Specializing in Anxiety, Depression, Psychoanalysis, Couples Therapy, Parenting, and Chronic Illness

 
Anxiety
Anxiety therapy can help you get on the other side of your anxiety and realize a life without constant fear and worry.

 

Are You Struggling To Manage Stress And Worry?

 

Do you often feel distracted, tense and scattered as you go about your day? Are you preoccupied by fears of what might go wrong at work, at school or in your relationships? Maybe you frequently feel uneasy and on-edge, as though something bad is about to happen and you won’t be able to handle it. Or, maybe you feel overwhelmed by an especially stressful situation, such as a high-pressure assignment or conflict in your relationship. It may be that you have to make a choice about how to proceed, but you find yourself stuck, unable to trust that you’ll make the right decision. Are you unable to enjoy the present moment because you’re always anticipating failure, disaster or rejection? Do you wish you could believe that you are capable, cared for and understood, just as you are?

If you are experiencing these anxiety symptoms, it may seem as though you are constantly making mistakes and getting in your own way. Perhaps you find yourself thinking you “should” be doing this or “should” be doing that, and you constantly feel as though you’re falling short. It might look like everyone else knows how to set and accomplish their goals without panic and fear. Or, perhaps you have achieved a great deal in life, but you feel undeserving of your success, like an imposter waiting to be found out. More and more, you may crave the ability to effectively communicate ideas, wants and needs, but doubt keeps getting in the way.

You Are Not Alone

 

Anxiety—especially social anxiety—can feel deeply isolating. Many folks who struggle with anxiety feel as though they missed a crucial lesson on how to be a successful, satisfied person, and feel like everyone else is criticizing or judging them. But, in truth, no one has all the answers, and most everyone struggles with worry, self-doubt and stress from time to time. It’s completely normal to wonder if you’re performing to the best of your ability or saying the right things at work or a party. Stress is a regular part of life.

However, for some, dealing with anxiety is more challenging. Fears can interfere with sleep, interrupt daily activities and hold you back from the life you want to live. Every day can start to feel like a struggle.

 

We all learn to cope with stress early in life, as we observe our very first caregivers. Children who grow up with anxious, self-critical parents often grow up to be anxious, self-critical adults, repeating the same patterns from childhood.

 

Thankfully, it is possible to learn healthier ways to navigate the world. By working with an experienced, skilled anxiety specialist, you can clarify what you truly want and move through life with greater confidence, resilience and ease.

 
Anxiety Treatment Can Help You Find Balance

 

Over the past 20 years, I’ve helped people find relief from anxiety in all its forms, from mild stress to panic disorders to phobias and OCD. No matter the anxiety symptoms you’re experiencing, I am here to listen to what is really going on for you. In my office, you can express your deepest thoughts and emotions and trust that you will feel heard and understood.

 

I take a psychodynamic approach to therapy, which means that I will help you not only address and resolve pressing symptoms and crises, but also develop a deeper understanding of how you feel and who you are. From a place of compassion and curiosity, we can explore your experience and discover a path forward. This type of self-reflective work offers the most profound opportunity for enduring personal growth and development. You can develop a sense of patience, fluidity and strength that can serve you now and throughout your future.

 

As appropriate, we may begin by developing and practicing cognitive behavioral tools, which are designed to shift your perspective on current challenges and reduce reactions to distress. Once you feel better equipped to manage stressors, we can start to explore the core conscious and unconscious beliefs and patterns fueling your symptoms of anxiety. For example, if you—like so many others—feel plagued by “should,” we can investigate where those expectations come from. You can start to distinguish between external pressures and personal ambitions, develop greater self-compassion and enjoy a new sense of empowerment in your choices and overall life.

 

With the right guidance and support, coping with anxiety is possible. Through therapy, you can foster a capacity to deal with day-to-day stressors without panic or self-judgment. You can feel more comfortable sharing your true feelings, and connect with others in more honest, meaningful ways. Most importantly, you can truly know and value yourself.

 
You may have questions or concerns about counseling for anxiety…

 

Anxiety therapy is too time consuming.

If you’re ready to make positive changes, investing time is a necessary first step. Think of anxiety treatment like exercise. In order to strengthen physical muscles, you must spend time exercising. If you want to become more resilient to handle life’s obstacles, you need to spend time investigating yourself.

 

I urge you to consider how much time you’re already spending feeling anxious, uncomfortable and miserable. What if you could focus that time and energy into activities and relationships that actually make you satisfied? If your schedule is tight, I will work with you to find a time that fits your needs. I’m happy to be flexible so that you can make therapy a part of your routine.

 

Anxiety treatment is too expensive.

Therapy is an investment in yourself and how you feel now and throughout your future. Although financial concerns are a reality, your wellbeing is priceless. Overcoming self-doubt, fear and panic is priceless. And, for the most part, treatment can be a short-term investment that offers dividends for the rest of your life.

 

What if even you don’t understand me?

In order for therapy to be effective, it’s vital that you work with someone who understands you, cares about what you’re going though and truly wants to help you find resolution and relief. During our first two sessions, I will strive to really get to know you so we can collaboratively create an ideal treatment plan. If you’ve been to therapy in the past, and you didn’t find it useful or effective, I will ask you about those experiences and try not to repeat them here. Overall, I seek to work with you on whatever you may need. I want you to feel better. I want you to feel like you’re not going through this alone.

 
Life Can Feel Easier

 

If you’re in the Bay Area, I invite you to call me at 415-388-2223 for a free phone consultation. We can discuss your specific situation and needs, and I’m happy to answer any questions you have about anxiety treatment and my psychotherapy practice.

 
Depression
Does It Seem That You Just Can’t Feel Happy?
 
Have you been struggling with a deep sense of emptiness and melancholy? Does it sometimes seem as though this sadness is bearable, but then something happens—for example, the end of a relationship or the loss of a job—and suddenly you’re spiraling into a dark place? It may be that you’ve felt down, numb or hopeless for a long time, but you’ve tried to push through, believing that you should be able to manage on your own. Despite your best efforts, you might find it increasingly difficult to engage in your career and relationships, make important decisions and find pleasure in anything, even activities you once loved. Do you feel directionless and unmotivated, as though you are helpless to stop opportunities and experiences from passing you by? Do you wish you could find a way to lift this heavy fog and start to truly enjoy life?

 

Depression symptoms can make you doubt that feeling better is even possible. You might watch other people enjoy themselves and wonder why you can’t be that hopeful and carefree. Maybe, in an attempt to feel better, you often make plans with friends, pick up new hobbies and set positive goals, only to feel too exhausted to follow through. As you repeat this pattern again and again, you might feel guilty, ashamed and frustrated, and wonder why you’re even trying. It’s possible that you’ve felt so low and defeated that you’ve thought about ending your life. Even though part of you worries that lasting joy is out of your reach, another small part of you may hope that you can pull yourself out of this darkness.

 

Understanding Depression Is The First Step Toward Finding Relief

 

Although it may sometimes seem as though you are the only one suffering this way, you are neither alone nor broken. A study conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health found that over 16 million American adults had at least one major depressive episode in 2015. That means that nearly seven percent of the adult population spent at least two weeks struggling with severe depression symptoms, including a loss of interest and pleasure in life.

 

Depressive episodes are sometimes situational. Following the loss of a loved one or another difficult life transition, it’s common to feel deeply sad and unable to function. However, it’s also extremely common to struggle with chronic depression—a pervasive, low-level sense of melancholy and dissatisfaction that follows you throughout your days, even when there’s no apparent cause. Even though you may not experience a major depressive episode, and even though it looks like you’re functioning on the outside, you can still feel as though you’re just going through the motions without any sense of agency or excitement.

 

Chronic depression can affect anyone, regardless of age, job title or relationship status. In some cases, a chronic illness or a difficult medical diagnosis can also trigger depression, especially following periods of stress.

 

But, even if your symptoms do not have a biological source, what you are going through is not all in your head. Your experience is real, and your feelings are valid. And, life doesn’t have to continue feeling so hard.

 

With the guidance and support of a therapist who specializes in psychotherapy for depression, you can get to the root of your symptoms, find new ways to engage in your life and discover what you need to thrive.

 

Depression Treatment Can Help You Find Energy And Purpose

 

Regardless of where your symptoms are coming from and how they’re manifesting, there is a way to find lasting relief. For over 20 years, I’ve helped people develop the self-awareness and self-compassion needed to enact positive, enduring change. No matter how impossible everything might feel right now, I truly believe that you can find freedom from your symptoms and start to live an empowered, satisfied life.

 

First, I will help you identify what’s preventing you from living with purpose. If you are going through a crisis—for example, if you have been diagnosed with cancer and are undergoing treatment—I will help you learn how to manage distress. Together, we can identify and challenge the negative feelings and beliefs surrounding your situation so you can develop a more positive, realistic outlook. While you can’t erase the challenges you’re facing, you can prevent them from robbing you of joy.

 

If you aren’t sure why you feel depressed, or if you’re questioning if this is depression at all, I can help you investigate what’s going on. Through really looking at your symptoms and understanding depression in an informed, deliberate way, you can gain the insight needed to make changes. You can recognize the difference between surviving and thriving and identify what is keeping you stalled in demoralizing patterns. Only when you know what’s at the root of your depression can you begin to overcome it.

 

I take a psychodynamic approach to therapy, which means that I can help you transform your life from the inside out. I know that therapy works, and I know the healing power of talking to someone who cares about how you’re feeling. I can help you address underlying issues in a gentle, powerful way so that you have the tools to take care of yourself and pursue your goals. You deserve to feel better. You deserve to create a meaningful life.

 

You may have questions or concerns about psychotherapy for depression…

 

Is this really depression, or is this just how life is?

 

It’s true that life can be hard and painful. But life has much more to offer than sadness and struggle. Depression therapy can help you develop fluidity so you can adapt to stress and cope with hardship.

 

It’s important to recognize that you are experiencing symptoms. Left untreated, those symptoms won’t just go away. Only by committing to a treatment plan and offering yourself the gift of time can you address those symptoms. Then, you can find deep, enduring relief.

 

Why can’t I just take medication for depression treatment?

 

While medication can be effective and can play a role in treating major depression, it also has its limits, not to mention unpleasant side effects. Psychotherapy is just as effective in reducing symptoms. And, unlike medication, psychotherapy can help you get to the root of your experience, so you can heal and grow.

 

Creating a trusting relationship with someone who cares about your overall wellbeing can be an essential piece of recognizing your value. You are worth more than a quick fix. You deserve to transform your life.

 

If I feel this terrible, there must be something wrong with me.

 

Struggling with depression doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you any more than a broken leg does. If you broke your leg, you would seek treatment. Seeking help for depression is no different.

 

I know how isolating depression can be. When you don’t believe that you matter, it can be difficult to reach out for help. That’s why it’s so important to learn about depression and start to understand exactly what you’re experiencing. As an expert guide, I can help you realize that you are not broken. I can help you feel seen, heard and whole.

 

You Don’t Have To Do It Alone

 

If you’re in the Bay Area, I invite you to call me at 415-388-2223 for a free phone consultation. We can discuss your specific situation and needs, and I’m happy to answer any questions you have about depression treatment and my psychotherapy practice.

 
Psychoanalysis
Who can benefit from psychoanalysis?

Psychoanalysis is an effective treatment for many people with moderate to severe difficulties and who have had unsuccessful attempts with briefer therapies. The person best able to undergo psychoanalysis is someone who, no matter how incapacitated at the time, is basically, or potentially, a sturdy individual. This person may have already achieved important satisfactions – with friends, in marriage, in work, or through special interests and hobbies – but is nonetheless significantly impaired by longstanding symptoms: depression or anxiety, sexual incapacities, or physical symptoms without any demonstrable underlying physical cause.

 

Many people come to analysis because of a pattern of repeated failures in work or in love. Others recognize self-destructive patterns of behavior they are unable to change. Others need analysis because the way they are – their character – substantially limits their choices and their pleasures. Some feel a painful but vague sense of unease and emptiness. And still others seek analysis definitively to resolve psychological problems that were only temporarily or partially resolved by other approaches. (American Psychoanalytic Association)

 

If you are curious if psychoanalysis may be right for you, I have included a videos below that may help you understand what modern psychoanalysis is.

 
Couples Counseling & Parenting
Couples Therapy in San Francisco and Marin
 

Couples seek couples therapy, also known as “couples counseling” or “marriage counseling” for various reasons, such as:
 

  • Communication difficulties

  • Parenting style conflicts

  • Difficulties with sex and intimacy

  • Infidelity and affairs

  • Emotional distance
     

Often times couples wait too long to get help. Relationships change over time and it isn’t unusual for couples to have disagreements and struggles. As a trained couples therapist my role is to work with both partners equally to help you reconnect, stop blaming patterns and understand each other’s needs.

 
 

Parenting

 

Parenting is the ultimate “learn-as-you-go-endeavor”. Few parents have more than a vague notion of how they’ll do it until they are doing it! But parenting style matters – not just because it affects the way children develop, but because it also affects your relationship with them. Both Motherhood and Fatherhood have their own unique joys and stressors.

 

My approach to helping parents is based on basic principles of childhood development as well as helping you understand your perspective of your own childhood experiences. Human development is a life long process of physical, behavioral, cognitive and emotional growth and change.

 

You need effective communication strategies as well as an understanding of your child’s developmental tasks at each stage of their development, from infancy to the teen and young adult years. The way your parents parented you and the way you want to parent may be similar or it may be different.

 

Parents today have new challenges and stressors and often find it difficult to know how to keep up with their busy lives, work and parenting their children. I often work with parents who need consultation about new challenges they face in the changing development of their child or in the family dynamics.

 
Chronic Illness Counseling
Are You Overwhelmed By The Many Challenges Of A Chronic Health Condition?

Are you or a loved one struggling to manage a chronic illness? Perhaps you’ve recently been diagnosed with a life threatening illness, and now you’re consumed with anxiety and fear. Or maybe you’ve been trying to navigate the overwhelming changes that come with a chronic disease for some time, and your level of stress has risen so much that you’re struggling to cope.

 

Chronic Illness Counseling Can Provide You With Strategies For Relief

 

With over 20 years of work as a medical social worker and psychotherapist with a specialty in psycho-oncology, I have helped thousands of individuals, couples and families develop the skills needed to cope with chronic conditions. In guided, supportive chronic illness counseling sessions, I can help you, too, navigate the complicated landscape of the medical world and come up with specific, effective strategies that you can use to manage the physical and emotional challenges of pain and illness.

 
You are not alone in what you may be feeling:

 

Does your life feel like it’s in upheaval as you try to manage fatigue, symptoms, chronic pain, treatment side effects and doctor appointments, not to mention your day-to-day life? It might be that you feel afraid of what will happen to you and worried about how your illness is impacting your family. You might not know how to talk with your children, other family members, friends and colleagues about your illness. Perhaps you’re in remission and terrified that you’ll get sick again. Do you wish you could gain some semblance of control over your life and feel capable and confident to manage the mental, emotional and physical challenges that come with a chronic health condition?

 

Living with a chronic illness can be a frightening, isolating and highly stressful experience. You might feel helpless, wondering if the pain, fatigue and confusion will ever end. Perhaps it seems that no one understands what you’re going through, and you feel increasingly alone. Or maybe you’re hiding how bad you feel from loved ones in an attempt to protect those around you. It might be that the coping skills that once served you are no longer working. You might be struggling with depression, anxiety or both, mourning the life you used to have and terrified about what comes next.

 

Chronic Illnesses Are Prevalent In Today’s World

If you’re struggling with a chronic disease, you are far from alone. Chronic diseases are widespread, with 133 million Americans—more than 40 percent of the total U.S. population—struggling with one or more chronic health conditions. Of those, 40 million are limited in their usual activities because of their illness(es).

While there are millions of individuals dealing with chronic pain and illness, barely anyone is talking about it. Many people don’t want to burden the people around them with their pain or illness, especially in cities like San Francisco, where there is extraordinary pressure to produce, achieve and excel. It’s common to experience an underlying fear about how people will perceive you if you share any weakness and/or stop functioning at an optimal level. The stress of a chronic illness can become overwhelming and extremely stressful, causing a person to feel increasingly anxious, isolated and depressed.

 

We also live in an environment in which there are more and more toxins in the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat, as well as stressors on our minds, bodies and spirits. Americans’ stress levels are rising, and even as we are increasingly making connections between stress and disease, more and more people continue to develop chronic illnesses. In the Bay Area particularly, incidents of breast cancer are on the rise. Yet, while research is being done every day, there is still so much we don’t know about cancer and other types of chronic diseases. The stress, confusion and uncertainty leads to increased feelings of shame, anger, anxiety, depression and isolation, with so many people unsure of who or where to turn for help.

 

The good news is that there is help and hope for relief. A highly experienced, compassionate and understanding therapist with a background in chronic illness can help you cultivate the skills, strategies, mindset and insight needed to cope with symptoms and navigate whatever challenges come your way.

 

Chronic illness therapy sessions are a safe place for you to share anything and everything that is coming up for you with someone who understands the medical field, as well as the mental and emotional health distress that comes with illness and change. I can break down the often complicated medical jargon in ways that are easy to understand and help you learn how to effectively advocate for yourself when working with a medical team. I can also help you develop the skills needed to communicate with your loved ones so you can authentically express how you feel and what you need. Chronic conditions can be traumatic for families, which is why we can also develop strategies you can use to talk about your illness with your children, partner, work colleagues and friends.

 

We all heal in different ways, which is why we’ll work collaboratively to devise a chronic disease management strategy that best addresses your medical history, values, needs and therapy goals. Depression and anxiety are extremely common when dealing with chronic disease, and we can engage in depression counseling or anxiety therapy as needed to help you identify, address and resolve distressing thoughts, feelings and body sensations. Together, we’ll figure out coping strategies that work for you, specifically tailored to help you navigate the new and changing territory that you are in.

 

I helped develop and served as the Clinical Director of one of the first integrative oncology programs in Marin County and have particular experience working with cancer patients. I have a unique insight into how to navigate the increasingly complex landscape of medicine and patient care, and have also worked with people who have or are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease, lymphoma, leukemia, Parkinson’s disease, MS, heart disease, ALS, diabetes and other chronic illnesses.

 

Although it’s so common to feel isolated, angry and scared when dealing with a chronic health condition, it’s important to remember that you are not alone. Through a safe, supportive, therapeutic relationship, it is possible to experience relief, let go of some anxiety and feel able to breathe and relax again. You can gain important knowledge about how to cope right now, which can be priceless, and create effective coping skills, practice self-care strategies and strengthen relationships, which can serve you over the long-term. With the help of an experienced and compassionate therapist, it is possible to effectively deal with the confusion, challenges and trauma that come with chronic disease and live with increased confidence, clarity and ease.

 

You still may have questions or concerns about chronic disease counseling…

 

My condition is physical, not mental or emotional. Why work with a therapist?

Your physical, mental and emotional health are not separate. They’re all interconnected and impact each other. When we’re physically in pain, we need to figure out how to deal with it mentally and emotionally. And, there is an abundance of research that shows that the cortisol levels triggered by stress significantly increase when dealing with a chronic condition, which impacts your ability to heal. What you’re going through is hard, and a trained chronic illness therapist can help you work through distressing emotions and develop effective skills that can help you manage and reduce stress.

I’ve always been a highly competent person and feel like I should be able to manage this on my own.

 

We all need help sometimes, and I see asking for help in a time of need as a sign of strength and intelligence, not weakness. It’s important to recognize that what you’re dealing with right now is not easy and having a safe place to talk through everything and problem-solve can take a lot of stress off of you and your family. It’s also important to remember that you won’t be in therapy forever, but what you learn and discover through the process can serve you throughout the rest of your life.

I need help, but I have no idea how to make time for therapy.

I understand how hard it can be to navigate so many appointments, but I also know that therapy is a vital part of chronic disease treatment. Although it may feel like one more thing, therapy might be one of the most important things you do. It’s critical that you take care of your mental and emotional wellbeing while going through physical healing, and therapy really can change the trajectory of your experience. If scheduling is a problem, we can work together to come up with a time that works for you.

 

You Can Navigate New Territory With Clarity, Confidence And Comfort

 

You don’t have to navigate the challenges that come with a chronic condition on your own. If you’re in the Bay Area, I invite you to call me at 415-388-2223 for a free phone consultation. We can discuss your specific situation and needs, and I’m happy to answer any questions you have about chronic illness counseling, cancer counseling and my psychotherapy practice.