Do you ever feel as if you are not fully living? That there is more to life than simply grinding through it? Trained in family systems and solution-focused brief psychotherapy, I work in a collaborative way with clients to explore issues related to relationships, parenting, marital or family conflict, separation and divorce, substance abuse, loneliness, estrangement, anxiety, depression, and other challenges of daily living.
My journey to becoming a therapist took many detours. I started my professional career as a high school teacher. From this experience I learned a lot about children and adolescents and how to connect and interact with them. Immigrating with my husband and three small children to the US from our home country of South Africa in the mid 1980s taught me about how difficult it is to move, to be uprooted from all that is dear and familiar; how much we depend on our extended family for connection and support, and how hard it is to be without a network or resources. For a number of years I worked as an editor and writer, where I honed the skill of communicating clearly and effectively; but it was the five years I spent as a volunteer services coordinator for a local hospice that most guided me toward becoming a therapist. There I had the great privilege of working with heroes every day. I saw firsthand ordinary people do extraordinary things in the noble service of caring for the dying and their family members, and I decided to go back to school. After graduating from George Mason University with an M.ED in counseling and becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor, I have worked in a variety of mental health settings, including outpatient and non-profit agencies and private practice.
I specialize in working on relationships from a family systems perspective. Family systems theory was intially pioneered by Dr. Murray Bowen who worked for many years in our area at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda and at Georgetown University in Washington DC. He believed that, because family members are interconnected and interdependent, we adopt certain behaviors and ways of operating based on our particular place in the family in which we originally were raised. Since every family is a system and has its own "rules" and ways of doing things, exploring our own functioning and patterns of behavior within the larger context of our particular family system can be extraordinarily helpful in understanding our present difficulties. It also opens up new and more effective options for solving problems and for changing our ingrained automatic reactions to more considered, appropriate and effective responses.
Often the hardest thing to do when one is struggling is to take the first step...to reach out for help. I extend an invitation to you to call and set up an appointment. I believe in a practical, pragmatic approach to therapy, based on your strengths and with a short-term, collaborative, solution-focused approach. My goal is to help you to not just survive the difficult times but also to thrive and live a more satisfying, happier, richer life. I look forward to being a part of your journey toward increased happiness and wellbeing.
"In the midst of winter I found within me an invincible Spring." ---Albert Camus