Clinical Case Consultation for Therapists
In 1991, I left my profession in the corporate world to pursue my lifelong dream to become a psychotherapist. I got my degree at Smith College School for Social work, an esteemed program for psychodynamic psychotherapy training. Since then, I’ve never stopped studying and adding to my skills. In January 2022, I “retired” from primarily clinical work to develop a practice in individual and group clinical case consultation.
Clinical case consultation isn’t a new a practice for me. I have provided it for years as a faculty member of the Washington School of Psychiatry in Washington, DC, one of my professional homes, where I have taught and studied. In the Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy and Core Concepts in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy programs, I provided case consultation to individuals and in groups, both through discussion of case material and through close analysis of videoed case work by students. In Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute trainings, I facilitated experiential learning, requiring moment-to-moment analysis and guidance of in vivo sessions.
As your consultant I help you apply your skills from an authentic, warm and centered place. I combine the practice of mindfulness (open-minded, nonjudgmental curiosity and receptivity) with analytical thinking based on your theoretical orientation to create transformative engagements with your clients.
My own theoretical and practice foundation is an embodied and psychodynamic one. This means that I believe that much of behavior is automatic and not conscious, and
is guided by early infant and childhood attachment patterns, environmental adaptations, genetics, traumas and other forces, such as societal prescriptions. I use the word ‘embodied’ to emphasize
the place of nonverbal information in my work. How we are, our total state at any given moment, is discerned not only through speech and
thoughts, but also by sensation, movement, energy, and the use of space--all of which derive from unconscious positive and negative emotions, or from the anxiety and self-protective strategies
that bind them. Since experience is first physical and only secondarily known symbolically in thought and word, it is often easier to perceive and discern through one’s own and your client’s
physical experience than it is through a tangle of words.
While these are my theoretical foundations, I believe that the way forward to greater ease and effectiveness for therapists and their clients is unique and lies within both of you. The task of therapy, then, is to develop the ability to look, see, and be with what is internal as it interacts with what is external (in the world and in relationships), both in ourselves and in our clients. By seeing and then working with alternating patterns of once-protective constriction and impulses of self-actualizing expansion, we can have and make liberating choices as therapists for our clients, who in turn will be able to do so for themselves.
I use collaborative, experiential, Socratic, and/or educative and skill-building approaches during case consultations to help us think and act clinically. I call upon our professional learning and our therapeutic skills acquired through experience. And because this knowledge is most potent when it includes the use of the whole self, I invite clients to draw upon life experiences; creative urges; focused-reverie; preferred modes of learning, knowing and expressing; spirituality; and their capacity for caring to formulate boundaried, yet connected interventions.
One of my emphases is the development of a clear psychodynamic focus for each session and the overall therapy. These change over time. Each focus requires helping your client to translate their expressed “problem” (which is often externalized or behavioral) into one in which they can see the dynamic, internal, psychological components of it. This orients therapist and client, and provides a psychodynamic roadmap forward for the therapist to help the client toward their goals.
We know that the therapeutic relationship is an essential part of therapy and therapeutic success. It plays a significant role in clients believing their therapist and therapy are effective. Bringing attention to the relationship as it unfolds in each moment in sessions builds the therapeutic alliance. Close consideration of this aspect of therapy is an important part of consultation.
I have a certificate from the Washington School of Psychiatry in Clinical Supervision. I’m certified nationally in Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy and EMDR. I hold Level I (trauma therapy) and II (attachment therapy) certificates in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy. I am also trained in CBT, expressive therapies such as sand tray and play therapy, and group therapy. I have often used art in therapy sessions. I have a certificate in brief therapy with an emphasis on narrative and solution-focused therapy. I have 30 years of clinical experience in private practice, community mental health clinics and hospital settings. See go to the Background tab for further information.
My work is imbued with my commitment of over 30 years to the study and practice of anti-racism. I was a founder and steering committee member of the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Culture at the Washington School of Psychiatry, where I often taught psychodynamic therapy through an anti-racism and intersectional lens, and presented cases at conferences from this understanding. I believe that everyone of us suffers from the malign effects of racism and other practices of oppression and marginalization. Addressing this in our work as clinicians is to speak the unspeakable—a necessary part of micro- and macro-transformation.
Finally, we are so much more than therapists. My meditation practice ensures a grounded experience regardless of the intensity of the material addressed. My activities in nature and my spiritual practice, along with life experiences, all nurture a keen and reverent awareness of living and dying. Occasions of awe sustain me. Music and dance await me in another life, but for now transport me with my feet on the ground. A good belly laugh is just the best. I look forward to learning what you bring to your work from your life. and helping your to find ways to make it useful in your therapy work.
Please feel free to email or call me with questions, or if you’d like to schedule an initial free consultation.