My work and training has focused on the following areas:
- Pregnancy and Post-Partum
- Loss and Grief
- Parenting Transitions
- Cancer Diagnosis and Adjustment
Pregnancy and Post-Partum: Pregnancy and post-partum periods can be incredibly difficult. They challenge people’s views of themselves, their careers, their relationships, and who
they want to be as a parent. And all on very little sleep. Most of my career has been spent working around pregnancy and early parenting transitions. I understand the very real impact of postpartum
mood disorders and have worked with many women and couples in a hospital birthing center and NICU. In the context of early parenting, it is helpful to keep an eye toward the practicalities of
sleeping, eating, and support, while counseling a woman or couple through the emotional and philosophical changes.
Couples/Relationships: Nearly all of the couples that I see tell me that they want to improve their communication. What the couple usually means is that they want
to avoid arguments and escalation and they want to feel connected. While I help couples develop skills for having difficult conversations, it can be even more helpful in the long run to cultivate
connection, to bridge the gaps in how people show one another care and affection and to have a strong understanding of oneself and self-caretaking. We also look closely at the dynamic between people
and each individual's responsibility in that dynamic.
Loss and Grief: Most of my experience with bereavement has been with miscarriage and infant loss experiences, but I have also supported people through the loss of
partners, friends, older children, and mentors. The most important aspect of supporting people through grief is really understanding where a person is in the wide range of possible loss reactions and
to meet them there. This can be an acknowledgement that the loss is just as great even if a person is able to clean out his spouse’s closet or understanding for a person who can barely get herself
out of bed after a pregnancy loss. Grief counseling is allowing people the space to find their own meaning.
Parenting Transitions: Though most of my work has focused on individuals and couples transitioning from being childless to becoming parents, that is only the first
of many parenting transitions that take place throughout the lifespan. Changes such as divorce, parental illness, and loss stress people’s coping and can leave them feeling exhausted and stuck. It is
easy to become overwhelmed with the layers of experience and to have trouble identifying the individual components. I enjoy working with people as they increase their understanding and skill in
navigating parenting changes.
Infertility: I think the best clinical understatement of infertility is "a non normative experience." What could be more difficult to understand than the inability
to have children without assistance? It is a desire that is built into many people’s biological self. I look at it as an issue that is equal parts existential and practical. People consider who they
thought they were and who they ultimately want to become while figuring out what to do with the backlog of baby shower invites. I create space and safety to look at the many ways this non normative
experience impacts a person’s relationship to themselves, their partners and the world and what decisions a person wants to make to establish their new normal.
Adoption: Experience in adoption can describe a wide range of roles. My work has been almost exclusively with adoptive parents and birthparents, mostly within a
context of open adoption. I believe strongly in the benefits of openness in adoption and appreciate being able to support people as they open their minds and hearts to building connections. That
said, open adoption has very challenging aspects. It can be exhausting to wrestle with the unique boundaries and coping required by these relationships. I enjoy supporting people as they grapple with
the best way to honor themselves and their families.
Cancer Diagnosis and Adjustment: By bringing a person into such close contact with their own mortality, Cancer can activate intense emotions: loss, fear, regret,
appreciation, jealousy, just to name a few. These can flood a person in the days after a diagnosis or only arise when remission comes and a person finally has the safety to process feelings. My work
with people acknowledges a certain amount of commonality between people who experience life threatening illnesses, while looking at the unique meaning an individual brings to the experience.