and structure, making changes for everyone's well-being, with transparency from the top down.
"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment."
--Ralph Waldo Emerson