My Theoretical Perspectives, Training, & Interests

As a psychotherapist, my aim is to help guide you toward the co-creation of a more attuned, nurturing, reality-based, and skillful relationship with your nervous system and higher consciousness. I encourage daily practices like journaling, reading, guided meditation, movement, or other methods to help foster your connection with your inner Self. I recommend looking for daily ‘glimmers,’ gratitudes, and micro-moments of awe, joy, contentment, and ease. I celebrate creative expression in all forms. I promote deepening your direct relationship with nature and your body as a way to heal.

Feminist Theory and Person-Centered Psychotherapy

My therapy practice is deeply grounded in my own inner psychological growth and development work. As a feminist therapist, I center an examination of the broader societal & cultural systems of power and oppression (i.e., patriarchy, white supremacy, misogyny, capitalism) and how they impact our lives in very profound ways. 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 always explored and held within a greater macro and micro systems context.

Another guiding principle of my work is “self-as-instrument,” which arises from the “person-centered” or “Rogerian” model of psychotherapy. This was the ethos of my graduate training at Lesley University (2002-2004), which places 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 participated 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). The premise of PIT is that childhood trauma, including abuse and neglect, is the origin of developmental immaturity, or “codependency.” This treatment model provides an approach for “growing ourselves up” through psychoeducation, inner child connection, and focused re-parenting work.

As a PIT-trained therapist, I teach clients about the core issues of codependency using this model with a focus on “the nature of the precious child,” the profound impacts of childhood relational abuse/neglect, and how to develop a functional adult self in order to have healthier intimacy.

Sex/Love/Relationship Addiction

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 as a CSAT is on working with single womxn seeking to understand, interrupt, and break free from repetitive cycles of unfulfilling relationships. I particularly enjoy supporting neurodiverse womxn with complex histories of sexual abuse, intimate partner violence, exploitation, and relationship addiction in learning how to safely navigate the realm of intimacy.

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 August 2022, I have completed Attachment-Focused EMDR Basic Training (Levels 1, 2, & 3) through the Parnell Institute. I am grateful to have trained directly with Laurel Parnell.

Neurodiversity Studies

I have a specific interest in the late diagnosis of autism spectrum conditions and other neurodiversity in women and am pursuing additional clinical training on this topic.

Somatic Therapies and Creative Expressive Arts