Areas of specialization

Grief & Traumaimage2

“There is no present or future, only the past happening over and over again.” Eugene O’Neill

Our unresolved past traumas appear in the present. When we try to avoid feeling something painful, we often protract the very pain we’re trying to avoid. Doing so is a prescription for continued suffering. Until we stop looking for answers outside of ourselves and instead look inward we will miss the target. To finally surrender ourselves to healing, we have to have three spaces opened up within us-and all at the same time: our opinionated head, our closed-down heart, and our defensive and defended body.

Grief and trauma are common in each persons life and how we respond to the circumstances will either offer healing or hinder it. We all have a story to share, and it’s especially important to have a safe space to talk about our experience.

Relationship issuesimage7

“The distance from your pain, your grief, your unattended wounds, is the distance from your partner.” Stephen & Ondrea Levine

No matter how successful we are, how wonderful our communication skills, how many couples retreats we have attended, or how deeply we understand our own patterns of avoiding intimacy, as long as we’re entangled with our family history, we can distance ourselves from the one we love most. Unconsciously, we’ll repeat family patterns of neediness, mistrust, anger, withdrawal, and blame our partner for our unhappiness when the true source lies behind us.

Many people find themselves struggling with healthy relationships.  It can be intimate relationships, or relationships with coworkers, friends, or even family.  Having tumultuous relationships can have a negative impact on our self-worth.  It can often feel crippling to continuously find oneself in bad relationships.  I enjoy working with people as they explore what healthy relationships look like.

Personal development FullSizeRender-6

I believe that all people have an innate ability to create the life they desire.  We all have a journey that’s uniquely ours.  Through my own personal journey, I have learned to embrace the ebbs and flows of life and not resist them. I enjoy working with my clients on self-discovery and reinvention.  No matter your life-stage, you can always grow, learn, and rediscover.  Together, we will walk through what makes you uniquely special, help you find purpose, joy, and meaning.  We are not meant to go through life’s journey alone.  Together we can lighten the weight that you carry.

Substance Abuse & Addiction 

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I often get asked if I believe that Addiction is a disease.  What I can say is in the United States calling Addiction a Disease is common practice within my profession.  This is standard, and often follows the Medical Model of treatment.  I can’t say that I agree with this philosophy of Addiction.  I also don’t think we need to define it in order to treat it.  I also don’t believe that there is only 1 way to treat addiction.  I find that all people are unique in their own way, and finding out what works for each individual person is what’s important.  I have however in my work with Addiction is learned that Spiritual healing is necessary and an often neglected aspect of treatment.  I’m a huge proponent of AA as it provides a community of support.  What is often not talked about are the statistics of Addiction treatment.  Most US treatment centers follow the Medical Model- this encompasses 84% of programs today. Only about 3-5% of people who go through these programs find success.  This statistic should be alarming for people, and should make us question why this is so.  People often become Angry at the Addict.  They expect the Addict to JUST STOP!  Let me just address that no one can STOP anything.  One must REPLACE the habit with healthy choices.  In the treatment of addiction, we have to find a motivating force, a method to help the Addict focus on the long-term goal, and not the Now- the impulse, the need to “escape” to euphoria because whatever is going on Now is not worth the consequences of relapse.

Addiction is not limited to just drugs and alcohol.  It is also, not limited to those living in impoverished areas.  This is an issue that affects people from all backgrounds regardless of race, gender, socio economic status, and religion.  In my work with those struggling with Addiction, I believe in creating Hope, a safe, non-judgmental space where we can work towards discovery of motivations.  For those who are ready to do the work, we will work on healing the pain, the shame, guilt, and regret.

Teen issues 

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Teen issues vary, yet many stem from identity issues. Many teens struggle with self-worth. The standards and expectations for teens today can feel overwhelming and are often unrealistic. In my work with teens, I allow space for them to feel heard, valued, and help them come to a place of acceptance of themselves.  Teens often have a difficult time verbally expressing themselves and so they may act-out in ways that get them into trouble.

Acculturation issues

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As a Syrian American, acculturation was a large part of my life growing up. Coming to America at 5 years old, I found it very challenging to conform to American standards, yet still honor my Syrian culture. I understand the difficulty in finding oneself, and the expectations set by parents, and society. This can create familial and identity issues. If you find yourself stuck between self-discovery and cultural/familial expectations, it’s fair to say you’re going through something very normal, and you are NOT alone!