If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. - Henry David Thoreau
I will meander here a bit so that you can get a direct sense of what it's like to work with me:
As a person, I'm deeply curious about life, about other people and about the existential things, like the universe and how we make meaning of existence. I am not a boring, dry or uninvolved therapist. I'm engaged, active and arguably passionate about the people I work with. I can be unexpectedly expressive-- talking with my hands and using an occasional well placed swear word to validate your feelings. We will laugh together; even sometimes when there's nothing in the emotional darkness to laugh about. I will never think your pain is funny, but there can be lightness found in the moment that you realize I was willing to meet you without judgement among the darkest emotions you feared wading into. I also sometimes find it's just important to abide by the old adage that laughter can be the best medicine (there's legitimate scientific research that supports this adage).
Many people have heard the stereotypes and expect therapists to be opaque, uninviting, silent (in the coldest of ways) and in a traditional Freudian sense, neutral. Luckily, the ideal of neutrality is unrealistic and wasn't exactly Freud's strong suit (he had his share of unethical undertakings). Because of the backlash against his failings, modern psychotherapy responded with a clearer understanding of different modalities and that optimally we co-create each therapeutic relationship in a synergistic, relational, "intersubjective" field where the therapist and client cannot extract themselves from the interchange that they each contribute to. I know this co-creative interchange to be true to therapy. I am a human having a unique experience with you and it is our mutual authentic humanness that will hopefully bring you healing. Ultimately Freud's greatest contribution to the field was his understanding that therapy is a "cure through love." Love not in the sense of romantic Eros, but in the sense of our deep interconnection with one another.
There is much research and debate about which therapeutic style or modality has the best outcomes. There are tomes of research on the subject, but one of the winning arguments across therapeutic domains is the one-on-one connection you have with your therapist. Striking a balance between this important relationship and technique is what I aim for. While I neither claim to have all the answers nor have I found the perfect modality for each individual, I am 100% committed to learning as much as I can about you, studying what I need to advance my knowledge about the issues you are confronting and bringing this to our work together. In addition to my commitment to evidenced-based therapy, I believe that the mutual discussion of and self-reflection into this co-creation can bring the most profound personal changes. I encourage authentic, earnest, and honest conversations; even the most trivial subject matter can suddenly reveal itself as a key into one's unconscious.
Using a casual, relatable and conversational approach, I have seen my clients transform their lives in the most vibrant (and at times very subtle) ways that bring significant satisfaction to them. In the absence of testimonials on this site, I can tell you that I've been called "gangsta" for my blunt forthrightness and "caring" for my consistent attention to empathy and compassion. I've been described as "a river carving the grand canyon" for effecting profound change in a longer-term client who was reluctant to change. Yet the ongoing ease at which the work proceeded made it seem like "no work at all." I do believe that therapy includes "work" and a "working through" of sorts, but I don't I believe it has to be trying, tedious or unreasonably painful (no doubt painful emotions will be stirred up). I've been told by a world renowned mentor of mine that I "live in Disneyland." Although that's not the most flattering feedback to publicly admit to on a website, it 100% rings true about me. Not in a literal sense, but in the sense that I can see your highest self, your best life, your serenity, and your joy in full color. Even on the days that you don't see it, I can hold course for whatever your version of joy is. I want to know your goals and do what we can to get you there. Maybe that's make-believe, but maybe it's ultimately what we are all striving for: our little, or big, slice of happiness.
Even though I can see your joy for you, and I will consistently urge you to move toward it, I cannot promise it to you. It will take your willingness and your motivation to get yourself there. I also know that sometimes we need to wade through a whole lot of unwanted emotion, pain, regret and misery to find our way through to the other side. Complex emotion and emotional intelligence is a deeply important part of human balance and human satisfaction. The key to finding joy can paradoxically be in revisiting painful emotion through feeling it, expressing it and confronting it. Despite my witness to, and belief in, the profound human ability to change and to thrive, I also know that humans change very slowly, at times revert to old destructive ways and many refuse to change. I wish I could be writing a miraculous, motivational personal statement. One that you might see splashed all over the pages of self-help gurus that says: Julie holds the golden key to all your immediate emotional freedom and serenity!! I can tell you confidently, after nearly two decades in mental health, that a lot of people are resistant to change. You just might be too. That's ok. I'm ok with that. I'm ok with the ambivalence that you might bring with you to my couch. I'm ok with your avoidance, your fear, your reluctance and even your terror while simultaneously knowing that your longing for change is driving you. If your motivation ends up being that you'd like to just sit on my couch and navel gaze, we'll figure that out as well. Although given my tendency to be a bit "life coachy" at times, I cannot guarantee that I will not fall into the role to you to get motivated.
You might be desperately longing for change, yet over and over find yourself gripped with fear and back into an addiction or destructive relational patterns. It's common to resist change, and it's even so common that it's "normal." I don't really like the word normal, by the way. I don't like the concept of "normal" because it's the gateway drug to perfectionism. All of my past successful clients will tell you that once I find out about your struggle with perfectionism, I do not stop talking about it. Can I go for a wild guess here and say that you might be a perfectionist if you've gotten this far into my website bio? It's some very detail oriented research you are doing and I honor you for really homing in on what you need! That said, perfectionism is toxic shame's evil twin and the fast road to life's most painful experiences-- everything from addiction to relational violence is sourced from negative shame. If you never come to see me in my office because you cannot make it past my lengthy personal statement, please take this one thing from me before you go: Heal and Free Yourself of Negative Shame. It Will Save Your Life.
At this point, I think we should move forward with talking on the phone and in person. I look forward to walking side-by-side with you on your journey of self-growth and self-exploration. If you resonated with this personal statement, wish to explore the wilds of your mind and bring your internal world to life, then you are ready for a therapeutic experience with me.