From early childhood, I sought more in life-more of what I really felt was good. I was able to be very successful in traditional ways, but I had much pain inside as well as a sense that we humans could do better for ourselves. Better on the big things, the deep things. I first tried creative and academic pursuits, art and philosophy primarily. In my mid twenties, I tried therapy for myself and became entranced by the possibilities that people might create or recreate ourselves and our lives from the inside out. After several years, I chose to use my creative and academic abilities to find ways to make life better, starting from what happens moment to moment and day to day within us, through an education and career in clinical social work--AKA therapy.
After all these years, I might still make an awkward start, depending on the day. It's a very strange situation, at least compared to so-called normal life--usually we are talking about stuff you don't tell many people, often stuff you haven't told a single soul--and I'm a complete stranger. I'll let you know some basics about how I work. One basic is that I encourage you to be as honest as you can, even if you think it might offend me. Part of your work is to be real about how the therapy feels, and part of mine is to be able to handle you having a variety of feelings about me, my work, our time together. Another basic is that we will start with the direction you are inclined to go in. Some people would like me to gather facts so I can quickly see their overall picture. Others would like to try out the experience of sharing about their feelings and difficult experiences. Some people want me to lead and suggest, others want to let things come out organically and want me to mostly listen. Usually I'll verbally reflect a lot of what I hear, to help both of us see it clearly and hold it between us. Near the end, I'll likely ask if you feel like sharing a few of the thoughts and feelings the session has brought up for you. And then I'll fit in a small picture of what I've seen and how I see us going forward.
This could fill a book. 1. I went to therapy. I wanted to give my clients what I wanted in therapy. Gentle honesty, understanding, non-judgment. Understanding of the depth of despair and terror that some people experience on a regular basis. Familiarity with how dirty and ugly relationships, feelings and thoughts can get. And then this led to an important learning: not everyone wants or needs those things. For example, I temper my assumption that everyone wants kindness with an awareness that some people do not want or need that. Instead they may need to be challenged and reminded to keep their focus on certain issues in order to reach their goals. 2. A fit between therapist and client is crucial. For me I needed someone who was down to earth, direct, open-hearted, and who had done a whole lot of work, personally and professionally, understanding subjective pain, fear and ambivalence/confusion, and how to transform these into fulfillment and vitality. With my clients, I think I also fit well with people who are frustrated with getting the same not-very-satisfying approaches over and over and who want someone who responds to them as the unique person they are, facing an intense mystery: how to make their life (outside and inside) what they want. 3. I spent a lot of time and money on therapy. I really wished someone could help me understand whether I was wasting my money, as well as the confusing situation of a close relationship that we pay for. Few could speak directly to these uncomfortable topics. At this point I am very comfortable with those sorts of fundamental questions and I feel I've developed wisdom so that, for example, I can help clients examine whether therapy is helping even though progress truly does include patterns like "two steps forward, one step back." 4. I have lived life in an intense and reflective way. I have spent much time asking "why?" and "what would happen if...?" I have challenged myself both to try the way others do things and to do things my own way. As a result, I can related to people with very different experiences, and see choices as less about something that is right for all people, all the time, and more about unique people finding their flow, finding what feels good and alive for them at a particular time.
Spirituality & religion based issues
Race & Cultural Identity
Young Adults (18-24)
Internal Family Systems Therapy
Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Level I, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute
Certificate in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis
IL, LCSW, 149013322
OR, LCSW, L10224
Master of Social Work (MSW), Clinical Social Work, Loyola University Chicago
Master of Fine Arts (MFA), Visual Arts, University of Chicago
Master of Arts (MA), Philosophy, University of Illinois at Chicago
My professional work helping other people make their lives happier began in a long-term shelter for adolescent and teen wards of the state. There I was working with teen girls and helping them cope with their challenges, outside and inside, including a lot of painful situations and many struggles with finding who they wanted to be and making that a reality. As I shifted to become a therapist, I worked with a variety of people and ages: a domestic violence counseling agency, counseling women and children (Hull House, Chicago IL, 2004); a general counseling center in a wealthy suburb of Chicago, seeing adults, couples and children (The Community House, HInsdale, IL2005); an innovative mental health agency providing office-based and school-based therapy for children and adults, regardless of ability to pay (JPA, Chicago, IL 2006-2017). In my later years at JPA, I became Clinical Supervisor and then Clinical Director, which included supervising all the therapists there and provided me a lot more insight on the different ways therapists work, and how different approaches can work. Finally, most recently, I have had a private practice, online, seeing a variety of clients.
Chicago, 60637, IL