At the heart of my theoretical orientation is a set of principles which underlie all aspects of my work. I’ve drawn these principles from my own experience as both a practitioner and recipient of various health and healing modalities and specific theoretical orientations such as Bio-Energetic Analysis, Hakomi Method, Positive Psychology and Existential Humanistic Psychotherapy.
“Insist on yourself. Never imitate.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
As your therapist, my work is driven by your goals and needs and my approach is to engage in a collaborative process with you to address your concerns and objectives in a manner that is effective and feels safe. I achieve this through listening and working together as equals using both inquiry and experiential exercises. Each client’s desires and experience is absolutely unique and I am honored to work with each of them as they heal and grow.
“The body never lies.” – Martha Graham
I have a holistic approach to working with my clients that takes into account the fundamental unity of mind and body. Body psychotherapy helps us deal with our concerns not only through talking, but also by helping us become deeply aware of our bodily sensations as well as our emotions, images and behavior. My approach to healing reflects my view of the body and mind as a dynamic integrated organic system in constant relationship with its environment. The feelings and emotions that arise from the body are an integral part of our experience of life but are often repressed or cut off. Working with the body in psychotherapy opens up a wealth of options for understanding, experiencing and healing that conventional talk therapy is often unable to tap.
“Life is relationship.” – George Moscona
Our experience of life consists of a series of relationships. Put another way, life is relationship. In our culture we tend to think of relationships as specific relationships between people, and this is one form of relationship, but we also have ways of relating to everything we encounter in life such as our jobs, physical objects, specific situations, our pets, our families, our bodies, ideas and belief patterns. My work encourages you to observe your relationships and, if desired, develop new ways of being in relationship that allow for a deeper, richer more joyful experience of life.
“Healing is not a science, but the intuitive art of wooing nature.” – W. H. Auden
Organicity refers to the process of creation, maintenance and evolution of living systems. As living beings we are naturally predisposed to heal ourselves as a response to wounding and as an act of self re-creation and evolution. In modern western culture often we lose sight of our natural ability to heal and rely too heavily on attempts to use medicine to “fix” our symptoms which doesn’t address their root cause and often retards the ability of our body and psyche to heal and develop naturally. I have a deep respect for the healing power of the individual and in my work I look for and follow your natural healing processes to aid in your healing and growth.
“To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.” – Lao Tzu
The principle of mindfulness asserts the preference for consciousness and taking the time to study experience before taking action. Mindfulness allows us to create change through awareness rather than effort. Mindfulness is inward focused observation of our present experience without interfering with it. Mindful observation allows us to bring experiences to light so we can understand them deeply and respond to them consciously.
“Beyond right and wrong is a field. I’ll meet you there.” – Rumi
The principle of relativity asserts that there are no “good” or “bad” people, feelings, thoughts or actions but rather that people will attempt to meet their needs the best way they can manage given their environment, resources and circumstances. From this perspective all feelings, thoughts and actions are adaptive and serve a purpose. Problems tend to arise when environment, resources, circumstances or fear do not allow people to have their needs met and develop to their full potential or do not prepare them adequately to adapt to a new environment. This requires them to resort to unhealthy or maladaptive attempts to get their needs met. As a therapist my approach to behavior or beliefs that impede my clients is to be supportive and nonjudgemental and look for and address the underlying needs and core beliefs.
“The purpose of psychotherapy is to set people free.” – Rollo May
A strengths based approach to psychotherapy achieves outcomes through utilizing and increasing your asset’s rather than focusing primarily on deficits. Being strengths based means that I focus on the skills, knowledge, insight and strategies that are working in your life as much as the challenges you face. Looking at what is working allows us to see opportunities for growth and development, utilize strengths that you already have at your disposal and increase the likelihood of accomplishing your goals. You and I will work together to find past and present successes and use these strengths to address the challenges you face. Much of the strengths based approach is also about learning a new perspective. Instead of projecting what can go wrong, we focus on what can go right which positively effects the outcome. Observing the positive implications of a situation improves your life experience, creates learning opportunities out of setbacks and improves your odds of success in overcoming challenges.
“Every human being is the author of his own health or disease.” – Buddha
We are responsible for creating our own values and meanings in life as well as for the choices we make in life and the results of those choices. At any point we are free to make different choices and re-invent ourselves. Being able to choose is to be constantly in touch with our potentiality. Often this responsibility feels like too much of a burden and so we pretend we do not have a choice and are not responsible for what happens in our life and in the world. This delusion robs us of our power and our ability to create the life we want. Everyone has the freedom to choose how they are going to be in life. Grappling with this reality requires strength and courage to choose our personal life-meaning, acknowledge our responsibility for our lives and act in accordance with our will.
“Become who you are.” – Friedrich Nietzche
As human beings, we are mortal. This knowledge, while frightening, is also invigorating because it makes our immediate existence more meaningful and motivates us to take full advantage of the time we have. In my work I support my clients in the unfolding of their lives into a greater and greater sense of joy and fulfillment. This focus on helping my clients to live life fully allows me to work with clients to further their development beyond the point of being conventionally “healthy” and to work towards ever increasing levels of self understanding, relatedness and developing greater appreciation, wonder, awe, inspiration and pleasure in their experience of life.