How I work
I conceptualize and practice therapy from a developmental and ecosystemic framework, rather than unequivocally ascribing to a single theoretical orientation. I thoughtfully conceptualize clients' cases based on what fits best with how a careful assessment of history indicates that the problem or disorder developed for each particular client. I believe this approach helps challenge theoretical assumptions regarding etiologies, as well as potential biases.
Despite working from a relational stance, I do not automatically attribute disorders to unresolved issues from childhood (parents take a sigh of relief here!). I consider relational causes, as well as trauma, cognitive and biological factors, so as to not risk losing sensitivity to the parents and adults I collaborate with, or exclude important systemic factors from formulation or treatment such as, culture and environment.
Process Oriented Diagnosis
A process-oriented diagnosis and formulation is based on the notion that individuals develop according to environmental, relational, and individual constraints and experiences. I view pathology as a dynamic outcome that develops as a result of complex interactions across time, as opposed to something inherently “broken” inside an individual. By retrospectively analyzing the process of symptoms’ manifestation through time to their initial organization in early development, I identify what factors support a diagnosis. Hearing a complete narrative contributes to determining the time of onset for changes in behavior and informs the course of treatment. I do not believe that taking a person’s relational history into account and engaging in behavior analysis present a conflict to effective treatment.
Trauma is a term with many connotations that evoke strong feelings and reactions in thinking about one's life and difficulties. Trauma occurs on a spectrum, and how trauma manifests in a person's body and life differs according to number of personal and individual factors. It can be helpful to consider trauma as how the body stores and shapes a narrative of what it has experienced. All people are likely to experience some degree of trauma in their lives, I value understanding how that has or hasn't been incorporated into someone's story in order to gauge it's meaning and relevance to treatment in addition to presenting concerns.
The Brain, a Social Organ
The brain is a social organ that undergoes plastic biological development, translating conscious and relational experience into visceral-emotional and neurobiological affects, the manifestation of which we can be seen in how people’s various regulatory systems function inter- and intrapersonally, such as a client’s fight or flight response. The impact that social relationships have is emphasized in how both, you and I understand your story, behavior and means for intervention and therapeutic change.