I have extensive experience working with complex mental health concerns, including eating disorders, depression, anxiety, addictions, trauma, and chronic stress. Many people who seek support feel overwhelmed, lost, or lacking purpose and meaning. Others come to therapy intuitively and are searching for something they may not be able to identify. While the symptoms or problems that people present with impact them in different ways, the inner work can look similar. Below are some of the areas that I specialize in:
Anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, and orthorexia are painful and often secretive patterns that develop innocently enough. Over time, some people begin to build an identity around their eating disorder, and they struggle to understand who they would be without it. As a result, they hang onto the patterns even though they are self-destructive...it is as if something inside them cannot let go! Trying to control the problem with meal plans or other good intentions might lead to temporary recovery, but unless a strong sense of self is developed, people are often at risk of returning to old patterns. By learning to quiet the mind, we can connect with ourselves on a level that is beyond the body. We can learn to stay with our emotions rather than turning to food to shut down, and release the thoughts that keep us stuck in our suffering.
People fall into depression for different reasons related to their life circumstances. But eventually the mind becomes a trap, and it feels like there is no way out - hopelessness and helplessness set in. For some, their emotions feel too overwhelming so they repress what is there, which leads to apathy or numbness. As the patterns set in, they become more disconnected from themselves and others, creating a vicious cycle of inner pain. By learning to quiet the mind, you can develop the capacity to stay in the present moment and experience joy, peace, and inner freedom. You can also learn to trust your intuition, use your emotions as signs of a need, and begin to care for yourself in new ways.
Constant worry or fear can make everyday life feel overwhelming. Anxiety influences how we feel about ourselves, other people, situations, and the world. When we spend too much time in our heads, we get caught up in our thinking and lose objectivity: our fears feel real. We can even end up coping in unhealthy ways or sabotaging our best efforts. Learning to quiet the mind can allow you to slow down inside, separate your sense of self from destructive thought patterns, and experience inner peace.
Alcohol, drugs, technology, food, gambling, shopping, and sex are crutches we use to cope with emotions, avoid discomfort, evade responsibility, or check-out of life completely. They are a form of self-abandonment and they create significant existential suffering to the person using them. By the time we realize it is a problem, it is often too late: the habitual pattern has become ingrained in our mind. When we cultivate inner stillness, we become capable of observing our thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations without reacting to them. This allows us to come off auto-pilot and see that we have other options to support ourselves. With a strong sense of self and open moment-to-moment awareness, healing becomes possible and people are able to let go of behaviours that no longer serve a purpose.
The way we use our mind influences our stress levels. It isn't enough to reframe our thinking or change the language we use to describe events. Instead, a whole new level of perception is needed. This new lens is created through deeper awareness and self-inquiry. By becoming still and present, our fight/flight/freeze response settles and we let go of thoughts that keep us stuck, such as "this shouldn't be happening." We then become capable of asking ourselves important questions like "what am I meant to learn from this experience?" From there, our intuition kicks in and we learn to "accept and work with" what is happening in the present moment. Together, we will work on building your inner strength and resiliency so that you can remain steady in the face of stress.