WORKING WITH ME ONE-ON-ONE
Just as we are all unique, so too is each course of therapy, which will be tailored to your unique needs and life circumstances. We’ll begin with an “intake assessment,” in which I’ll learn as much as I can regarding what you wish to shift, what has helped or harmed in the past, and we’ll talk about possible treatment plans, or course of therapy and techniques that might help.
My approach attends to the past, present and future, all of which are necessary in affecting real change; the past will always inform how we arrive in this moment, and understanding “triggers,” patterns, and historical blocks is essential. We look at the present by directing attention to the current concern or crisis, working with the associated feelings, and attending to the hurt of the moment using what I call therapeutic technology, actual tools such as breathing techniques, mindfulness exercised, bilateral stimulation such as EMDR and cognitive exercises. An improved future requires this past and present centered work as well as collaboration for self-care guidance and direction for future steps.
Connection & Healing
I help couples strengthen the relationship bond, understand core hurts, and increase positive experiences. In the work, we'll explore restoring attachment bonds and/or helping to identify and engage next best steps in the relationship.
For some couples, several consultations that identify stuck patterning and mutual triggers in the relationship is enough. For others, more work is needed to understand long standing relational patterning and their historical roots, and to then build structures of clear communication, which acknowledge the needs and wants of each partner.
I am trained in a highly effective and rigorously studied approach called Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT). It is grounded in attachment science, which underscores the importance of human connections and the need for a sense of safety and security in our most important relationships so that they might, and we might, thrive.
Mind Body Healing
My expertise in trauma treatment includes over 15 years of providing trauma focused psychotherapy and extensive training in trauma treatment modalities including somatic therapies, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and mindfulness techniques. Additionally, I am a lecturer, educator and consultant on topics related to mental health and trauma.
Effective trauma treatment addresses the human reactions to the mind/body system when an event overwhelms our capacity to cope coupled with a sense of helplessness and intense fear (Judith Herman, 1992). Survivors of trauma often have no visible signs, but can carry internal reminder, sometimes manifesting in emotional, cognitive, behavioral, spiritual and physical responses. Trauma is much more common than most realize and can underlie serious physical concerns and mental health issues, including depression and anxiety. People can think they are going “crazy” when they are experiencing normal and common reactions to trauma. Alternating between states of activation, anxiety to numbness, depression is a hallmark of trauma and can be confounding and unsettling to survivors.
My approach involves a full assessment to understand the relevant factors arising and then first addresses the here and now, how can I help bring relief in your current life circumstances, and address coping strategies. “Symptom” relief is important. If you’re not sleeping, we need to address this; if anxiety is strong, we explore strategies to reduce this response. Over time, eventually processing the trauma memory is important, to help the brain adaptively address the event that it could not process, and to reorganize the information, allowing the brain and nervous system to not see the event as a threat anymore. The memory system includes both explicit memory (details of events with time stamps) and implicit memory (sense memory, emotional memory) and when we process trauma it is important to explore both, particularly body based memory as this is where much of trauma memory is stored. In session, this processing does not have to mean retelling the story, it can be a guided process where you do not need to verbally share the details of the event. Your particular needs will be assessed, and I’ll recommend the treatment plan best suited for you.
My trauma work is heavily influenced by my training in The Trauma Resiliency Model (TRM), a therapy designed to treat trauma through the stabilization of the nervous system. I have also been a training facilitator from TRM. TRM is an integrative mind-body intervention, which focuses on the biological basis of trauma and the ways the body responds to threat and fear. In therapy we work to learn skills and learn coping to stabilize your nervous system from trauma, restore equilibrium and develop personal resources and healthy physical and psychological boundaries.
Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing
I provide a kind of therapy called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) to help process and resolve trauma concerns. EMDR has been extensively research and has a high level of empirical validity. It is an effective, proven method to help individuals heal from traumatic events and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). EMDR can be used to treat disturbing life events that are perhaps along the trauma spectrum but might not be considered traumatic. EMDR is helpful with the often co-occurring concerns of anxiety, panic disorder and depression. EMDR helps the brain process unresolved trauma memories and engage its natural capacity to heal. The hallmark of EMDR therapy is engaging the left and right sides of the brain, which can be done through eye movement, audio input or tactile movement by holding tappers.
The World health Organization, American Psychiatric Association, the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, and the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs/Dept. of Defense are among the organizations that recognize EMR’s efficacy.
For EMDR therapy, I’ll complete a full assessment and treatment plan in the first phase of therapy and then once we’ve completed this repertory phase of at least several sessions, we’ll begin the “bilateral” EMDR treatment.
I like this video from the EMDR International Association, which describes EMDR and healing from trauma.
DEPRESSION & ANXIETY
Making a Change
Depression and anxiety are among the most common mental health concerns in the world and both can be debilitating. The good news is that they are treatable, and that therapy can be very effective in helping get you back to living your life.
I will work with you to explore the root causes of what is arising and steps that can be taken right to help you feel better.It’s helpful to take a holistic approach and look at the nuts and bolts of your life in terms of eating and sleeping as well as your relationships and past life experiences.
Every treatment plan is tailored to your specifics and what I think will be most effective in effecting positive change.
Mind Body Healing
Consultation in mindfulness practices is available, offering an opportunity to build specific mindfulness based skills as tools for daily living. I provide both stand-alone mindfulness consultation and use mindfulness practices in my psychotherapy work by incorporating mindfulness interventions and strategies in session.
Mindfulness can be considered the cultivation of moment-to-moment awareness of what is arising in the present with a nonjudgmental quality; essentially, by paying attention on purpose and using this awareness to help observe thoughts, feelings, and sensations that might arise, we can engage tools and strategies for support in the moment.
I have much postgraduate study and experience folding mindfulness into clinical work and hold a Certification in Mindfulness Facilitation from UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center.
“Mindfulness training has been shown to be effective in relieving the suffering of numerous medical and psychological conditions while enhancing well-being. In particular, affective disorders including anxiety, depression, and personality disorders are particularly well suited.” (Sanders, K. Mindfulness and Psychotherapy. 2010)
IN THE PRESS
Klein, J.T. & Zaleski, K.L. Non-Consensual Pornography: Revenge Porn and the New Era of Sexual Assault Perpetration Online. In Zaleski, K.L., Enrile, A., Weiss, E., and Wang, X. Women’s Journey to Empowerment. Oxford University Press.
Kristen L. Zaleski PhD, LCSW, Daniel K. Johnson MSW & Jessica T. Klein LCSW (2016) Grounding Judith Herman’s Trauma Theory within Interpersonal Neuroscience and Evidence-Based Practice Modalities for Trauma Treatment, Smith College Studies in Social Work, 86:4, 377-393.
J. Klein. “International E-Mentoring for a Healthy Future: The Global Action Network Experience,” chapter in the publication Global Perspectives on Mentoring, Transforming Contexts, Communities, and Cultures, by Kochan,F and Pascarelli, J (2002).