Dr. Grace’s Approach
“The level of differentiation is the single most important aspect distinguishing a therapist from a technician. Differentiation is the ability to maintain a non-anxious presence in the face of another’s anxiety. It does not mean being uninvolved or indifferent. It is the ability to tolerate pain for growth.” ~David Schnarch
Dr. Grace’s Approach to Counseling, Psychotherapy and Consultation
I value authenticity, empathy and the therapeutic connection, and I practice these while working with my clients. I actively participate in the therapy work. I believe that true, meaningful connections can be an important part of the healing process, and can help build confidence and deeper self-awareness.
Likewise, a safe and engaging environment is crucial for growth and healing, and it is my aim to provide clients with a welcoming and safe atmosphere.
I believe that therapy is a place for self-expression and healing, and I work to provide a venue that is just right for each client to learn and practice emotional skills, improve communication, and develop a keener awareness and understanding of themselves and others.
Essentially, I am an integrative therapist. What that means is that I have extensive training in a variety of modalities and use them as called for.
About Dr. Grace Dr. Grace’s Specializations
Strengths Based Therapy
I start looking for strengths upon first meeting my clients, and no matter how long the list already is, I keep finding them. They might be obvious, or maybe not yet even realized, but I believe that seeking, learning about, and emphasizing my clients’ strengths is essential to therapy.
Personal strengths are power-houses for the work of overcoming challenges. As a strengths-based therapist, I see my clients as experts in their own work, and because of this belief, even if I am the facilitator to change, I see myself in partnership with my clients as they face the challenges and triumphs of their work
A Humanistic Approach
One focus of humanistic psychology views how deep feelings and self-concept influence behaviors. This motivates an exploration of each client as a whole person in all his or her unique individuality, where multiple perspectives are used to regard a situation.
I deeply value the humanistic view that people are innately good.
Existential therapy adds additional perspective, so that you can process internal conflicts (and subsequent choices) in a way that supports you to blossom in the present, without becoming overwhelmed or preoccupied with a potential future.
Family Systems Therapy
As a Narratively informed systems therapist, I see my role as partner to my clients, on their journey of authoring their own stories.
To learn more about Narrative Therapies, see that category on my Links page.
Another important aspect of Relational-cultural therapy is that it explains growth and development as part of learning about relationships, as well as the disconnections and re-connections in life.
A Spiritual Approach
Even gifted children (and adults) who have strong verbal skills can benefit from play therapy, which provides an alternative means to process emotions, challenges, and what is going on in their lives. Play therapy has been shown to improve social, emotional, behavioral and other mental health issues.
Not just for children, I also have therapeutic games and crafts geared specifically for teens and adults. Play therapy can help clients resolve conflict, solve challenges, and learn positive preventative coping skills.
For further information, please view this short video, which explains how play therapy works:
Child, teen and adult clients can make meaning of their lives via art projects, improve self-esteem, find strengths, and become more self-aware. Creating art can also bring about profound insight and understanding of relationships, coping, responses to stress and trauma.
Sandplay (Sand Tray Therapy)
Sandplay is a powerful therapeutic technique in that it can change how clients view themselves within their world, and bring their inner world out, to an expressive world. It also gives space for deep healing, processing and discovering new outcomes. Sandplay is especially helpful because it can be a non-verbal way to communicate when verbal communication is difficult or does not feel right. I utilize a complete sandplay set-up in my office, and children, teen and adult clients are all welcome to sandplay.
To start sandplay, I ask clients to choose figurines to place in the sand. Clients typically shape or mold the sand before placing the figurines. Molding play sand can feel really good—it allows for expression of emotion, plus the texture of the sand on the hands can be calming and relaxing.
When choosing figurines, clients pick whichever they are most drawn to, even if there is no obvious reason for making those choices. It is actually very easy to get into the process of building a sandtray world. It is an inner experience of creativity, guided by the subconscious. Also, it is okay not to know the meaning of the scene that is created. The strength of sandtray work is that it is healing and powerful, even if the outcome is not explicit.