Needham, MA 02492
I assist school-age children (5 years-old and up), adolescents and adults. My specialties are working with children, adolescents and families. Additionally, I teach a skills-based parenting course and provide parent coaching for families wanting support and/or specific assistance in addressing challenging behaviors. I see children and adults with a wide range of emotional difficulties such as depression and anxiety disorders. Common themes in my work with young people include relationships, self-esteem, independence, and familial issues. I also work with identity questions (including GLBT). I have succeeded in engaging adolescents who have resisted treatment or had past negative experiences.
Where appropriate, I collaborate closely with family members to build understanding, empathy and communication skills. Our communities greatly influence the quality of our lives, so when necessary and always with the consent of the client, I also consult with educators, clergy, coaches or other important individuals in a young person’s life.
I endeavor to work with all clients as a compassionate witness. My clients are the experts of their own experience — my role is to empathically listen and facilitate each individual’s or family’s desire to improve the quality of their lives. My therapeutic framework is rooted in psychodynamic concepts. In other words, my clients benefit from exploring relationships and past events to understand the here-and-now.
However, to these theories I incorporate other modalities, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), narrative therapy, and mindfulness concepts. CBT identifies how we make meaning of our lives, whether or not our current definitions fit our values and, if not, how to go about changing those definitions to our benefit. Narrative therapy “externalizes” problems and emphasizes exceptions to an individual’s problem persona or “story.” With this in mind, I might ask a client how “the blues” get in the way of enjoying time with friends or succeeding at school rather than, “Why are you feeling depressed?” I find this latter approach particularly useful for work with children and adolescents.
Raised in the Midwest, I obtained a B.A. in English from Truman State University (MO) in 1993, and my M.S.W. from Smith College School for Social Work in 2002. After obtaining my M.S.W, I worked in Northern California on the child and adolescent mental health team of Kaiser Permanente, then served as clinician for an outpatient recovery program for HIV+ mothers. For 5 years, I lived in London, England, where I developed a therapeutic program for adolescents in foster care. I believe my time abroad greatly enriched not only my clinical practice, but also my appreciation for the diversity of human experience. Overall, my work as a therapist is incredibly rewarding and, therefore, I bring energy and enthusiasm to it.
Group (parenting skills)
Read Rachel’s blog article on Back-to-School Stress