Families are not all the same — but families that suffer from multiple losses, intractable conflict, and deep failures to communicate experience a level of pain that can seem intolerable.
In my work with families here in Berkeley and beyond, I use my empathy, knowledge, and intuition to help families communicate with each other in ways that advance their capacity for closeness and at the same time support the growth and autonomy of each person in the family.
Each family is unique and I will help you move toward specific goals that you will choose for yourselves.
I encourage healthy family dynamics when possible and confront family dysfunction when necessary. I have learned my skill from my years of apprenticeship with pioneer family therapists in Berkeley and also from many years of work dedicated to the growth and liberation of families locked in painful impasses.
Family therapy is an opportunity for a family to address issues of great concern for all its members.
My approach is to view them through the lens of three generations. Some of those issues will be those you have inherited from your families of origin—meaning the families your mother and father created for themselves, and the families your maternal grandfather and grandmother created, and the families your paternal grandfather and grandmother created.
In all families, there are repeated themes or redundant patterns of living that often emerge upon closer inspection. Some are quite obvious, like chosen jobs or professions, or proficiency in athletic pursuits. But others are less obvious and at times more troublesome to the point of being self -destructive, as in the case of addictions or incest. So we must take our time initially to examine the possible origins of current family troubles in earlier generations.
Empathy is key
Many people enter family therapy with the hope of changing the behavior of other family members. However, they soon understand that the only person they have the power to change is themselves.
And that is a profound learning because it opens the possibility of relating to others with greater humility and empathy for how difficult it is to change behavior and attitudes that may be deeply held.
I must approach each family with humility and empathy as well—otherwise I will not be able to assist the family in making the changes they so deeply desire to make. So with each family I must build a bond of trust based on my capacity to empathize to some degree their emotional suffering. It is a kind of profession unlike any other. And one I find enriching with each family I encounter.
So I invite you to come and learn how to communicate better using methods I’ve developed as a long time licensed family counselor.