I get what you’re going through –I understand the way anxiety and self-criticism can suck the life out of you, or the loneliness that can arise when relationships go awry or never get started at all. I also know there are ways out of this suffering — ways that are hard to find on your own — and that finding the right therapist can make all the difference.
Real progress towards feeling better – There are a million generic self-help solutions out there, the options are overwhelming. I help you cut through all the noise and hone in on what’s going to get you unstuck. I get to know you and your unique situation, and together we create a plan just for you, with targeted ways to help you feel better.
Not a “blank slate” – I know how frustrating it can be to have a therapist who “just sits there.” That’s not me. I ask questions, I work with you to find solutions. When it’s helpful to you, I share what I’ve learned from all my varied life experiences: living all over the U.S. and abroad, working in careers as diverse as magazine editor and guide dog trainer.
Integrating head and heart – I engage your intellect with thought-provoking questions, and help you make connections you didn’t see before. Drawing from my previous career as a writer and editor, I guide you in unfolding your own narrative, making sense of the story of your life. I also help you tune in to your body and emotions, using mindfulness tools. I have a longstanding meditation practice and a love/hate relationship with it; so I know the profound benefits that can come from sitting still and being mindful, as well as how staggeringly hard it can be to just sit still and breathe.
Therapy doesn’t have to be touchy-feely – I guide you through exploring emotions, soothing self-criticism, and focusing on the positive without sounding like a cheesy self-help seminar. When we work together, you get to be exactly who you are. You can bring your vulnerable and sad parts, your feelings of excitement or pride, your irritation and skepticism about therapy. Whatever is there, I welcome all of it.
Creativity is central – Dreams, drawings, images that pop into your head when you’re talking…these things can offer a huge boost to your healing process. If creativity is an integral part of your life, I can help you harness that power, even if your goals have nothing to do with artistic expression. I am also experienced working with issues surrounding artistic expression or creative blocks.
Enthusiastic about teens and young adults – Adolescence can feel like a tornado of emotions…for teens and the people close to them. When you are the parent of a teenager, you might feel frustrated, scared, sympathetic, overwhelmed, or all of the above. Most of all you feel an intense loving desire to help them get safely to the other side of their teen years. As much as you want to give them everything they need, sometimes what adolescents need most is a safe place outside of the family to open up. I provide a combination of open space to explore and focused, targeted solutions. In addition to treating teens and families in my private practice, I have worked as mental health expert at ReachOut.com, a nonprofit supporting teens and young adults going through mental health struggles and tough times, counseled undergrad and grad students at University of California Berkeley, and wrote a book called The Perfectionism Workbook for Teens: Activities to Help You Reduce Anxiety and Get Things Done (New Harbinger, 2016).
Unique training in working with the human/animal bond – Prior to my work as a therapist, I trained seeing-eye-dogs and partnered them with visually impaired clients. I learned how to cultivate the bond between people and animals to support healing and growth. I have combined those skills with my psychotherapy training to develop an animal-assisted therapy program. I also work as a private trainer, specializing in rehabilitating serious behavioral issues in pet dogs.
More than a decade of experience – I have been helping people find relief from suffering for more than ten years – training, teaching, and counseling – and I have been seeing clients in individual and family therapy since 2010. I received my Master’s degree in psychology from California Institute of Integral Studies.
To schedule your free 15-minute phone or video consultation, email AMD@annmarietherapy.com or call (415) 409-9023.