Our Western society often prioritizes individualism and independence, and yet scholars, sages, and everyday people agree that it’s our relationships and connections that make us most happy. I learned this first hand as I traveled to other countries and felt a different energy and mindset- one focused on prioritizing relationships over typical factors that are often used to measure success. If you are interested in improving your mental health, I commend you, first of all, for having the courage to reach out and connect with someone for help rather than simply trying to solve it yourself. It’s about time we start embracing our interdependence!
I work with teens, adults, couples, and families to help them understand, navigate and take action to improve mental health symptoms of anxiety, depression, and ADHD. I also work with relationship issues and can help individuals or couples to find their internal strengths in order to make external changes and express themselves. Sometimes feelings and emotions are overwhelming and leave you feeling lost without much hope. One of the biggest issues, verified by research studies, is that we often feel a sense of being alone as we navigate these difficult thoughts and feelings. With a spirit of collaboration and interdependence, you can find a new way to navigate the world and reconnect with yourself and others.
My Clinical Approach
I work collaboratively with a metabolic approach to mental health. I have been inspired by the work of Dr. Christopher Palmer at Harvard, and I now work on his team to spread the message of metabolic health and how it can be a direct intervention point for many mental health symptoms. In this approach, we look at simple things that many therapists don’t talk about including diet, exercise, and sleep. These have tons of research showing their importance and how closely they relate to mental health, so I feel that they have to be looked at for therapy to be truly holistic. We also look at your relationships, sense of belonging, daily practices like meditation and yoga, and your relationship with technology, discussing and planning how to make technology a tool versus a device.
I prioritize taking a deep look into the structures and habits of your life and start there as an entry point to improving mental health. One might call it research-based lifestyle design! It takes effort and work, but it often can be a huge key to making lasting, foundational changes.
In conjunction with this metabolic health approach, I incorporate narrative therapy, Internal Family Systems, and experiential therapy. These all can work well together and help to externalize your thoughts, sensations, and feelings. Narrative therapy involves rewriting your past narratives, and is often facilitated using pictures, writing, and sand tray activities. These allow the subconscious parts of you to speak and be heard in order to bring about harmony and healing. The Internal Family Systems model also works with speaking to parts of you and healing internal conflict, which is why it integrates so nicely with narrative therapy. And experiential therapy involves moving beyond talking and actually experiencing new thought patterns and emotions in the therapy room, which can be a powerful step towards integrating these new patterns into your daily life.
Collaboration is Key
My approach is collaborative, meaning at the end of the day your input and intuition is important to the therapy process. I will frequently ask which of the factors and techniques above you feel are resonating the best, and that will inform what we spend the most time on. One of the biggest things to know about mental health is that you’re not alone. These days many people struggle with anxiety, depression, ADHD, and more. You are not alone and there are others out there that want to connect and help you in your journey.
I look forward to getting to know you and collaborating to bring about positive change!
I started my professional life as a filmmaker, and I had strong artistic influences from my family. After owning a small film production company first in D.C. and then in L.A., I switched careers and became a teacher. I really liked working with students and helping them grow holistically, not just in their academic knowledge. I would incorporate life lessons when possible and valued the community and energy of my classroom. Becoming a therapist was a natural progression for me, and allows me to further focus on self-development and healing.
I also have a background in sports, including as a competitive runner. I competed in high school and on the cross country and track teams at University of Maryland.
I embrace these rich experiences and draw on them to inform my work with clients.
Mike works under the direct supervision of Isabel Kirk, LPC in VA and Jennifer Wilson, LCSW in MD.