""Laughter is the sound of the soul dancing." I use humor in my work with clients for many reasons. Here are four: First session jitters. --- For people who have never been to therapy, it can be intimidating, so I may say something humorous (I hope) to break the ice; Elephant in the room. --- Sometimes clients are unable to verbalize what is really going on, so humor can break the tension; Arguing couples. --- We have all been there, but when the arguing gets out of line ...; and After a hard session. --- Feelings are bouncing off the walls, tears are being shed, stomachs are in knots, but I won't send you home feeling like this.
"The scariest moment is always just before you start.” The first session is ultimately one of the most important meetings, especially if the client has not had therapy before. For me it is all about engaging the client and alleviating their fears. It becomes a dance of listening to the client's issues, giving them feedback, while at the same time getting administrative and clinical questions answered. Also, giving clients hope could be the start of the client-therapist bond, which speaks to half the success of therapeutic outcomes.
Conrad/son: "You never even came to see me at the [psychiatric] hospital. You would have come if Buck were there!" Beth/Mother: "Buck wouldn't have been in a hospital!" To this day I remember watching "Ordinary People" in a movie theatre and thinking what a bitch, Mary Tyler Moore's, character, "Beth," was. Of course, I sided with the protagonist, "Conrad," played so beautifully by Timothy Hutton because my step-mother hated me as Beth hated Conrad (for not saving her elder son, "Buck," in a boating accident). In my house my step-mother loved her youngest son the most and as a result, was emotionally neglectful to me and my brother. Although the film was released in 1980, I never forgot it. I used it as an example of a dysfunctional family in graduate papers as well as my training and work with Family Systems Therapy.. To this day family systems informs my work with clients, and I am a passionate believer that most psychiatric illnesses can be traced right back to the family of origin. In fact, the film is still used today in graduate schools at many colleges and universities, as a profound example of a toxic family falling apart.
Divorce & separation
Abuse/Survivors of abuse
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Strength Based Therapy
Family Systems Therapy
Marriage and Family Therapy
Structural Family Therapy
Certified Level 1 Gottman Therapist
ITAC Certified Trauma Specialist
FL, LCSW, SW8558
Masters degree, Clinical Social Work, Tulane University
At the start of my career, I devoted myself to the emotional needs of young children exposed to violence and trauma. After 7 years of working with innocent children who had experienced horrific abuse and neglect, I was broken-hearted and burned out, but I had learned what trauma was about and what it does to our bodies and our brains. I had always wanted to work in Europe and was offered a wonderful opportunity working for the Army in Germany. I took my trauma experience to Germany and used it to help the soldiers. going and coming back from the Middle East. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was so prevalent amongst soldiers that I created a therapy group so the soldiers did not have to feel all alone with their symptoms. It was so hard for them because they worried that their diagnosis would affect their careers or would mean they couldn't go home for "R&R." because they weren't stable enough. PTSD in the army was a double-edged sword. When I returned stateside I took a position as a family therapist with the Air Force, who had pursued me while still working for the Army in Germany. That was a big mistake because my supervisor made my life miserable and I left after 8 months. I returned to Taos, NM and began working as a therapist in a mental health and substance abuse clinic, Tri-County Community Services, Inc. I worked there for 5 years while building a private practice on weekends. I was working 7 days every week, but I was happy with my clients and my independence. In 2015 I left Tri-County and opened up my own full time agency, Practice Taos Ltd., that was so successful, I decided to open a practice in Florida too, Mandala Behavioral Health. Big mistake because Florida was not for me. In 2019 I returned to Taos and opened my current telehealth private practice, where since the pandemic, I treat clients via Zoom.