I am certified in EMDR, a Consultant through EMDRIA, and an EMDR Trainer through Trauma Institute.
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. EMDR is one of the most researched effective methods for treating the symptoms related to overwhelming stress and trauma. Millions of people from all over the world have been successfully treated with EMDR and this treatment is ever growing in popularity and demand.
EMDR involves memory reprocessing as part of the approach to help clients heal from traumatic and overwhelming life experience. Utilized during memory reprocessing are typically eye movements, but sometimes other kinds of distraction methods such as tapping or sound. This distraction method, known as bilateral stimulation (BLS), has been proven to help clients get through memories and reorganize how they are felt and held in the body and brain.
EMDR is endorsed by The American Psychiatric Association, the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs/Dept. of Defense, The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and the World Health Organization among many other national and international organizations recognize EMDR therapy as an effective treatment.
EMDRIA.org has a short video that can be accessed through this link that further explains EMDR Therapy:
Level 1 certification through the Sensorimotor psychotherapy Institute
Sensorimotor psychotherapy is essentially body-based talk therapy. This therapy approach sees the body as having an innate source of intelligence as well as holding the recordings of experiences. Our nervous system and habitual patterns of movement and posture tell the story of our experience and conditioning. Trained clinicians use mindful tracking of the body, as well as trauma resolution methods to help clients process through stuck traumatic states.
Sensorimotor psychotherapy therapy benefits people who are struggling with anxiety, depression, anger management, PTSD, an inability to sustain meaningful relationships, and more. It enables them to self-regulate emotions and to become less reactive and more proactive in their relationships, work, and families. The ultimate goal of sensorimotor therapy is to transform traumatic memories into strengths and resources for the client.
As a trauma therapist who specializes in the integration of trauma resolution methods, I work with my clients to determine if sensorimotor approach and wisdom will help them with their specific needs. In most of the work I integrate sensorimotor psychotherapy knowledge to increase the effectiveness of EMDR therapy, IFS, and other approaches.
For more information, visit www.sensorimotorpsychotherapy.org.
INTERNAL FAMILY SYSTEMS
IFS Institute Level 1 (Level 2 certification expected Fall 2021)
Internal Family Systems (IFS) is an evidence-based model of psychotherapy that works with internal experience to help clients understand themselves, obtain greater awareness, and relieve trauma and stress.
This therapy model sees the individual as having an internal world made up of parts or self states, much like families are made up of family members and form an interactive structure (family system). Parts are simply ways each person has learned to survive and manage life stress.
The IFS therapy approach helps the client identify and understand themselves on a deeply compassionate level, (all parts are welcome). One goal in IFS is to identify and connect with Self defined by The Eight Cs: calm, curiosity, clarity, compassion, confidence, courage, connectedness, and creativity. Self is believed to be at the core of all of us and is where healing and growth happen.
As an IFS therapist who integrates other approaches I use the concept of Self as a guidepost. From identification of the Self I work with the client in close attunement to discover parts and understand their distress so that these parts can be unburdened and come into more of a present awareness. I use EMDR and Sensorimotor wisdom as well as theories of dissociation and the nervous system to guide my use of IFS safely.
Here is a video link by Richard Swartz, the author of IFS, talking about the model: https://youtu.be/DdZZ7sTX840
CREATIVE ARTS THERAPY
Masters degree in Creative Arts therapy and licsenced in Creative Arts Therapy in New York State
Art therapy as an approach to treating mental health issues, is more than just engaging in arts and crafts. Art therapists, who are master level clinicians trained specifically in the use of expressive media, use art materials strategically and sensitively to aid the process of work for healing.
Art therapy has long played a particularly useful role in the treatment of trauma and trauma related issues. The neuroscientist and trauma expert, Bruce Perry has noted, “Expressive arts has played a central and essential role historically in the processing of traumatic stress and loss.” (Perry, B., 2015). From the cave walls to the cathedrals to the inner-city murals, art seems to play a role in naturally processing difficult human experience. Some neuroscientists and other researchers have begun to understand more about how expressive arts work to help heal trauma.
Theories about art making and healing:
Helps the client mentalize themselves and others and therefore helps them build metacognitive capacities for healing and processing emotion.
Taps into limbic system areas of the brain – the seat of survival instincts and reflexes
Strongly relates to the right hemisphere – the part of the brain mediating attachment, (Dan Siegel, 1999, Allen Shore, 2003)
May help bridge explicit, (sensory) memory, and declarative, (explicit) memory, through narrative creation
May help bring together, thinking, feeling, and meaning making, helping with cognitive integration
These theories point to art therapy as an approach that may engage the brain in processing traumatic experiences more efficiently and more holistically than can be done alone verbally. Additionally, clinical studies have demonstrated solidly that art making can tap the body’s natural relaxation response. Relaxation leads to more open and productive engagement in therapy. Positive feelings associated with art making and repetitive reward driven creativity have been shown to decrease depression and anxiety, (Lambert, 2010).
Who might benefit most from an art therapy approach to treating trauma? For those with complex trauma, art therapy offers an alternative way to communicate feelings and experiences. For children with developmental or emotional disabilities, brain injury, or dementia, Art therapy offers an alternative where verbal therapy is naturally limited.
I specialize in the integration of expressive art therapy and trauma focused treatment. My practice integrates strategic art therapy as a way to help clients manage and contain trauma memories, related feelings, process through painful memories, and develop post traumatic growth through finding meaning and connection with others.
Some famous quotes about Art and the healing function of expression
“The arts…encode information, stories, and perspectives that allow us to appraise courses of action and the feelings and motives of others in a palatable, low-risk way.”
~Nobel Laureate, and Neuroscientist, Eric Kandel, (2012),
“Expression is the clarification of turbid emotion; our appetites know themselves when they are reflected in the mirror of art, and as they know themselves, they are transfigured.”
~Philosopher John Dewey, Harvard Lectures, (1934).
“Art therapy has long been identified as a useful modality working with complex trauma disorders. Art offers the opportunity for a communication that taps into information still held out of awareness.”
~Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, 2011 International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD)
“[Art therapy]…allows the internal to be expressed externally so that it can be verbalized at a distance through an alternative medium and from a different perspective. Experience and feeling is placed outside of the mind and into the world to facilitate explicit mentalizing…”.
~Anthony Bateman & Peter Fonagy, 2004
Trained in the Adult Attachment Interview and extensive training in Attachment and Dissociation. Trainer at the Trauma Institute and Child Trauma Institute in Attachment and Dissociation.
PLAY THERAPY & SAND TRAY THERAPY
Structured play therapy is a directive style of play therapy that guides the child through play to address traumatic memories so that they can be processed, and the child heal.
Play therapy is primarily used to help children ages 3 to 12, although it is sometimes used with adults. Therapeutic play takes place in a safe, comfortable room with open opportunities to explore, thus encouraging free expression and enabling the therapist to observe the client’s choices, decisions, and play style.
Children with social or emotional deficits benefit from play therapy and learn to communicate better, change their behavior, develop problem-solving skills, and relate to others more effectively. It is effective in helping children with academic and social problems, learning disabilities, behavioral disorders, anxiety, depression, grief, or anger as well as those with ADD or who are on the autism spectrum.
Play therapy is often integrated into EMDR therapy and other approaches as a powerful strategy for helping children heal from traumatic experience. Additionally, this therapy modality is ideal for helping children learn emotional regulation skills, develop insight, and create feelings of safety, that are needed before trauma healing can begin.
When I work with children initially, I partner with parents and caregivers to establish a thorough understanding of the challenges the child is facing, history of the symptoms and a detailed assessment. My focus is on understanding the root cause of the child’s symptoms, whether it is anxiety, behavioral in nature, or school based. In our playroom I work with the child, and sometimes with the child and caregiver, to develop an increased feeling of esteem, safe attachment, and skills and tools to express emotions and beliefs. The use of sand tray, puppetry, and pretend play is used as a part of the child’s natural language and process for developing these skills and working through hard issues and challenges. With strong caregiver involvement, I help families develop comprehensive approaches that they take home and utilize to enable the parent and/or caregiver to become healing agents in their child’s life.
Sand Tray Therapy
Sand Tray Therapy is an expressive approach for both children and adults to create distance in a safe and healthy way from their trauma experience. Sand tray therapy can be integrated with EMDR and Parts work, to help children and adults reprocess their trauma in a way that feels safer or seems developmentally appropriate. In addition to creating distance to the trauma memory, sand tray work can help clients develop insight, through the development of archetypal symbols that embody the meaning of their journey, (Jungian Psychotherapy)
I am certified in PC through the Trauma Institute and Child Trauma Institute
Progressive Counting (PC) is a specialized procedure for resolving trauma or loss. With PC, the client visualizes a series of progressively longer “movies’ of the traumatic memory while the therapist counts out loud. The “movie” of the trauma is meant to allow the client to get distance from the memory, understanding it as “a memory”, while at the same time thoroughly reviewing it and processing through any emotional blockages. PC therapy always ends with positive or neutral endings where the client can come to better understand the trauma is over and that they can move on.
PC is about as effective as EMDR and typically doesn’t take quite as long as EMDR. Both EMDR and PC are the best tolerated and most efficient of the proven-effective trauma healing methods. Both methods successfully treat troubling symptoms such as anxiety, depression, guilt, anger, and post-traumatic reactions. They also enhance confidence and self-esteem.
I may elect to use PC with my clients instead of EMDR due to the nature of a trauma memory, the ease of use for the client, (especially children), and the effectiveness of PC with “big T traumas”. I find that PC is often more effective and more efficient. With both tools at my disposal, EMDR and PC, I can help my clients work through their traumatic past more effectively.
PC was created by Dr. Ricky Greenwald, Executive Director of Trauma Institute and is researched by our team. Here is a link to learn more: https://www.childtrauma.com/treatment/pc
My approach to working through packed away trauma and stress is the Intensive Therapy approach. In Intensive Therapy we work together several hours, or days at a time to address all the difficult to work through issues without worrying about reaching the end of the session. This saves time in the long run for most clients as we are not spending as much time maintaining symptoms and more time getting to the root of the problem and healing.
Tele-therapy in New York:
I offer my services remotely through video conferencing, also referred to as telemedicine, teletherapy or telehealth.