My Theoretical Perspectives & Training

I have come to fully trust in the innate capacity of the human being to heal following painful life experiences. In therapy, I lend my expertise to help guide others back toward remembering their inherent worth and value and biological drive toward wellness, safety, and connection. I provide intuitive and skillful interventions designed to reconnect you with your own “inner wisdom,” through teaching you how to listen and interpret the language of your body. I use a wide range of tools, ranging from the scientific to the esoteric, including autonomic nervous system mapping, mindfulness, inner child healing, reparenting processes, AF-EMDR resource tapping, creative expressive arts, and focusing/body-sensing practices.

I see therapy as a way to help you create a more attuned, self-compassionate, skillful, and reality-based relationship with yourself. I encourage daily practices like journaling, reading, guided meditation, movement, or other methods to help foster your “body and brain” connection. I recommend looking for ‘glimmers,’ gratitudes, and micro-moments of awe, joy, safety, ease. I celebrate creative expression in all forms. I promote deepening your relationship with nature as a way to heal the self.

Feminist Theory and Person-Centered Psychotherapy

My therapy practice is deeply grounded in my own inner psychological growth and development work and acknowledgment of the profound impacts of patriarchy, white supremacy, and other forms of oppression in the collective consciousness. One of the tenements of feminist theory is that “the personal is political” (Carol Hanisch, 1970) and in that vein, I approach therapy as a space in which our experience as individuals is held within this greater systemic context.

Another guiding principle of my work is “self-as-instrument,” which arises from the “person-centered” or “Rogerian” model of psychotherapy. My graduate training at Lesley University (MA, Counseling Psychology, 2004) was founded on this approach. It puts a responsibility on the therapist to actively engage in their own psychotherapy, suggesting “you can only take your clients as far as you have been willing to go in your own healing process.”

This perspective is also rooted in the belief that people have the inherent capacity to develop self-understanding and make positive, growth-directed changes when they are in the right therapeutic environment. Rogerian therapists are clinically trained to establish the essential groundwork for successful therapy: empathy, unconditional positive regard and trust in the healing power possible within the therapeutic relationship itself.

Though I have gone on to study and practice a wide variety of other therapeutic approaches since I began this path, the person-centered philosophy remains a core foundation of my work.

Polyvagal Theory

Viewing human experience through the lens of the autonomic nervous system provides an immediate pathway toward an embodied understanding of our reactions as reflections of our nervous system state. By taking note of where we are on the “polyvagal ladder,” we can more successfully identify and employ the skills we need to support our nervous system in “climbing the ladder” back to the “safe and social” or “ventral vagal” state.

Deb Dana, LCSW
The Polyvagal Ladder

Clients can expect to learn basics about the polyvagal theory in our work together and will complete an autonomic personal profile map, a triggers and glimmers map, and a regulating resources map as part of the assessment and ongoing therapy process.

I completed a six-month training with Deb Dana, LCSW in January 2021, Foundations of Polyvagal Theory Rhythm of Regulation Level One and am also certified to provide the SSP (Safe & Sound Protocol), which is a sound therapy based on the polyvagal theory developed by Dr. Stephen Porges designed to restore the capacities of the ventral vagal/social engagement system.

I participate in an ongoing monthly clinical consultation group with Jan Winhall, LCSW, FOT, and author of Treating Trauma & Addiction with the Felt Sense Polyvagal Model.

Post-Induction Therapy

Post Induction Therapy is a trauma treatment model developed by Pia Mellody in her work at the Meadows Treatment Center (Wickenburg, AZ). This model posits that codependency is a form of “developmental immaturity” caused by child abuse and provides an approach for growing the “functional adult” part of the Self through psychoeducation, inner child awareness, and re-parenting work.

I teach clients about the core issues of codependency using Pia Mellody’s model in order to help them better understand the concepts of “the nature of the precious child,” the profound impacts of childhood relational abuse/neglect, and how to improve their own adult relationship with their inner child.

Sex & Love Addiction/Anorexia

As a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist through the International Institute of Trauma and Addiction Professionals, I completed over 120 hours of specialized education and 30 supervised clinical hours in order to meet the rigorous standards to qualify for this expertise.

The focus of my clinical practice is on working with single women seeking to understand, interrupt, and break free from repetitive cycles of unfulfilling relationships. I particularly enjoy supporting women who have been “afraid to be alone” in developing a deep and fulfilling relationship with the Self in their recovery.

I utilize the World Health Organization’s definition of sexual health in working with my clients, which states that sexual health is: “…a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. For sexual health to be attained and maintained, the sexual rights of all persons must be respected, protected and fulfilled.” (WHO, 2006a)

Attachment-Focused EMDR

As of March 2022, I have completed Level 1 & 2 basic Attachment-Focused EMDR training with Laurel Parnell of the Parnell Institute; Level 3 training will be held late August 2022.

Neurodiversity Studies

I have a specific interest in the differential diagnosis of complex post-traumatic stress and autism spectrum conditions in women and am pursuing additional clinical training in neurodiversity studies.

Somatic Therapies and Creative Expressive Arts