I very much appreciate the courage it takes to seek help. Living out this human experience is really difficult and painful at times. When friends, family, partners, and even your own usual methods aren't bringing you the relief you need, it's good to know there are people available to help.
There are so many choices in styles of counseling that may work for an individual. In an effort to give you an idea of what I bring to this work, here's a little about me and my approach to counseling.
I am originally from New York City and New Rochelle, NY. I have called Rochester, NY my home for the past 30 years. I earned my Bachelor's Degree in Social Work, and my Master's Degree in Counseling, both from the State University of New York, College at Brockport. I've worked in human services for 35+ years in various roles including Foster Care Social Worker, Counselor at residential treatment facilities for children, and, for the bulk of my career, as a School Counselor and Behavior Specialist in public schools here in Rochester. I began working part time as a private practice counselor in August of 2019. I now practice full-time.
I am also an artist. I write (prose, poetry, songs), I sing, I play guitar, I perform, and I make things. I make things like stained glass, furniture, murals, and other multi-media artwork. I have a very strong connection to animals and the natural world. I am also a laugher. You gotta laugh.
And in all I've described above, I love what I do.
About my approach to counseling:
I am trained/certified in a therapy modality known as Internal Family Systems (IFS). IFS is research-based, approved by the American Psychological Association, and was carefully developed for over 30 years by its founder, Dr. Richard Schwartz, Ph.D. IFS uses a healing and patient approach, with a strong emphasis on compassion.
As a Certified IFS Practitioner, I first guide clients in seeking to understand and have compassion for the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that have been causing them distress. In so doing we begin to see these thoughts, feelings, and behaviors emerge as individual sub-personalities (parts) of the client. These parts are doing the best they can, but often seem to be stuck in a rut they can't get out of.
My job is not to analyze, judge, or make any moral meaning about how these parts are showing up in the client's life - society usually does a good enough job of that. I'm here to facilitate relationship-building between the client and these parts. What we almost always discover is that these parts are doing what they do because they are trying to protect the client from experiencing painful emotions. When parts get this chance to tell their story, it has a powerful impact because, as it turns out, parts are exactly like people. They need to be seen, heard, understood and appreciated for their protective intentions before they are ready to begin to consider that healing is even possible! We find that once that happens, however, the healing is actually the easy bit! Here's why...
IFS (along with just about every form of spirituality or major religion) believes each one of us has within a source of pure compassion. Some people call it God, some people call it the soul, or Spirit, or Great Mystery, or the universe, some may see it more as a peaceful inner knowing. Whether it has spiritual or religious underpinnings or not, it is the place in each of us that houses our inner reservoir of love. Sometimes this place has been buried deep within by life experiences, but it is always there. This place in each of us is what IFS refers to as the Self. And it is there where the healing happens.
So when parts are heard and understood, and appreciated, they begin to experience the client's own Self energy, and they start to trust that the client has what is needed for things to get better. Note that I say the client, not the therapist! I'm more like a guide.
IFS is a co-navigated journey; like a kind of sacred mission. Using that analogy, you can think of me as the guide and the client's inner world as the landscape. I'm trained in how to travel - safely and at the appropriate pace. But the client is the only one in the room who knows their individual terrain. We set forth together to seek those parts who seem to be stuck. When we locate one we stop to listen to their story. Once they feel heard, seen, understood, and appreciated (often for the very first time), they are much more willing and able to let in the possibility for healing. This, when done right, opens up the needed space for the compassion and wisdom of the client's Self to heal these parts so they can be doing something more useful! After parts are connected with in this way, we decide together where to go next.
It's difficult to convey the essence of this model and how it works without sounding a little out there, I know. A certain amount of skepticism about trying something new is not only normal and healthy, it is totally welcomed and appreciated.
For any part of you that might be feeling curious (or skeptical), I encourage you to take a look at the resources I've included on my IFS page. The information on this page may help to reassure skeptical parts with research, testimonials, and links for further exploration. I also include a short video of myself, so you can "meet" me.
About my journey here:
I first learned about IFS as a client in therapy over 12 years ago. Once my therapist and I began to use the IFS model, I pretty quickly experienced a significant sense of relief and healing (which I am happy to tell you has remained). The best way I can describe what this was like is that I quickly noticed that I didn't react in the same old ways to situations that previously would trouble or trigger me. I felt (and continue to feel) more of a sense of balance inside; an ability to see things - both in me and in others - with more understanding. When I started to notice that shift, I had hope, and hope was something that had been missing for a long time.
In addition to working directly with clients, I also continue to be actively involved in the training of IFS therapists and practitioners, and serve as a Program Assistant at Level One IFS Trainings.
Again, if you'd like to learn more about IFS, please go to my IFS page which offers several resources including links to videos, articles, websites, etc. You can check that out here!
I am currently accepting adult clients (25 and over) who meet any ONE of these criteria:
Anyone with an open mind to IFS who has a curiosity or desire to explore this model in their counseling
Clinicians who are anywhere on the IFS learning spectrum from newly trained (or currently in training) to experienced practitioners
This could include either consultation in their own IFS work with clients, or seeking to deepen their own personal IFS work - or both
I also offer group consultation see my page on this for more information
People who are in close relationship with someone who is currently working with another IFS practitioner and are seeking to do their own individual work in the same way.
Thank you for this opportunity.