Dana Andrews
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Anxiety & Depression

“Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend.”

-Lao Tzu

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Recent statistics show that anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults ages 18 and older every year, while major depressive disorder is the leading cause of disability in ages 15 to 44 (via ADAA). Many people do not seek treatment, thinking it will dissipate naturally over time. Though the latter may be true, often times the anxiety and/or depression lingers longer than necessary and can become debilitating - it can greatly impair the way we work, irritate our relationships with family, friends, and children, even get in the way of our imaginative & creative capabilities, and negatively impact our ability to function. Seeking help is the first step to recovery.

Therapeutically, my approach to anxiety and depression is often in seeing what triggers may be present in the environment that could be cause for such feelings. From there, I often use evidence-based behavioral approaches like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in order to recognize and name unwanted beliefs associated with the anxious and depressing feelings. Alongside this, mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) offers clients concrete coping strategies to further their sense of control over the unwanted symptoms that arise, providing opportunities to handle suffering for the long term. Analytically, we can look back into older wounds that may be root cause for some of the unwanted symptoms as well. Often I hold therapy within a transpersonal/psychospiritual framework for deeper healing, bringing in meditation and other experiential exercises for fuller integration.

 
 
 
 

Intimacy & Relationships

“Love has an immense ability to help heal the devastating wounds that life sometimes deals us. Love also enhances our sense of connection to the larger world. Loving responsiveness is the foundation of a truly compassionate, civilized society.”  -Sue Johnson, Hold Me Tight

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Intimate adult relationships act as the offering to recognize and begin to work on our childhood wounding and unmet needs in order to come to a place of healing and wholeness, while adding great depth and value to our lives daily. Attachment styles based on our earliest models of relating with parents or caregivers impact how we then attach to one another as adults - either getting in the way of our healing work or ultimately helping us to thrive. These wounds can effect not only how we relate with our partners, but can also impact how we relate with our peers, children, colleagues, co-workers, and other close people in our lives.

In therapy, we can work from the root of your attachment patterns all the way to your present day ways of relating, discovering the nuanced behavioral details you currently use (i.e. communication styles, body language, sexual expression, romantic life, etc.) to engage successfully with (or not) in your relationships. Using techniques like Emotionally Focused Therapy rooted in attachment theory, we can recognize your deepest needs at the emotional core and begin to bring them to conscious awareness for the benefit of your personal growth and interpersonal relationships, allowing for more wholeness in your life and in your relationships. To find our more about the avenues to healing we can use in treatment, check out the services and supplementations pages.

 
 
 
 

Women’s Empowerment

As women under the current gender paradigm we are experiencing a huge shift in consciousness. Luckily, with the past and current women’s movements at play we are experiencing more opportunities to feel empowered than ever before, though at times we still endure much suffering to get there. Shame, issues of self-worth, difficulties self-prioritizing/setting boundaries, loads of social/gender conditioning, pressures to uphold the stereotypical gender roles (i.e. feminine, soft, receptive, demure, etc.), all while yearning for true expression and liberation are just some of the things women are dealing with in modern times, not to mention abuse, neglect, relational and intergenerational trauma, and the like. Even our loved ones who may be supportive in theory, have a hard time actually adjusting to the subtle shifts going on as we begin to focus more on ourselves; sometimes they have reactions large and small that are often difficult to understand and hurtful to take on.

If you are struggling with any of these issues, we can begin to work through them together in therapy. I use a mindful, feminist and inclusive approach that is client-centered and in alignment with your specific needs and issues. Rooted in liberation psychology, I believe in advocacy that is based in understanding the sociopolitical context that one is expected to thrive in all while looking at how our own unique identities are effected and shaped within those environments. I tend to work psychodynamically when it comes to women’s empowerment - incorporating multiple methods from the analytical to the transpersonal.

 
 
 
 

The Body

“This body is resilient. It can endure all kinds of things. My body offers me the power of presence. My body is powerful.”

- Roxane Gay, Hunger

Struggling with your body? Whether you suffer from eating disorder issues, digestive problems, trauma, or chronic pain, I have experience working with many different bodily issues. Having trained as a trauma-sensitive yoga instructor alongside other somatic healing methods (i.e. reiki, healing touch) combined with psychotherapy, we can work with your somatic symptoms in a variety of ways.

As science has begun to show, the emotional wounding we endure over a lifetime, when gone unattended, can create actual physical suffering in the body - leading to all kinds of unwanted issues from anorexia and chronic pain to anxiety and depression. Alongside somatic work, psychotherapy can be greatly effective in helping to ease some of the hardship the body is carrying. Using a psychodynamic, trauma-sensitive, somatic and mindfulness-based approach to the healing, we can begin to mend the wounds that have lead to such distressing physical manifestations in the body, allowing the system to fully heal and get the relief it is so yearning for.

For further questions and inquiries or to talk about your bodily symptoms, feel free to contact me here.

***Hands-on work used in psychotherapy sessions on a case-by-case basis with consent cleared prior.

 
 
 
 

Trauma

At one point in time, trauma was defined only by witnessing or being victim to extreme or severely damaging experiences, as a war veteran or sexual assault survivor might endure, often causing life-altering physical, emotional, and psychological symptoms synonymous with PTSD - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Now in the field, we are seeing a range of experiences encompassing trauma - from the complex/relational kind (i.e. experiencing repeated psychological or emotional abuse, often in a particular context/setting, or with a certain partner, etc.) to the developmental (i.e. experiencing abuse, neglect, or abandonment in the first three years of life). The latter two forms of trauma can still cause highly uncomfortable and debilitating symptoms that greatly impair our ability to function day to day. Some of these symptoms may include: flashbacks, emotional dysregulation, insomnia, physiological symptoms (nausea, headaches), guilt and shame, isolation, hopelessness, and/or depression and anxiety.

Because recent research has shown that trauma and it’s resulting stress harms us through physiological changes in the body and brain, potentially predisposing to chronic illness (van der Kolk, Body Keeps the Score), I use an integral approach to healing that combines somatic psychotherapy, Hakomi immersion therapy, and mindfulness tools alongside grounding and resourcing exercises to slowly expose the mind to the trauma in a way that feels safe and supported, ultimately giving the psyche an opportunity to reintegrate the trauma in an entirely new way that allows for long lasting relief and healing.