After many years of hands on work in the mental health and substance abuse field I have concluded that a healthy and a productive life begins with embracing everyday with positive energy and motivation, even during difficult times in our lives.
During our work together, I will encourage your internal change by first understanding your identity via data from various clinical surveys. This new information will help us both develop insight and illuminate the root cause of your maladaptive behavior.
I will then teach and positively reinforce your lagging skills with evidence-based psycho-education and relational therapy to help you mentally integrate the new information and practice the new skills in the safety of the treatment environment.
Treatment can move into a coaching role, if you choose, as we collaborate to construct a stronger and healthier identity utilizing creative problem solving, life planning and seamlessly launching you into your life’s purpose.
Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, clients are renewed. Treatment form is varied based on client needs ~ traditional talk therapy, art therapy, walk and talk therapy, skill instruction. Change is hard work, however, it feels less heavy when you have a partner with you on your journey.
Families with Disabilities
The good news is that the divorce rate among families with disabilities has decreased in the past ten years, correlated with better diagnosis by clinicians and an increase in services. However, the same families are still within a 10% increase risk of divorce as compared with the rest of the population according to recent statistics.
Many of the same issues that challenge a typical family also effect the complex family with disabilities. There are, however, nuances about the family with disabilities that are uniquely theirs and require interventions by a clinician with therapeutic experience to stave off crisis and improve quality of life.
Like the climb to the top of the Himalayas, I am able to be your Sherpa, guiding your family to community resources, special education support, post K-12 life, as well as improve the dynamics among family members.
Teens & Young Adults
Critical to a successful launch of a young adult is a solid identity. Many students are leaving the K-12 education system without having taken enough time to not only know themselves, but also reconcile with their own reality of who they are versus what they wished they could be. This process can be lengthy and painful, especially if the young person has been pressured by family, friends or community to pursue employment that does not fit for the child. Learning about where their beliefs about success originate helps young people begin to fuel their own ideas and separate from outside influence leading to a more authentic life and inner peace.
The therapeutic work for many of my young clients is self awareness, emotional intelligence, social skills, emotion regulation and executive functioning skills. Support is offered to the teen or young adult client in varied forms ~ traditional talk therapy, art therapy, walk and talk therapy, and skills training ~ to accommodate the varied learning and temperament styles.
Parents are supported with communication interventions and techniques from Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS), a parenting program developed by Dr. Stuart Ablon Director of Think:Kids in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, to improve collective problem solving within the family unit.
Among the various types of couples I work with the one in which one member has ASD and the other is neurotypical seems to be a difficult
challenge. The film Adam did a great job at portraying the concerns this type of relationship creates, not only for the couple, but also for their family and friends.
Today we know more about ASD and how very functioning some are, to the point of hiding symptoms. However some symptoms eventually surface and require attention and collaboration and navigation. Every couple must decide how vested they are in their relationship, but for the couple where one is disabled that decision can be very difficult, heart breaking and even awe inspiring.
I work with the will of each member of the couple to illuminate differences, parts of themselves that are not up for debate, problems that may never be solved, as well as all that is in common to provide fodder for robust, heart felt and authentic conversations about being a couple. After over 25 years of marriage, I have learned a few life hacks that help a couple live together durably, which I can teach you as well.
Couples with Disabilities
As the quote from Virginia Satir suggests, family therapy is necessary to address family pain and heal a family’s wounds. We all begin life with some type of family. This could be a birth family, foster family, adoptive family.
From this group of people we learn how to relate with others. These patterns may be positive and connective or they may not help the ability to connect with others. The process of family therapy unravels old ways of communication by illuminating the cause and effect dynamic of words, behaviors and thought processes on the system of people within the family.
Like a row of tumbling dominoes, one person’s behavior in a family can have a chain reaction among other members. Shining a light on this dynamic can bring awareness to the inter-relatedness of each family member to the surface and provide the direction of treatment.
It is unfortunate to live in a dysfunctional family, however, it does not have to be a permanent situation if you choose to enter into a space of learning.
Together we can work to learn or create:
* new vocabulary
* new habits, customs and rituals
* new ways to view and observe the world around us
that promote healthy connections among the family members.
Individuals with Disabilities
As research on our adults with ASD begins to surface, we are learning what many families and clinicians who work with this population already knew. Many adults with ASD struggle post K-12 education when supports drop off. Parents hope that life will gets easier post K-12. If the work was done prior to graduation, it may. However, out of a controlled atmosphere some adults with ASD are not able to process the ambiguity and randomness of life.
For teens and young adults we work together to determine the obsessions which may be parlayed into employment and together develop a path toward self sufficiency. Parent’s of children with disabilities worry about what will happen when the child is an adult and the parents are no longer living. Is it possible for the adult with ASD to have a joyful, fulfilling and safe life?
Yes! Together we can create a plan of action and learn the skills needed to maintain that lifestyle. Parents are included at the beginning to enable the support needed while learning new ways of being. Slowly parents can taper off support as the teen/young adult begins to habitualize new behaviors.