Who I Am As a licensed clinical social worker, I work with women, men and couples. In 1984, I began practicing psychotherapy and in 1988, I co-founded Women's Psychotherapy Centre of Wisconsin. In 2018, after 30 years of working on the Capitol Square, my office moved to Madison's East Side.
In addition to my life as a therapist, I am also an artist. The art-making process has taught me about the power of creativity as a healing tool and as an agent of change. Creative outlets can be enormously helpful in a person's healing journey, and I explore these avenues with many of the people I work with.
Individual Therapy With over 35 years in practice, I have worked with a wide range of people from many different walks of life. I have extensive experience working with lesbian women and I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community and their relationships. As a therapist I seek to provide a safe, caring and open atmosphere for people to feel free to explore and celebrate all aspects of their lives.
Many people who come to therapy have endured troublesome or hurtful childhoods, or have been harmed or abused as an adult. No matter what stage of life these injuries occur, abuse, trauma, maltreatment, neglect and attachment wounds can cause long term effects. It can show up as depression, self-injury, dissociation, anxiety, eating problems, entrenched grief, difficulty knowing and experiencing emotions or inhabiting one's own body. This can lead to a fragile sense of self-worth, deep feelings of shame, a lost sense of safety in the world or difficulty making and keeping relationships. Discrimination and oppression can also contribute to a person's struggles in life.
As a feminist therapist, I explore the personal stories of the people I work with, tracking the way our brains and bodies hold our stories. Finding one's own voice and expressing it in an embodied, grounded way in a troubled and troubling world can be an important aim of feminist oriented therapy.
Trauma Trauma resolution is my specialty. Trauma results when an experience that is physically, sexually or emotionally distressing overwhelms our nervous system and it cannot "digest" what has happened. Our bodies and brains have built in processes that allow everyday traumas to resolve on their own. However, if the experience of trauma is not processed properly, it can result in "embedded trauma" which means "stored improperly", and is held out of conscious awareness. The person may not even be aware of this "embedded trauma" until something "triggers" their awareness. I choose the words "touch & awaken" (Thanks to Bonnie Badenoch for this more gentle term) to describe a trigger....because that perfectly describes what happens when we are "triggered".... a traumatic memory is actually being activated. In therapy, we make use of these kinds of "memory awakenings", as these trauma packets are then available to be processed, properly stored in our brain and ultimately healed.
I incorporate sand trays, art, EMDR and other creative avenues for the treatment of trauma. All of the resources I bring in as a therapist are gentle yet powerful processes that allows the body and brain to clear unresolved "embedded" trauma from the nervous system. Trusting that "the body keeps the score", we follow the implicit ways of knowing that our bodies and brains hold, being led towards what is needed to heal.
Learning to Feel Safe Unresolved trauma can cause a person to loose their ability to feel safe in their body or in relationships. Instead of a feeling of well being in the body when one feels safe, the behavior patterns of chaos or rigidity become the familiar ways of coping with life. These stubborn patterns can have roots in only one or many traumatic events over a lifetime. When these troubling experiences are "unprocessed", the trauma gets stored in the body. How this is experienced can be hyper-vigilance, intrusive thoughts, depression, addictions, psychological numbing, chronic pain or tension, anxiety and phobias. Trauma survivors are often alienated from their bodies, and need to learn how to tolerate feelings and body sensations in order to resolve the trauma that is stuck in the body and brain. This leads to not knowing what "safe" feels like. The goal of trauma resolution is to learn a deep, bodily knowing of what "safe and secure" feels like inside oneself. To bring that feeling of safety into one's relationships with other people is truly what healing trauma looks like. My goal as a therapist is to provide a warm and responsive presence that supports this very important work, and I view it as a sacred responsibility.
The body and brain connection are the key towards trauma resolution, as we reclaim the felt sense of safety. My clinical work is based on the study of Interpersonal Neurobiology. I have worked intensively with the gifted teacher, writer and therapist Bonnie Badenoch. I am also deeply informed by the work of Stephen Porges, Daniel Siegel and Ian McGilchrist. Utilizing ways of working and processing trauma that reflects their teachings of how our brains and bodies hold our experiences, we can tap into the amazing potential to heal that we all carry inside of us.
Couples Therapy Creating equality, respectful connection and shared power in relationships is my focus in couples therapy. Of greatest importance is the physical and emotional safety of both partners, which is fundamental to greater intimacy and satisfaction within the couple. In intimate relationships, couples become emotionally attached to their partners-- that's a GOOD thing! However, the problems that arise between couples are often related to having lost connection to one another. Couples therapy seeks to re-establish that connection and help partners find their way back home to each other. Creating a safe, secure bond in an environment of safety and trust is the heart and soul of relationship repair.
Women's Psychotherapy Centre of Wisconsin,LLC Madison, WI 608.255.4747
Women's Psychotherapy Centre of Wisconsin, LLC Madison, WI 608.255.4747