I have been a psychotherapist since 1983 and moved into private practice in 1986. Having worked at the Trauma Center in Boston for 6 years, I became a trauma specialist. I took EMDR trainings 1 and 2, committed to working more effectively. I learned early on that insight/talk therapy only takes clients so far. Understanding cognitively wasn’t enough.
Debra’s work with PTSD has been revised from the previous expressive work to a gentler way of working. Using Somatic Experiencing, she teaches clients to focus on sensations in the body. The fight or flight reaction is the natural response to traumatic events. For most adults with PTSD, they have had the third response of freeze, which means holding the trauma in their nervous system. The content is less important in doing this work, with more attention on energy in the body.
The use of EMDR, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is also extremely effective at working on traumatic stress and clearing it out of the nervous system. It contains aspects of many effective therapies, including psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, interpersonal, experiential, and body-centered therapies. By use of its 8 phased structured protocols, including the bi-lateral stimulation of the brain, distorted beliefs of shame-based childhood trauma is effectively released. Debra has also effectively used EMDR for clients with phobias, depression, and performance enhancement.
Debra integrates her work with Somatic Experiencing and EMDR to aide her clients at accessing the stuck/frozen trauma in the nervous system. Somatic Experiencing works with the nervous system, where trauma has caused a freeze state. SE is a gentle way of guiding clients to describe sensations and work with lowering activation.
Couples’ Counseling/Marriage Counseling
Debra’s work with couples is active and engaged. She teaches mindfulness in relationship, drawing from Buddhism, Non-Violent Communication, and Interpersonal Effectiveness skills (from Dialectical Behavioral Treatment). Debra has worked effectively with couples on intimacy issues, with compassion and humor. She has now integrated Somatic Experiencing into her couple’s work, guiding each partner to notice and describe a felt sense of their feelings.
For many years, Debra has run trauma groups for women. The groups usually run from 6 months to a year, providing needed validation and support for women struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. They have been experiential, utilizing psychodrama and bioenergetics. They would begin with a daylong workshop, providing structured exercises. Sharing their stories, women were introduced to each other. A shared safety was established, along with a natural bond that was long-lastinig.
Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/and Transgendered Community
Debra has always worked with the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered community, offering empowerment and compassionate listening.
Debra reflects her understanding and awareness of the cultural issues, oppression, and their impact on relationships with self, as well as with others. Diverse sexual orientations are validated and understood. The gender queer community is welcome.contact Debra: Debra@heartcenteredpsychotherapy.net
or call her at 413-320-6813