WHY I BECAME A PSYCHOLOGIST
I grew up on a farm in a politically charged environment in Germany. One of my parents was politically active -in a party that was not popular in my hometown- until I turned 19. Two of my uncles were politically active in two different parties. The country re-united when I was 14. During and after World War II, my family had hosted refugees. Following the war, my family was recruited to actively collaborate with the Allied forces in order to rebuild the country and agricultural infrastructure. Other influences from World War II (e.g., a high rate of alcoholism and other addictions, Complex Post Traumatic Stress from unprocessed war stories) still shaped the German culture that I grew up in.
I had started a career in investment banking (mainly to do something productive while I tried to figure out what I truly wanted to do with my life). It puzzled me to see that people (even those owning the private bank I was working at) would not work up to capacity. So I enrolled in a psychology program where I learned hat pervasive stress/trauma from the past can cause the brain to become over- or under aroused and can show up as anxiety, depression, anger, attention deficit and hyperactivity as well as somatic symptoms such as insomnia and physical pain.
Studying and working hard were virtues I grew up with, and those behaviors helped me work through my schooling but also opened my eyes to so called “process addictions”.
That is, the reward center in the brain works overtime when an active addiction is present. The reward center can go in overdrive through a substance (e.g., alcohol, pain killers). Also, a process such as working too much or too little, online activities (from gaming to social media), sexuality, eating can be addictive. Additionally, relationship qualities can be addictive (e.g., rescuing people, having friends with drama, looking good to the world). Last but not least, I learned that even intense emotions (e.g., stirred up from psychological and political drama) can be addictive and thereby undermine true intimacy in relationships.
Since we studied a lot of psychological research that was conducted in the United States, I became curious and ended up doing my required internships in the United States (in an Investment Bank and at the United Nations in New York City). I dealt with the influences of my past by studying them in school and in and doing my own individual therapy. My psychology classes, continuing education and my personal therapy helped me to work through my issues.
MY CURRENT PRACTICE
As a psychologist, I work with individuals and couples on their emotional and relationship problems, helping them resolve issues from the past that are affecting their present. Please know that I would like to help you find answers to your questions. In turn, those answers will allow you to resolve the impact of the influences that shaped you. As a result, you will no longer be defined by what shaped you.
For trauma and emotional issues, I help clients explore and resolve their old hurts. I use EMDR therapy protocols, cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, and strategies of dialectical behavioral therapy in my work. Many clients find a customized combination of these protocols effective in resolving their issues. In particular, I help clients re-train their brains using guided imagery, bilateral stimulation, and other ways of feedback to calm their brains’ arousal, thereby alleviating their mood, behavior, and somatic symptoms.