My Areas of Treatment
Aging is an area in which I have both training and experience. At Naropa I studied with Robert C. Atchley, a prominent gerontologist and with one of my teachers, Rabbi Zalman Schachter Shalomi, who founded the Aging to Saging movement. I am also what many would call “old,” a designation I neither embrace or reject. My view is that there is great diversity in how we age. We age differently by our culture, by our ethnicity, by our socio-economic status, and by many other factors. Of course, in addition to how we age, we must contend with the attitudes of the greater society toward aging. My interest in aging obviously intersects with my work in End of Life.
I left a substantial career in mid-life to go back to school and get a Master’s degree in counseling specifically so I could do hospice work. I have been involved with four different hospices in four different parts of the country, and I am presently a hospice volunteer in Portland. When death is imminent, I think that striving to live and preparing to die are not only not incompatible, but complementary. A good life and a good death are intimately connected. Ideally I work with people far in advance of End of Life.
I am a cancer survivor. I have had cancer for 12 years and I’m healthy as a horse. My health is a product of my decisions. I would not presume to “know what you are going through,” but it
can provide some common ground for our work. My approach begins with recognizing that there are many dimensions to the cancer experience. My goal is to help you effectively confront this challenge while maintaining the greatest quality
of life possible. In order to do this, we must look not just at the psychological impacts, but social and cultural ones as well.
My approach to mania is very much like my approach to psychosis (and mania can often move into psychosis). One important difference is that bipolar clients can have long periods of “normal” behavior. So, for that reason, I like to see the least meds. The work with mania is to see mania as a liability, a form of self-intoxication that which masquerades as energy, creativity, maybe spirituality, but erodes our lives, episode by episode.
Anxiety has many roots, ranging from our own genes to the tumultuous times we live in. So it has many solutions. There are treatments that utilize the mind and treatments that work through the body. Sometimes it is more productive to change an external factor than to change you. As with depression, it important to consider both physical and social, as well as psychological factors. Though it is up to each one of us to make whatever transformations are needed for a good life, we must examine both our inner and outer situations.
I think there is a great deal of confusion around depression. I like to begin our work by separating sadness and depression, and calm, low energy states from depression. Depression is a debilitating illness, being sad and being quiet are a part of our health. Depression may benefit from medication, but this not always the case. Research indicates that recovery from depression lasts twice as long when medication and therapy are combined.
I have both training and considerable experience with clients with delusional disorders. During my Master’s program I did a long internship in a therapeutic modality known as Windhorse, and subsequently helped get an installation of Windhorse going in Portland. Windhorse is a psychotherapeutically-based, residential (in the true sense, “in your home”), team approach to the treatment of what we call “extreme” states, particularly delusions. While it is not a “no-meds,” I take the view that “least meds are best meds.” I do have clients who do not use any medication. I work in a scaled down version but guided by the same principles. I am on the Windhorse World Council.
Although I have an office in Portland, I also work with clients over the Internet.