My Little Lambs...
With all my clients I help them understand their brains and how they are responding normally based on their own experiences. I hope clients understand that relationships are not about truth or reality, but instead, about perspective. Everyone's "reality" is different because no 2 people can ever have exactly the same experiences or perceptions. I help each person find ways to respond more effectively based on scientific research, but without overwhelming you with scientific jargon!
With couples, I follow guidelines set forth by Dr. John Gottman's evidence based model for treatment. As a certified Gottman Seven Principles Program Educator I teach couples Gottman's Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work and how to apply the principles effectively. The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work is the result of Dr. John Gottman's nearly 40 years of closely observing nearly 4000 marriages. Such lengthy research has never been done before. Based on his findings, he discovered the seven principles that are essential to the success of any marriage. Dr. Gottman has scientifically analyzed the habits of married couples and established a method of correcting the behaviors that puts thousands of marriages in turmoil. This program helps couples focus on each other, on paying attention to the small moments that, strung together, make up the heart and soul of any relationship.
A large portion of my concentration is on helping blended families blend more effectively. This includes areas of family and child-centered blending, co-parenting, divorce preparation, and divorce recovery. My goal is to help families discover and/or develop the most useful model for blending. Most couples do not fully understand the dynamics involved with a blended family; roles and boundaries are often unclear, loyalties to those that live outside the home can restrict the family from blending effectively, and blended families begin after the loss of another relationship which means many (if not all) the family members have experiences some sort of real or perceived trauma. I have experienced all of these myself as a member of 6 different "step-families" growing up. I have focused the largest portion of my research on family blending; what works and what does not work. Now, as a "step-mother" myself (I prefer to use the term bonus mom and bonus kids), my experience and my knowledge about blending families helps my clients move from step-families (a "step" away from normal) to blended-families (and bonus family members).
I believe in all my clients and I work to help them believe in themselves. This is especially important when working with children and adolescents! I absolutely adore working with children in an capacity. I am also thrilled to work with parents and help them see that parenting does not need to be as hard as we make it and that most of our children's struggles tend to be pretty minor...this knowledge can ease a lot of parental tension. I do, however, specialize in treating children who have experienced trauma. The type of therapy I use primarily is called Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). Again, this is an evidence based model for treatment. TF-CBT is a conjoint child and parent psychotherapy approach for children and adolescents who are experiencing significant emotional and behavioral difficulties related to traumatic life events. TF-CBT helps children effectively process their trauma, putting an end to the images and thoughts that keep the child reliving the trauma.
You can read more about TF-CBT here or here!
Parent training is another area I enjoy immensely. I train in the using a number of combined parenting methods, one of those being 1-2-3 Magic Parenting (By Dr. Thomas Phelan), an evidence based method of parenting that has been hugely successful over the last 30+ years. I am a trainer who also used this model, among others, for parenting of my own children. I am also certified to train other professionals on the western Slope of Colorado in the use of 1-2-3 Magic Parenting.
I offer Co-Parenting Through Divorce and Beyond classes, which are mandated by the State of Colorado for finalizing a divorce with children.
I also truly enjoy working with children and teens with behavior issues. I follow Dr. Alan Kazdin's evidence based guidelines for treatment of oppositional children/teens. Dr. Alan Kazdin heads the Yale Parenting Center. I do work with children but I do not work with children without the child's primary caretakers being a part of therapy. Environment is crucial to the survival of a cell...human's are walking bundles of cells, so environment is critical!
My philosophy regarding children is they ALL have great potential, some just have a harder time finding that potential and harnessing their unbridled intelligence. My goal is to help each child discover their potential and the best way to use it. Having been a teen with behavior issues myself, I am more able to clearly understand the struggle for these teens and the hope that lies within them.
Want to save some time in therapy? Watch these video's that explain the model of therapy I use with couples!