“Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb, we are bound to others, past and present. And by each crime and every kindness we birth our future.”
David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas
I came to couples counseling after my own relationship went through a crisis. My husband and I weren't communicating any more and it seemed like we wanted different things from life.
Everything changed after I started to take a good look at myself. By studying Imago relationship therapy, I realized how many factors come into play when we choose a partner. I learned to take responsibility for how I contributed to our problems, and our relationship changed drastically. Today we are more connected than ever before.
My experience with couples therapy, as well as my spiritual practice as a Buddhist inform my view of human connectedness greatly.
The Spiritual Path
I have a deep interest in spirituality and how it can enhance our lives. Psychotherapy and spirituality have the same roots. In many ways, modern therapists are now doing the work of spiritual advisors in the past. I believe that behind all our struggles and anxieties there is an entity that is calm, strong and peaceful and knows what is right. Some people call this entity the Self. Others call it the Soul.
We therapists work to uncover these often hidden strengths of the Self. We look at all the protective layers we had to build in order to be safe and peel them back, layer by layer, to discover what is really at our core. We find out where our creative forces lie, and how to let go of the obstacles that hold us back.
I have studied Eastern Philosophy for more than ten years and have come to greatly appreciate how much the teachings can help in the therapeutic process. A core element of Mindfulness, which is based on Buddhist philosophy, is how important it is to flow with life’s experiences. Much of the pain we encounter is less about the losses we have to endure, but about the struggle against life. If we can learn from the lessons we have gone through, we can pursue the desires of the soul and relax easier into what life throws at us. That is what real happiness means.
The Self’s Purpose
My Philosophy is based on an effort to develop a sense of purpose and the self love that so often is missing, and which is at the heart of our unhappiness. External difficulties can be met with so much more grace and strength when our internal conflicts are resolved. As soon as we can learn to smile at our own fear and resentment, we can stand up confidently to whoever is in our way.
When I work with couples I operate from the premise that couples unconsciously seek each other out in order to heal from past experiences. The areas of conflict are usually those that need attention and healing from what was not provided earlier in life, and therefore need special care and attention to grow.
Training - Theoretical Orientation - Publications
My work has been informed mostly by psychoanalytic thought, Imago Relationship Therapy, Person Centered Psychotherapy, and Internal Family Systems Therapy. My main modes of practice are proven techniques such as psychodynamic therapy, cognitive behavioral interventions, mindfulness, and short to medium term psychoanalytic therapy.
I completed my training in psychodynamic psychotherapy at the Washington Square Institute and the Training and Research Institute in Self Psychology in New York, and have been practicing therapy as well as meditation since 2002. I am always continuing to learn and often take classes at the Center for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis of New Jersey (CPPNJ).
Before I became a mental health professional, I had a fulfilling career as a journalist and writer in Germany and the US. I still write my blog and have published two books, The Gentle Self and Buddha Betrayed.