Approach

Over the years I’ve integrated several different therapy modalities into my work. As a relationship therapist (RMFT), Family Systems Theory and Internal Family Systems Theory became the foundation of my interests and training. In these formative years, I also studied NarrativePerson-Centred and Emotional Focussed therapies. I had the privilege to be in regular group supervision with John P. Millar for 14 years until his death in 2017. John was heavily influenced by Psychoanalytic Experiential Theory/Practice and as a result, I learned to hold relational space and psychodynamic/systemic processes in the therapeutic frame at the same time. 
 
Almost 20 years later, I was introduced to Intensive Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP). I must admit I have never been so excited by the effectiveness of a therapy framework as I am with ISTDP for true, deep lifetime change. This has energized me to study ISTDP and integrate it into my work. In February 2023, I complete a 3 year core training program with regular supervision with Drs. Allan Abbass and Joel Town. I am also attending regular trainings that delve deeper into topics I have a particular interest in – such as: Resistance to Emotional Closeness, Compliance/Defiance, and other barriers to being open, grounded and fully present in relationship.
 

This approach believes that persistent unmet needs and hurts experienced in our life cause wounds within us. These wounds result in us having painful hidden thoughts and feelings. Because we are generally programmed to avoid painful thoughts and feelings, our system develops all sorts of ways to try to avoid experiencing that pain and anxiety. ISTDP believes that the ways we try to avoid our painful thoughts and feelings cause the problems that we generally seek therapy for. 

The goal of ISTDP is to help us begin to notice our anxiety and pain and to help us identify what kinds of things we do to try and get away from it. It also helps us explore whether we can find another way to deal with that pain which is healthier than looking away from it.