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Does Therapy Need a Makeover?

I’m on a mission to convey to people everywhere that working on your emotional life is a positive and useful endeavor that yields good results. I may have my work cut out for me. I have a deep concern that most people have negative associations with words like therapy or mental health. Essentially, I worry that people think they are healthy as long as they don’t “need” to go to therapy. Therapy is seen as evidence of illness, instead of a way to accomplish wellness. I love what I do. My day tends to be uplifting, fun, interesting, inspiring and motivating. The fabulous clients I work with do come for depression, anxiety, trauma, anger, and other issues. I listen, empathize, and validate feelings. The work, however, is focused on finding ways to make life feel better and more fulfilling. Through     . . . read more

I Do What I Say, And I Say What I Mean…As Much As Possible

In a memorable moment in graduate school, my professor said, “A good social worker needs to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.” I knew instantly that it was true. It is helpful and necessary in my job to say things, make suggestions, offer observations, provide encouragement, and form recommendations. However, it’s not enough. I believe that a really great therapist needs to be willing to do the very things he or she endorses. It’s a worthwhile endeavor that I’m trying for, and maybe sometimes achieving. While I certainly do not want to dominate therapy with talking about myself, I do want to at least acknowledge that I’m a human too. I have things I work on in life. I’m a fellow traveler in this journey through a complicated human existence. As much as possible, I’m trying to do     . . . read more

The Worthiness Crisis

Okay, so this topic is bigger than a blog post can contain, but it’s a start. I’m so worried about this problem, I need to start talking about it every place I can. The problem: many people, and most notably young people, feel that their worth is in question. They (or really “we”) feel that worth is tied to things like GPA, salary, position, social class, appearance, romantic success, productivity, cleanliness, organization, keeping up with milestones, how cool you look on Facebook…pretty much everything. It’s always at stake. “Am I good enough?” is the question plaguing so many wonderful, lovely people everywhere. The interesting thing for me is that many people who look like they are succeeding on many of these measures are the ones who feel the worst. I think it’s because when you are acutely aware of what     . . . read more

New Home for New Approaches

Big news: the move is complete and today was the first day operating out of the new office at 203 Anderson Street! The new space features more space, more light and views of the Back Cove in Portland. I’m loving the East Bayside location, just off of Marginal Way and 295. I’m neighbors with cool local businesses like Urban Farm Fermentory (your source for quality fermented foods), Zero Station (digital printing and framing), and Portland Power Yoga. Who wouldn’t love being around artists, culinary geniuses, and yogis? I’m also conveniently located off of Bayside Trail, the Back Bay Trail, and the Eastern Prom Trail. I hope you will consider New Approaches for individual and family therapy and maybe have a walk and support some local Portland businesses while in my new neighborhood!  

Making Breakthroughs in Therapy

I get excited when clients make breakthroughs. They are also really excited, and so we both feel terrific. This week, a client pointed out that not every session contains a breakthrough. “That’s true,” I admitted. It got me thinking about the importance of having a breakthrough- a sudden “click” or an “ah-ha” moment. Should I be trying to get people to have one at every session? As motivating and energizing as a sudden advancement in knowledge or awareness can be, a breakthrough is just one aspect of therapy. That is the answer that came to me in the place where I have most of my breakthroughs: the gym. Having come off yet another small winter illness, it felt like a feat just to show up. That was my breakthrough. Just showing up is the real work of any long-term commitment     . . . read more