My theoretical orientation is an integrative approach that pulls strongly from experiential expressive therapies that incorporate the whole person. This means that I balance cognitive based skills building modalities with art, or somatic, based interventions aimed at addressing fundamental needs at a cognitive, physical, emotional, and spiritual level. Depending on the person I am working with, I may emphasize one modality over another to best meet what you are needing.

Art Psychotherapy

Art psychotherapy is used as a method to contact unknown, or unconscious, urges, needs, desires, or relational patterns that may be influencing current life events. It can also be utilized to develop strengths and resources that may be out of reach otherwise.   Art-based interventions are utilized to support accessing emotional states in healthy ways, assessing what may be a beneficial direction to head in therapy, and to provide a concrete image of the “felt sense” of a problem or conflict.   This image can then be altered, added to, or experimented with to practice new ways of relating to self, others, and image patterns. This internal process can often shift external life relationships as well. For more information about art therapy, feel free to check out the American Art Therapy Association’s website and/or the Art Therapy Association of Colorado’s website.

Somatic Psychotherapy- Sensorimotor Psychotherapy

Somatic-based interventions are utilized to support a greater sense of self or emotional awareness. Or, to support trauma resolution. These interventions may also be used to process an unresolved internal body memory or conflict that may be inhibiting further growth and expansion. Body-tracking modalities (mindfulness, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, breathing practices, body scans, and similar “felt sense” approaches) are some of the ways that the body is used to support connecting to these internal sensations, identifying them, and moving through them in a supported gentle process. To learn about upcoming trainings and the modality, please see the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy website.

EMDR Therapy- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

EMDR Therapy is an evidence-based therapeutic trauma treatment approach developed by Francine Shapiro. It is theorized that our brain and nervous system strive for integration and healing after trauma, though sometimes can become blocked in processing when overwhelmed (such as when a traumatic event occurs). EMDR Therapy is used to reactivate the nervous system in order to finish processing a trauma memory in a supported environment. The trauma memories can then be stored in a more adaptive manner, providing relief from ongoing disruptive trauma symptoms for many people. I completed my training with the Maiberger Institute in Colorado. The founder, Francine Shapiro, also provides an outline of the 8 phases of EMDR Therapy on her EMDR Therapy website.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy & Skills Building

Practical skills-based modalities are incorporated for individuals who are interested in gaining concrete interpersonal and emotional skills for improving their lives and relationships. Aiya is trained in dialectical behavior therapy, motivational interviewing, solution-focused brief counseling, and mindfulness-based interventions to support individuals in reducing life chaos, stress, and obtaining more fulfilling relationships dynamics. These skills are brought into long-term counseling as needed, often integrating the above modalities. Please note that Aiya does not offer DBT groups at this time.

Cultural Humility & Relevance in Relationship

Context is important within the process of psychotherapy. I understand that each individual is coming from a unique culture and background. This includes race, ethnicity, nationality, religious or spiritual beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability or disability, and socioeconomic status. I have been involved in multiple projects to promote inclusivity; continually educating myself on how these dynamics can influence the therapeutic relationship. I utilize “broaching” to discuss how these dynamics may be playing out in a person’s life. This involves an open conversation about fears, concerns, desires, and limitations in society, or therapy. I hold, that though I have specific psychotherapy training in modalities that are often useful for people of diverse backgrounds, each individual is an expert on his, her, or their own life circumstances. Collaboration and open conversations are important to build a trusting, safe, and accurately reflective therapeutic relationship.

With this being said, the therapeutic relationship is the most important factor in a successful outcome in psychotherapy. An optimistic, strengths based, relational approach is important to cultivate to allow for an experience of deep connection and healing. Humanistic perspectives believe that each individual has the capacity, desire, and urge to move towards (or uncover) whole-ness and health. I see that my work in this relationship is to support a person in accessing their own inner healing process and creating a space for this to unfold.