Here are some of the questions I am asked most often:
How do you help clients with anxiety?
How does your approach increase well-being?
Chronic stress, anxiety, and trauma symptoms can affect well-being at every level. Mentally, our capacity for clear thinking and decision making is inhibited. Emotionally, we can get dysregulated and stuck in catastrophic or disaster thinking, or become overwhelmed and withdrawn.
Physically, chronic stress and anxiety can lead to poor sleep, over- or under-eating, high blood sugar levels, and elevated blood pressure. A chronically activated sympathetic nervous system can cause or exacerbate digestive issues like irritable bowel syndrome, reflux/heartburn, and nausea.
The brain-focused techniques I work with combined with compassionate coaching support can move the nervous system out of fear and protection and orient it toward connection and safety to repattern even long-standing patterns of emotional reactivity and stress-related physical issues.
In addition, these techniques can help you align with your inner authority so that you can be guided not just by the voice in your head, but also by the voice of your heart. This is essential to shifting patterns of self-criticism and increasing self-compassion.
This practical, concrete approach to working with body, mind, and spirit can be a powerful tool for healing and nervous system integration and for helping you live with greater power, peace, and possibility.
The tools and skills can be incorporated into whatever other treatment approaches you already use.
How do you approach stress eating?
Many clients who come to me to work on stress eating are seeking strategies to manage their eating behaviors when they are stressed. The problem is, when we are stressed, our resources are at their lowest and we tend to revert to our habitual patterns, making it difficult – if not impossible – to change those patterns in the moment. A far more effective approach is a combination of skill-building and coaching that addresses the roots of the stress and provides techniques to manage the stress response and activate the parts of the nervous system that support digestion.
Are you a psychotherapist?
No. While I have a graduate degree in counseling psychology and my work is rooted in the neurobiology of change and self-compassion, I am not a psychotherapist. This work is a skills-based approach to regulating emotions, lowering stress and anxiety, transforming negative self-narratives, and supporting trauma recovery. It is not psychotherapy, although many clients find it to be a helpful adjunct to psychotherapy. In coaching, we don’t focus on how you got to where you are. Rather, we look at where you are right now, where you would most like to be, and then work together to create a sustainable plan to get from here to there. While skills and coaching support can help with anxiety, trauma symptoms, and some health conditions, it is not a substitute for appropriate medical or behavioral health care if it is indicated.
Do you work with people who have PTSD or severe anxiety?
I am not a psychotherapist. This work is a skills-based approach to regulating the nervous system. That said, I have worked with many people who have trauma histories and/or anxiety, with and without diagnoses of a particular disorder. Many have increased their ability to interrupt and rewire their nervous system responses. While this work can help with anxiety and trauma symptoms and some health conditions, it is not a substitute for appropriate medical or behavioral health care, although it can be a helpful adjunct to either.
How long does the process take?
For many people, patterns of anxiety, stress eating, and self-criticism have been running them for years, especially if they have a history of trauma. Deep and lasting change takes time. Like changing any habit, it takes patience and awareness and your journey will be as unique as you are. If your primary goal is learning to manage stress and anxiety response, most clients find that four sessions is generally enough to learn the basics. In that time you will learn concrete skills that you can implement into your life and begin to change your habitual patterns of emotional reactivity. Some clients need more support, want to address the areas of their lives that are causing or are affected by anxiety, or are interested in deeper, more transformative work. In those cases we often work together for 3 months to a year, with the frequency of sessions decreasing over time.
Do I have to see you in person?
While I would love to see everyone in person, that of course is not always possible. I work with clients virtually by Zoom.
Why do you work with heart-focused practices?
This is a great question – and a big one.
The first answer is biological. There is a constant conversation going on between your heart and your brain. When you are stressed, anxious, frustrated, or overwhelmed, your heart rhythm pattern becomes more disordered. This sends a signal that inhibits our ability to stay calm and think clearly. Engaging in techniques that help your heart rhythm pattern become more ordered, or coherent, sends signals to the brain that calm the stress response, facilitate your ability to think clearly, and harmonize all of the systems in the body. Over time, these techniques can help to change your baseline stress response and manage anxiety.
But that is only part of the story; heart-focused practices go far deeper than just managing our nervous system.
All of us have at our core a part that is good and whole. All of us. No matter where we have been, what we have been through, or how fatally flawed we feel. Heart-focused practices help us reconnect to that core and align with and act from our deeper truth. They help us let go of judgment and perfectionism and experience a more compassionate perspective of ourselves and others. They help us become more integrated, narrowing the gap between how we feel on the inside and how others see us on the outside. And most importantly, they allow us to quiet our critical inner dialogs and bring the voice of the heart into the conversation of our lives.
I have also found that when you engage the wisdom and power of the heart, transforming inaccurate self-narratives and habitual emotional responses happens faster and more easily than you might think!
Do you accept insurance?
I do not accept insurance. However, I do offer a discount when you pay for 4 or 8 sessions at once. A sliding scale is available if needed.