Since the human psyche is vast and deep, there is never a finish line in the training of a psychotherapist. I remain engaged in advanced post-graduate training, including extended programs with The Center for Modern Psychoanalytic Group Studies in New York City, and The Colorado Center for Modern Psychoanalytic Studies, among others. I also maintain relationships with professional mentors with whom I consult to keep my thinking challenged and to be nourished as a psychotherapist. As a member of the American Group Psychotherapy Association and a Certified Group Psychotherapist (CGP), I also frequently attend professional conferences on group psychotherapy. I continue to learn and grow in my own psychoanalytic therapy, which is one of the most important aspects of my training.
I was incredibly lucky to get to earn my Master’s degree from Naropa University’s three-year Counseling Psychology program in Boulder, Colorado. This degree gave me excellent combined training in Western clinical psychology, Buddhist Psychology, Modern Psychoanalytic Group Therapy, and meditation, including month-long required meditation retreats. I received my undergraduate degree from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York, where I studied literature and psychology. I also hold a law degree from the University of Georgia at Athens. A long-time student and sometimes teacher of the intersection of Buddhist psychology and Western psychotherapy, I formally practiced meditation and studied the psychology of meditation under the guidance of senior meditation teachers from 1998 to 2017. I founded and directed The Asheville Center for Contemplative Psychotherapy, and I am a Naropa-certified Meditation Instructor. My extensive training in meditation, Buddhist psychology and Relational and Modern psychonalysis has contributed a great deal to what abilities I have in openness, humor, and being at ease with the full range of feelings.
My approach to therapy draws on the Relational and Modern traditions of psychoanalysis. Psychoanalytic Therapy is a treatment for relieving mental and emotional distress. It’s based on an understanding of the unconscious, and how unconscious processes affect our minds as a whole, including our emotions, actions, thoughts and perceptions. It draws on experiences in our family of origin, among other things, as helpful for understanding the present. The goal of psychoanalytic treatment is to help people improve the quality of their lives and relationships.
Listening with a Purpose
The major function of the psychoanalytic therapist is to listen carefully and attentively to the patient in order to understand and facilitate communication. When a patient can get in touch with and express all of his or her feelings, good and bad, emotional healing can take place. Psychoanalytic therapy is often known as The Talking Cure because its simple method heals through the talking interaction between patient and therapist.
The modern psychoanalytic therapist does not usually give lectures or advice about how the patient ought to manage his or her life. Instead, the therapist actively participates to help the patient understand why he or she is unable to solve problems and internal conflicts that might be preventing the patient from knowing what to do in life. This process leads to greater understanding about oneself and others, and greater freedom to enjoy yourself, your relationships and your life.
Contemplative Psychotherapy / Buddhist Psychology
My psychoanalytic practice is informed by my background as a student and teacher of meditation, Buddhist Psychology and Contemplative Psychotherapy. Extensive training in these traditions has contributed a great deal to my clinical work. Contemplative Psychotherapy offers a finely detailed understanding of the mechanics of mental suffering and experiential training in present moment awareness, openness, and compassion.
The Neurobiology of Attachment
My work is informed by the current scientific research on the central role our early relational attachment experiences play in our mental and emotional well-being throughout life. Current research on the neurobiology of attachment syncs up well with Relational and Modern Psychoanalysis, as both emphasize the necessity of “good enough” attachment in the development of our ability to regulate emotions, have positive feelings about ourselves, and connect with others in a satisfying way. Thanks to neuroplasticity, healthy attachment can be achieved in adulthood even if it wasn’t “good enough” in early life. This is an important aspect of what is healed in psychoanalytic therapy.
Much of our trouble in life stems from formative experiences in our family of origin. I lead therapy groups because they are so effective at bringing out a variety of feelings within ourselves and towards others, with the result that those feelings can be explored, expressed and evolved into greater understanding of ourselves and others, and ultimately the ability to experience more satisfying relationships.
If you would like to learn more, or wish to set up an appointment, please contact me here.