how I can help

First and foremost, I am a relational therapist. This means that I offer my genuine and compassionate presence as I work collaboratively in an organic and unique process with each client. 

We live in a society that still does not welcome true vulnerability and often leaves us feeling like we have to face painful things (and even celebrate positive things) alone. We shouldn’t. In my personal experience as a therapy client and in the mental health field over the years, I have come to learn what I have always known in my gut: human connection is healing, and this is a lot of the reason why therapy helps.

Because of this, I challenge the conventional, medical model of psychotherapy which is rooted in seeing therapists as experts and their clients as patients with a disorder that needs to be cured. I do not see humans this way. People are way too beautifully complex and interesting for that. I understand the human condition in a holistic, strengths-based way - each of us is adaptive, resilient, and got to where we are for a reason. 

 

I genuinely invest in my clients and deeply honor the trust and bond that occurs in therapy.

pillars of my therapeutic approach:
 

  1. starting with a humanistic, existential foundation: I believe you are the expert on your own life and that you have the answers within you. We will work to uncover the strength and wisdom that you naturally have. Connecting with your truth, listening deeply to the wisdom of your emotions, and practicing self-compassion will help you learn to navigate the hard stuff with a sense of clarity, cultivate fulfilling relationships, and build a meaningful and authentic life. 

  2. conceptualizing via parts work and narrative therapy: We will explore and examine all of the internalized messages, narratives, and beliefs you have about yourself, others, and the world that have developed over time as a way to make sense of your life and experiences. We will spend time learning about how these narratives have helped you in the past, and challenge what isn’t helping anymore. We will explore the various parts of yourself that show up in different contexts, and help them learn to work together in a more balanced way. We will be genuinely curious about all of you - where you've come from, who you are today, and all of the possibilities within you.

  3. seeing your experience through a feminist therapy lens: It is impossible to explore a human’s experience without understanding the systemic context that has shaped them. We will look at the way our society’s structures and systems have impacted you and the ways that your self-understanding connects to the categories and roles that were assigned to you. Systemic oppression is traumatic and we will give it the attention and care that it needs, and work towards a sense of freedom and authenticity. 

  4. always considering the research of interpersonal neurobiology and polyvagal theory These theories focus on how our relationships and interpersonal interactions shape our brain, and subsequently how our brain communicates with our body, nervous system, and emotional center. Sometimes it can be helpful to understand what is happening in our mind/body when we are activated or distressed and what we need in coping with that. We will look at the ways your significant relationships impacted your entire system from as early as when you were born. It can also be helpful to know that we can change our brains, and we can explore how to work towards the changes you want. These concepts are always running in the background for me and I love to discuss it with clients who are interested or find it helpful.

  5. possibly integrating the EMDR process: EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) Therapy is a trauma treatment intervention that involves reprocessing traumatic memories while engaging in bilateral stimulation (such as your eyes following an object back and forth or holding buzzers in your hands). This helps the brain accelerate its natural integration process by connecting both halves of the brain - left hemisphere (the more logical, rational brain) and the right hemisphere (the more emotional, abstract brain) and helping them work together to move what is stuck in trauma and reduce the triggering qualities of internalized memories or experiences. We may decide together that it makes sense to try this.

other values I bring to my work:

  • I’m queer, trans, non-binary informed and affirming.

  • I’m wholeheartedly a body-positive practitioner.

  • I’m committed to educating myself about the issues faced by all marginalized and oppressed groups including Black and Indigenous womxn and people of color, people with disabilities, immigrants and refugees, the LGBTQ+ community, religious minorities, people in larger bodies, womxn, and at-risk youth. My office is a safe space for you. 

  • While I am not an expert in the area, I am 100% poly and non-monogamy affirming.

  • I question the construct of “mental illness,” and do not diagnose unless there is a clear reason it will be helpful to you.  My priority, first and foremost, is your personal sense of health, wellness, and meaning - not what society prescribed for you or the categories that others/the world might want you to fit into.  

  • I am deeply empathetic to a point that I often tear up with my clients, which usually means I am feeling really present with what is being shared. 

  • I will definitely laugh with you. Therapy doesn't always have to be serious.

Contact Me

2325 E. Burnside, Suite 204

Portland, Oregon 97214

971.266.3731

© 2016 by Emily Berry