In addition to the customary individual, couple, family, and group therapy, I offer the following niche services (click the links to jump to those sections):
↓ Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
↓ Recovery From Childhood Sexual Abuse
EMDR is a relatively simple but often powerful technique that unblocks the organism’s innate ability to heal itself on emotional, psychological, and sometimes even physical levels. One of the central tenets of EMDR is that we have the innate ability to maintain physical, psychological, and emotional wellbeing. However, just as an electrical circuit breaker can be “tripped” to protect the integrity of the system if the circuit gets overloaded, trauma and abuse can sometimes overwhelm the organism’s ability to correct and heal itself. As a result, our internal circuit breaker gets tripped—and can sometimes stay tripped—unless it is reset.
Through the use of bilateral stimulation, EMDR helps a client reset the internal circuit breaker. He is then able to move through and ultimately release past abuse and trauma that had heretofore been stuck and “unmetabolized” in the system. EMDR can help heal the obvious traumatic experiences such as assaults, abuse, or other life-threatening events, i.e., those events that often cause posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, EMDR, can also help us heal childhood wounds that we interpreted as “trauma” that damaged our sense of self and integrity likely caused by caregivers who, while often having good intentions, were busy, preoccupied, addicted, insensitive, or wounded themselves and unable to mirror us properly as children. Thus, we grow into adults who feel that we are “not good enough,” that we need to do more or accomplish more in order to earn love and respect, and that we are somehow “damaged goods.”
This therapeutic treatment was discovered accidentally by Francine Shapiro, a psychotherapist, shortly after receiving a dire health diagnosis from her doctor. After learning of her diagnosis, Shapiro took a walk through the woods and lifted her eyes towards the trees’ canopy. As she walked, her eyes darted back and forth, following the shifting light as it came through the leaves above her. After her walk, she noticed that her mood had elevated significantly and that she had a more upbeat, hopeful feeling about her medical prognosis. She somehow connected that her improved mood was due to her eye movement during the walk. Thus, she began experimenting with her clients. She instructed them to follow with their eyes her fingers as she moved them back in forth in front of their faces as they recalled upsetting or traumatic events. Her clients’ experiences were similar to hers in that they, too, began to have improved moods and also began to release old trauma and beliefs that no longer served them. Over the years she refined and systematized her approach and began teaching it to other therapists. She created the EMDR International Association, through which I received my training.
I have personally witnessed some major “shifts” and healing for clients with whom I have used EMDR. I have seen old wounds and beliefs that were seemingly deeply embedded in the client almost miraculously transform. During a single EMDR session I often can hear and see major growth and understanding occur for the client. EMDR is not always a quick fix or a panacea, but I am a firm believer in its efficacy and its efficiency. It can often move clients to a place of letting go, understanding, and healing that might otherwise take months or years of traditional “talk therapy.”
A child who has been sexually abused or molested often experiences psychological and emotional damage into adulthood. The extensive coverage of sexual abuse by coaches, clergy members, Boy Scout leaders, and other trusted adults over the last several years has made us keenly aware that boys, too, have been—and can be—sexually victimized. Sadly it is not uncommon for the survivors of the abuse to develop later in life some type of addiction or compulsive behavior, experience low self-esteem and self-worth, have difficulties in forming healthy intimate relationships, have difficulty in setting appropriate boundaries, become suspicious of and avoid same-sex friendships (if perpetrator was of the same sex), experience anxiety, question his/her sense of mastery and competency, to name a few of the lingering scars of the abuse.
I have worked with both women and men who have experienced childhood sexual trauma. In addition, I have offered a group for male survivors of childhood sexual abuse.