I offer individual adult psychotherapy, currently via telehealth only.
I offer both long-term and brief (solution-focused) therapy, in English or Czech.
How I Practice Therapy
It's challenging to condense one's practice of therapy into a few words. Sometimes a metaphor or an aphorism does a better job. The two that resonate with me when I try to convey what guides my practice are the metaphor of "clearing and growing" and an aphorism attributed to Marcus Aurelius: "The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit. The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are."
"Clearing and Growing": Therapy usually involves a mixture of both. At times there is focus on 'clearing', as we try to resolve, understand and come to terms with some difficult event from the past, or reduce painful symptoms that interfere with our enjoyment of life (anxiety, depression). At times there is focus on 'growing', as we acquire and practice new attitudes and skills, and as we actively work on transforming patterns of beliefs and behavior so we can make more satisfying choices in life. While I believe that therapy can be very helpful, even life-saving at times, I don't think therapy is a way of life. To this end, my work with my clients tends to be focused more on how to make things better in the future, rather than on an exclusive focus on the past. Of course, we may need to look at our past, so that "history does not repeat itself", but an understanding of the past must be combined with the development of skills to achieve a more satisfying future.
"The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit. The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are": This quote resonates with me because it captures two of the essential principles of mindfulness: clearing of the mind, accomplished by the concentration practice of mindfulness, and gaining greater clarify about our internal experience, accomplished through the mindful awareness component of the practice. Both of these are important if we want to make changes in our lives.
Therapy as a Process of Empathic Exploration
I view therapy as a collaborative process of exploration of the clients' emotional experiences and reactions. Over time, this emotion-focused approach helps identify fundamental emotional needs, and provides a guide for how to meet these needs. Sometimes this involves making internal changes (attitudes, belief systems, how we react to particular situations or events). Sometimes it involves changing the environment, for example, finding a more fulfilling relationship or job.
I bring to this exploratory process an attitude of compassionate curiosity and non-judgment (two of the "attitudes of mindfulness"). My therapeutic work is also informed by over 15 years of research in computational affective science, which focused on computational models of the mechanisms mediating affective biases. (If you'd like to find out more about my former career, you can go to Psychometrix Associates
Type of Therapy I Practice
My primary approach is emotion-focused therapy, but I also incorporate many elements from mindfulness-based therapy (especially the "attitudes of mindfulness" and metta exercises), metacognitive therapy, motivational interviewing and psychodynamic therapy.
While my focus is not on cognitive-behavioral therapy, or dialectical behavior therapy, I incorporate specific techniques from both as appropriate (for example, cognitive restructuring).
My Personal Background
In terms of relevant personal background: I emigrated to the US from the Czech Republic when I was 13. This experience enables me to work effectively with bi-cultural clients, and with clients dealing with immigration / acculturation issues.
Because of my former research career in affective science and artificial intelligence, I can also work well with clients coming from technical and research backgrounds.
Please call or email 413-341-6689 firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment,
or for an free 20 minute phone consultation.
409 Main St., Suite 250, Amherst, MA
6-8 Crafts Ave., Suite 2R, Northampton, MA