Dr. Hoekstra

Meet Diane M. Hoekstra, PhD

Dr. Hoekstra’s model of psychotherapy is based on Attachment Theory, which emphasizes the need for a secure, safe relationship in order to heal and grow. Dr. Hoekstra works from a somatic perspective, focusing on the present moment experience of the patient in the room, including their thoughts, feelings and their experience in their body.

Dr. Hoekstra specializes in treating adults and adolescents with a variety of presenting concerns, including depression, anxiety, relationship issues, parenting concerns, eating disorders and a history of trauma. She works with patients in individual therapy and does parenting consultation with parents.

She recognizes healing can occur on many levels (physical body, emotions, sense of self, or spiritual) and with different modalities, depending on the client’s needs. She works collaboratively with holistic, mind-body practitioners and integrative medicine practices. She particularly enjoys working with clients on spiritual exploration in their healing process.

Training and Experience

Dr. Hoekstra received her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Virginia in 1991 and has been licensed to practice in Virginia since 1993. She has been in private practice since 2003, with a particular emphasis on individual psychotherapy. She is currently seeking certification as an advanced practitioner with the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute, a state-of-the-art, comprehensive model for psychotherapy, which combines “talk therapy” with exploration of the somatic experience in the body. This approach applies to most up-to-date neuro-science findings to understanding how healing occurs in psychotherapy. Dr. Hoekstra works with survivors of childhood trauma as well as survivors of trauma experienced in adulthood, utilizing this model of psychotherapy.

Dr. Hoekstra has also studied Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for couples, an approach which is based on Attachment Theory which involves understanding the nature of bonding and relationships in adulthood. She has completed Core Skills Training in EFT and two years of Advanced Core Skills Training at the Washington Baltimore Center for Emotionally Focused Therapy (WBCEFT) in Falls Church, Virginia. She is lifetime member of the International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy (ICEEFT).

Dr. Hoekstra is also a Registered Parent Educator with the Circle of Security International. This model provides a brilliant, user-friendly educational program on parenting. It is based on the extensive research performed on the nature of parent-child relationships in the field of Attachment Theory. Dr. Hoekstra has extensive experience working with adolescents and children in acute and long-term residential settings. She worked for over 9 years at Graydon Manor, a long-term psychiatric residential setting for children and adolescents. There she provided individual, group, and family psychotherapy, as well as serving as the director of treatment teams.

Dr. Hoekstra has also worked in Arlington County Public Schools as a clinical psychologist in the Interlude Program. She also provided psychotherapy and supervision of graduate students for over 3 years at The Women’s Center in Vienna, Virginia.

Member

  • American Psychological Association
  • Virginia Academy of Clinical Psychologists
  • Northern Virginia Academy of Clinical Psychologists
    • Former Vice-president and Continuing Education Committee Chair 2010-2014
    • Current Community and Media Relations Chair
  • International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy
  • Give-an-Hour Volunteer Provider for Members of the Military and their families
  • Therapist--Fairfax County System of Care Office Short Term Behavioral Health Service for Youth (STBHY)

My journey as a clinician

My road to studying psychology and becoming a therapist has been one of intense learning and transformation. As a young clinician, the field of attachment theory spoke to my heart on many levels. Here was a theory of development that gave voice to what I knew to be true at a deep level—that children need their parents to create safety and security—and that we (ALL OF US) need each other as a haven from the difficulties we inevitably face.

In fact, we function best and have the reserves to meet those trials---when we have strong and reliable connections—to our parents, to our partners, to our friends, to our own children and/or to our communities. Life is richer—and experienced more deeply—when these connections are in place. Somehow, the assurance that we can work things out when we are in times of distress, or experiencing disconnection, and separation, makes all the difference...no longer do we need to try to be perfect or always get along with our loved one(s).

We do not have to suffer as much. Because REPAIR is possible. HEALING is possible. As I has matured, I was drawn to study and practice models of therapy which revolve around attachment theory---Circle of Security Parenting Program, Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, and Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders—all have in common a central focus on the impact of attachment on individuals, couples and families. At its most basic level, attachment theory says that when our initial attachments go well and our parents are emotionally available and meet our needs, we develop a core security which is reflected in our own sense of well-being and in our relationships. This core security can actually positive impact others we meet and have relationships with throughout life.

When our initial attachments are not secure and our needs are not reliably met, we do not have the experience of that internal security---that template is not there for us—and it makes living, being, loving and parenting more complicated and sometimes painful. It is so hard to create what you have not experienced. Fortunately, our brains can grow and change throughout our lifetimes and hope is not lost. In the field of psychotherapy, healing old attachment wounds can create "earned security" and we can learn to feel and embody security, repair, and growth.

THAT is what my practice is dedicated to---making a contribution to human (body, mind and soul) innate, natural and universal tendency toward healing, growth, repair and connection.

Dealing with depression, anxiety, relationship issues or parenting concerns?