I offer relational therapy for people who are passionate, curious, idealistic, intense, and bright -- often called “gifted," though it can feel like anything but a gift. I can also offer insights into the realities of the gifted experience and help you better appreciate the ways giftedness manifests in your self. Often (re)discovering the lens of giftedness can launch a journey to re-examine your history, and to author a new story for yourself.
Popular perception of giftedness focuses on high intellectual ability, but giftedness encompasses many other qualities, such as high levels of empathy, sensitivity, intensity, insight, perfectionism, and the “overexcitabilities” identified by Kazimierz Dabrowski: psychomotor, sensual, intellectual, imaginational, and emotional. Gifted individuals often face unique challenges such as high levels of self-criticism, existential depression (struggling with the meaning of life), and difficulty in finding peers. In addition, gifted individuals are often poorly misunderstood and misdiagnosed by mental health professionals who are unaware of the concept of giftedness.
Do you only work with “gifted” people? I didn’t do well in school.
I work with a wide variety of clients and being “gifted” or considering yourself such are not requirements to work with me. In addition, giftedness has very little to do with your performance in school and life, despite our cultural narratives about child geniuses. I focus on the experiential qualities of giftedness as described above, and whether or not that is a helpful lens with which to view yourself.
I have worked extensively with LGBTQ and gender creative clients, and working in these communities is especially dear to me. Adolescents are another (wildly diverse!) group that I am passionate about working with. I am comfortable with minority spiritual paths and views.
My work has allowed me to collaborate with a diverse range of clients, in race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, disability, and age. I feel honored by all of the clients who have chosen to share a part of their journey with me.
What is your style of working with clients?
I am firmly rooted in a relational stance with my clients, which means that I believe that the relationship we develop while working together is the most important element of therapy. It will allow us to understand how you both relate to others as well as all of the parts of your self.
The initial stage of therapy will be primarily focused on us getting to know each other. As a trauma-informed clinician, I want my client to take the lead in determining when you are comfortable sharing your thoughts, experiences, and aspects of self; trust takes time to develop, and I do not push anyone to reveal things before they are ready to do so. I respect the innate wisdom of each client and hold a harm reduction stance, in which I honor the coping mechanisms that have helped you on your journey, even if these coping mechanisms are ultimately not in your best interest and you are ready to let them go.
While the work we do in therapy is largely internal, I am also keenly aware of the ways in which our various identities shape how we move through the world and how we are treated by other people. I do not see these as “political” issues outside of the therapy room; rather, they are a vital part of our experience and I encourage exploration of these larger issues in therapy. I am also aware of the power differential in our culture between provider and client, and strive to dismantle this by developing a collaborative relationship with the clients I work with.
How long will therapy take?
Each person’s journey is unique. Some clients will find what they need in working with me for a few months, while others may work with me for years. I both solicit and welcome feedback from clients about how therapy is working for you.
Do you work with children?
Yes. I work with children ages ten and up, and I particularly enjoy working with adolescents. If your child is younger than ten but you feel we might be a good match, contact me and we can discuss the needs of your particular child.