I first started studying people as an actress. I took what I learned and put it on stage, performing in regional theatre and Shakespeare festivals across America for 16 years. I loved using my imagination and emotional life to make people laugh and cry. It was a use of self in the service of a play and an audience. And I didn’t mind a big house rocking with laughter either.
Let me tell you how I put the acting work and the psychotherapy work together.
Sometimes in treatment we’ll get to a place where the words stop coming. When what you feel gets diffuse and difficult to name, you’ll likely want a therapist who has experienced this and will guide you toward articulating something you’ve never said before. However, you’ll also want someone flexible enough to know when to back off and brave enough to go for it when it’s time. In that moment where something new, something else is trying to happen, you want an artist by your side, someone who has a gut feeling for the arc of session and a deep knowledge of the human heart courtesy of William Shakespeare, Eugene O’Neill, Tennessee Williams and Lillian Hellman. All those years of improvisation and script study pay off big in moments like that.
We will know that we’ve found something when it rings dead true and surprises both of us.
Before I started training in psychotherapy, I had a day job on Wall Street and I did theatre at night and on weekends. I watched my boss cold call with his head buried in the knee hole of his desk. He was trying to concentrate in the din of the investment banking department. He taught me that if you want something bad enough, you can make your own quiet. This is the grit factor, the resilience factor, the you-can-knock-me-down-and-I-get-right-back-up factor. I know how hard it can be.
I began training as a psychotherapist in 1993 and opened my practice in 1997. I was immediately drawn to work with sensitive and explosive people. Over my 18 years of listening to patients, I’ve refined my approach to the emotional states that cause the most suffering: envy, hatred, rage, revenge, resentment, bitterness and loneliness. I’m not a kid. I won’t tell you to look at the sky. We will sit together, elbows deep in the muck of living. And then if you find yourself enjoying the sky on the way home, I’m effin thrilled.
I hold a BS in Journalism, a BA in Theatre, an MFA in Acting and a New York State License in Psychoanalysis. I never stop learning and that’s an important support when we run out of road.
I teach, supervise and analyze at the institute where I trained, the National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis (NPAP). My short story “Flying Blind” appears in Otherwise, the journal of the International Federation for Psychoanalytic Education (IFPE). I have been interviewed on relationships in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes.com, and NPR.
Check out my blog for more on what I think and how I work. You’ll find the tab for my blog on the upper right hand of your screen.