Over the years, Alex has done clinical research into adult development, family systems, and social psychology. Her therapeutic approach, although heavily influenced by family systems theory, is not an excavation into the past in an attempt to understand current forces in client’s lives. “I see almost all patterns and symptoms systemically and socially,” she says. “I attempt to understand what the client defines as ‘problematic’ in relationship to the people, the roles, and the social forces operating in their lives. However, the responsibility to change one’s experience in life always rests within the individual.” She adds, “A key organizing principle of what I do is based on this assumption: To reconnect with or find joy requires getting in touch with the core of Self and finding the courage and ability to Self express through structures clients have to take full responsibility for creating. The ultimate experience of this freedom requires the ability to freely and deliberately create new structures, let go of the outdated and inauthentic ones, as well as the ability to maintain the essential ones through adaptation.” But her biggest gift is translating these complex psychotherapeutic issues into easily understandable and compelling language to those who come to see her.

Aside from family systems theory, Dr. Burmeister also relies on contributions from the fields of narrative psychology (attending to the stories that form one’s identity and influences symptoms), cognitive-behavioral theory (shifting personal experience via attention to belief systems and behavioral patterns), and existential theory (humanizing and managing the anxieties inherent in the life experience and the creation of meaning). Dr. Burmeister has also studied and trained in East/Asian systems of mind/body healing and stress management.