Therapy for Adults
We treat adults with talk therapy focused on identifying patterns, building insight into the origin of those patterns, and making positive changes in relationships, thought patterns, mood, and behaviors. Depending on your treatment history and presenting goals, we may recommend psychodynamic therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, or an integrated approach. We see adults with a wide range of presenting concerns, including anxiety, depression, relationships/dating, career transitions, life transitions (marriage, childbirth), body image, chronic illness, trauma, and grief.
Therapy for Children & Families
Children communicate through action. Young children do not yet have the capacity to formulate their thoughts and feelings into sophisticated language, and older children and teenagers may have more of an internal understanding of their thoughts and feelings, but have trouble articulating them to family and friends. We treat children with a wide array of difficulties, including anxiety, depression, attention deficits, learning problems, and high-functioning autism. We also see children who have been affected by trauma or significant family stress (death, divorce, moving, etc.). We help young children access their feelings and introduce positive changes through play-based activities and relate to older children and teenagers with an interpersonal, talk-therapy approach. We can also integrate cognitive-behavioral skills and behavior modification as needed. We involve parents and siblings as often as possible, as a whole family's participation is crucial for instilling lasting changes in children's mood and behavior.
Whether you are new to therapy or entering a new chapter in a lifetime of self-growth, collaboratively we can identify the areas of self and relationships in which you wish to promote change. I draw from interpersonal and relational psychodynamic theories in my practice. This means that through collaborative discussion, we will identify patterns in your early, formative relationships that may be repeating as a particular attachment style in your current relationships with friends, family members, partners, and colleagues. These patterns are also likely to appear in therapy between you and I, as they represent your unique template for relating to others. Some of these patterns may be adaptive and bring joy and depth to your interactions with others, while other patterns may be causing both internal and interpersonal conflict for you. Insight and awareness of these patterns is the first step on the road toward relating in a new way to others and oneself. The active part of this work is in practicing new ways of relating both in session and in "the real world," and having your therapist be a source of accountability. This style of therapy can be adapted to many presenting concerns, including, but not limited to, adjustment to relationship and career transitions, difficulties relating with loved ones, anxiety, and depression.
Thoughts, feelings and emotions are intricately connected. The goal with the cognitive behavioral approach is to change irrational beliefs into more rational ones. In turn, this creates healthier behaviors and less emotional distress. Focusing on the harsh self talk we often impose upon ourselves, paying attention to "I should..." "I must..." "I need..." are good examples of how to soften some of the rigid, negative default language we develop in life. Dissecting an event, understanding our belief around that event and how we chose to interpret said event is an example to understand how CBT often works. To simplify, it is usually not the "thing" but instead our thoughts on the "thing" and in this approach it's important to focus on the ability to change the thoughts, feelings and emotions surrounding something that has been historically triggering. Overall, the goal is to create a more positive view of the self, identifying and eliminating the negative narrative that might be ingrained in a response to stimuli. In challenging a dysfunctional thought, the role of the therapist is to gently guide a patient to understanding that the thought is malleable, and not fixed. In this approach, the patient can hopefully understand that anytime they are feeling triggered, they have the ability to dismantle such a feeling and work on creating a healthier response to the stimuli. My goal would be to help develop a personal philosophy and approach to life that instills a sense of stoicism, in having the belief that as an individual there is hope to change maladaptive behaviors into positive ones. And this genesis provides a hopefulness that whatever life may present, one will have the tools to handle it through a more positive lens.
Contemplative psychotherapy is an organic and holistic approach to therapy with many behavioral aspects. This practice emphasizes that our mind is the creator of our happiness. It is very possible to create a more compassionate and loving life, through practices such as meditation, yoga and mantra based self talk. The roots of contemplative psychotherapy come from ancient approaches, from cultures that literally did not have a word for "low self esteem." Moving away from the self, stepping outside of your own mind and a lack of ego is key, all while practicing non attachment to the outcomes that we try to hold on to so dearly. Watching a thought or emotion just come and go is one example of that lack of attachment. Within this lens, you become what you do. If you learn how to have clean, healthy thoughts and speech that will lead to a positive life. Mindfulness becomes essential in any contemplative practice since creating a less reactive response is a tool that is highly utilized. That space between a stimulus and response becomes essential in choosing healthier, adaptive skills. Additionally, the shame that comes from suffering is dispelled. Suffering is inevitable for us all, it is the byproduct to having love in our lives. The key is to realize suffering is impermanent, there will always be a beginning, a middle and an end. To make peace that we all have harder times, and that the clouds will always part is a good metaphor to understand contemplative theories; the sun is truly always behind the stormy sky. The mind matters, and it has powerful effects, contemplative approaches highlight that when channeled correctly, peace and happiness are always within one's reach.
We are happy to speak with your team on a variety of psychological topics including general mental health, stress & anxiety, coping skills/self-care, or delve deeper into a topic more specific to your cohort (e.g., emerging adulthood, parenting, etc.). Please contact us to tailor something for your group.
“We had the honor of hosting Dr. Laura at a team homesite at Google to share her wisdom, experience and deep well-researched knowledge about mental health and the human brain. Dr. Laura’s presentation style is modest, highly engaging, inspiring, thought-provoking, interactive and accepting - there is no pretention and you just connect with her instantly. She is a fountain of knowledge and the non-judgmental, open-minded environment she creates is a foundation for psychological safety - we all shared something deep about ourselves, and the sharing and being listened to made us feel supported, connected and freed. We are infinitely grateful for Dr. Laura’s talk - she was with us for an hour but the areas she encouraged us to explore and curiosity her talk triggered will last for a long time.” ~Merve K. Hokamp, Google Sales Manager
“But part of getting to know yourself is to unknow yourself—to let go of the limiting stories you’ve told yourself about who you are so that you aren’t trapped by them, so you can live your life and not the story you’ve been telling yourself about your life.”
― Lori Gottlieb, "Maybe You Should Talk to Someone"