How Positive Change Happens
Therapy is first and foremost about you — and your hopes for change. It is my role to create a safe and productive context in which the changes you desire can occur.
People enter therapy for reasons as varied as individuals are unique. However, the motivation to come to therapy is usually related to three areas of life: personal issues, relationship difficulties, and the life challenges and situations that we all face at times. Often, people face struggles in all three areas at the same time.
Regardless of what external catalyst encourages someone to seek therapy, the shared entry point into the change process is pain. Pain can range from mild discomfort to intense desperation. People come to therapy hoping for a solution, usually with the same three questions: Is change possible? Is it possible for me? Can you help me?
It is typical for people to come to their first session feeling both fear and hope. There is often uncertainty about what actually happens in therapy as well as fears about how much discomfort it may involve. These are understandable concerns, and one early priority is discussing how therapy works, and what to expect.
I wish I could say that therapy is never difficult, but that is not the case. Typically, the change process does include some challenging times. But the question of whether therapy is painful is not the real question. People seek therapy because they are already in pain. The real question is: do you choose to continue living with the familiar distress you currently feel? Or do you enter into a process that holds the possibility of a richer, more fulfilling life?
I can’t guarantee that therapy will work for everyone, and I make it a point not to hold out false hope. But my experience has been that, as hard as it may be at times, therapy offers an invaluable opportunity. It can be one of the most fruitful things you will ever do.
Whether you are dealing with depression, anxiety, feelings of isolation, relationship difficulties or other painful experiences, there is hope for a positive transformation that can impact the rest of your life.
We live in a culture that says we should never need help or encounter any life experience that is too difficult to handle on our own. We are taught that we should never show hurt or pain. A childhood message most people are familiar with is, “If you don’t stop crying, I’ll give you something to cry about.” It is painfully common for adults, both men and women, to apologize immediately for crying.
Therapy provides a safe place for you to feel whatever you are feeling and to explore your experience as deeply as you choose. It allows you to find out who you are and what you are capable of beyond the limitations you have experienced in the past.
I love my work. My life’s passion is for people to know the love and freedom that comes with living an authentic life. Whether you have lost a loved one, ended a relationship, or are in the depths of despair for some other reason, there exists a part of you that can transform any painful life story into a joyful one. It is a matter of experiencing yourself and your life’s journey in a new way.
I have a bachelor of journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from the University of Houston – Clear Lake, and a Ph.D. in marriage and family therapy with a creative systemic studies emphasis from the University of Louisiana at Monroe. My doctoral dissertation is on love and cybernetics in the practice of family therapy.
Prior to becoming a therapist, I was a classically-trained singer, who entered the University of Texas on a music scholarship. I also worked as a magazine editor and was a marketing director for a large bank before I became a therapist. I have been in private practice for nearly 20 years.
I have worked with thousands of people to help them make the changes they want to make through therapy. Currently, I practice full-time with adolescents, individuals, couples, elders, work teams, and periodic offerings of group therapy.
I am licensed to practice as both a counselor and a marriage and family therapist in the state of Texas.
My first clinical experience was at DePelchin Children’s Center, doing home-based family therapy interventions with families in their homes. I would drive my car all over the city, meeting with families and learning about their styles of living.
I eventually opened my own clinical practice and have been offering individual, couples, and group therapy for over 20 years. It has been my privilege to assist hundreds of people in their personal growth processes.
Currently, I am in full-time private practice in Houston with individuals 12 and over, elders, and couples, and I periodically offer group therapy. I also was honored to serve on the board of the Houston Association of Marriage and Family Therapy as their 2013 President.
Artist – Blake Gray Barry, Age 9
Crossing the finish line at the Denver 2009 Marathon
On a personal note, I have several creative pursuits. I have always loved music and was a student of the piano and vocal-performance for many years. I have performed with the Houston Symphony Chorus, as well as other solo performances. Today, I also play the guitar, harmonica and mandolin for fun.
I grew up on a working cattle ranch, so I’ve had a very diverse life experience with a cowboy father and a mother who is both a musician and a fine artist.
I love to cook, especially Italian family recipes and anything healthy. I spend some of my spare time knitting, crocheting and Tunisian-stitching to make everything from socks to afghans. I am an amateur marathon-walker who is also an avid fan of beautiful flowers and plants, college sports, art, music, but mostly — people — and always at the top of my list, the many members of my own family and extended family of friends.
My favorite ukulele
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© 2017 River Oaks Family Therapy