The distance between any two people can be defined by their understanding (or misunderstanding) of one another. My job as a relationship therapist is to help people close the distance created by a lack of understanding in their relationships, whether their relationship to each other is familial, romantic, friendly, neighborly, or otherwise. I believe the best way to do this is to teach people to communicate effectively, so they can then teach others how they want to be treated, supported, and loved. I see the therapy room as a practice space, where individuals, couples, family members, and friends can try out new ways of navigating their relationships, in hopes of increasing compassion and strengthening connection. As author and activist bell hooks has pointed out, “Schools for love do not exist. Everyone assumes that we will know how to love instinctively.” My hope is that the therapy room becomes a secure environment for learning to give and receive love, with the therapist acting as facilitator, mentor, teacher, and often student, learning about clients’ individual experiences, needs, and desires.
As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I’m trained to understand people within the context of their most important and impactful relationships, as well as the greater context of culture and society. My conceptualization of relationships is primarily informed by family systems theory, attachment theory, pragmatic/experiential therapy, and my experience teaching psychology courses on human development. I see the client/therapist relationship as collaborative, and I encourage everyone in the room to bring in their own unique expertise so we can use everyone’s skills and strengths to work as a team. In addition to working with folks in all types of relationships, I work with individuals who think my approach might help them better understand themselves and others. I am an affirming therapist who openly discusses with clients how our identity factors impact our relationships, both within and outside of the therapy room.