I have always been intrigued as to what make some families succeed and others families fail. One of the best decisions I’ve made was pursuing an advanced degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. I have been told many times that my passion for the field is infectious and that my relentless pursuit in trying to find the “secrets to success” from the up-to-date research has actually become an obsession. My own six children have been the greater impetus to the amount of time that I have spent, both in and out of school, researching how healthy families function and specifically what we need to do as parents to help our children. Thanks to the available literature and wonderful training, I’ve been able to uncover what I believe is the common denominator in healthy relationships: the development of true empathy.
My specific niche in counseling has been the treatment of couples and families, particularly who are dealing with challenging children. Over the last few years, I’ve researched and developed a distinct approach to help struggling families. The field of Marriage and Family Therapy in general, takes a nonjudgmental, nonthreatening approach when working with clients. It is not about diagnosing and focusing on who’s to blame, but rather to think in terms of how we can help our clients process and improve relationships. I too believe that every person is made up of so many different experiences and personality traits, that it’s only natural to run into some challenges and hard times with the people closest to you. The ability to focus on the process rather than content of the situation and assistance to the client in putting the pieces of the underlying puzzle together is my expertise and has been very effective in creating change.
One of my goals for treatment is to infuse security and confidence into parents and children. But, that’s easier said than done! Learning how to effectively manage OUR own emotions, how to maturely communicate with others and problem solve as adults should are often the keys to success. Having the ability to control our own impulses, frustration and anger are also included amongst the tools we need to feel secure and confident and to raise socially appropriate children. In order to achieve a high level of functioning, children need to have the feeling of being emotionally and physically connected to both parents. In addition to connection, the parental sub-system also needs to maintain complete control of the home. This combination of intimacy and power provides children with a feeling of safety and security. It is important to realize that this combination needs to be unique and custom-made for each of our children. A common mistake is having one parenting style – and not being flexible in adjusting either the intimacy or the power for each of our individual children. This custom-made approach to parenting will help our children establish healthy attachments to us and to others and prompt the development of empathy, the most fundamental attribute of healthy social relationships.
Seeing children, couples and families happier, healthier emotionally, and more aware of the processes that are going on beneath the seemingly off-putting behaviors is my goal. I am honored to have the privilege to serve many children, couples & families.
At the risk of sounding corny, in my experience therapy often works to change not only the client, but also the therapist. Every time I meet someone new I am being invited to be a participant of their life’s experiences. And every time I join in a new world, I am opening myself to have my experience shaped by another.
Seton Hall University, South Orange, New Jersey
MS – Masters Degree in Psychological Counseling
EdS – Post Masters, Educational Specialist Degree in Family Therapy
LMFT – Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist – completed all the necessary requirements (both in practicum and in testing) to achieve an advanced, licensed degree in Marriage and Family Therapy.