My Philosophy of Psychotherapy
Machines break down and need to be repaired. Living beings, on the other hand, heal…
And as long as we are alive, we have within our very beings this most profound wisdom that is constantly working towards our survival, our healing, and our growth.
I believe that nearly all of us lose contact with this innate wisdom from time to time, and I believe that one of my most important roles is supporting you in reconnecting with your own wisdom and authentic aliveness. Together, we will create a safe, supportive, and nonjudgmental space for you to rediscover your authentic self and explore the reasons you may sometimes lose touch with it.
A Person Centred Approach
In my role as a psychotherapist, I see myself not as an authoritarian “expert” running the show, but as a highly trained guide facilitating your journey. I believe there is no one who knows your own experiences as well as you, and ultimately, there is no wisdom higher than that of your own authentic self in knowing exactly what you need to heal and move towards a rich and meaningful life. I hold the highest respect for the wisdom of your authentic self, and I will work with you in complete collaboration to help you reconnect with this wisdom.
Psychotherapy Is a Journey of Self Discovery
I believe that, more than anything else, psychotherapy is a journey of self discovery. I believe that effective psychotherapy requires a willingness to explore ourselves deeply, both those places of joy and ease and those places that have been wounded. As your guide in this journey, I will support you in cultivating an ever increasing sense of curiosity and self acceptance, while also honoring your own pace in this journey.
The Importance of Direct Experience
I believe that there is significant value in discussing your challenges and offering myself as a mirror by reflecting what is going on for you and even offering alternative interpretations at times. However, I believe that, for most people, the most effective psychotherapy occurs when diving directly into the waters of your experience, exploring it directly rather than through the often distorted lens of our interpretations. I will routinely suggest that we ground our exploration in direct experience, using the modalities mentioned below combined with the use of mindfulness, which is an evidence-based practice that offers a very powerful yet gentle gateway into present experience
Mind / Body / Spirit Holism
I believe very much in the interconnectedness of all aspects of our beings–that our minds, our bodies, our spirits, and our relationships with others are all very closely related, and that problems in one area are likely to lead to problems in others.
Therefore, I take a holistic approach as we work together to explore the root causes of the challenges you face, and to develop strategies for addressing these challenges. I utilize a wide array of approaches to aid us in this exploration, including:
Ecological: Most of us can recognise that regular connection with the natural world is important for our wellbeing. But even beyond this, connection with nature (including the Earth, her many living systems, and our fellow Earthlings) can provide a very powerful method for supporting the process of psychological healing. One of the ways we can work is by venturing out into nature in various ways to facilitate the therapy process.
Existential: Let’s face it. The mere fact of being alive, of existing in the world as a living being with so many needs, can be very difficult for all of us at times. I believe there are certain dilemmas that we all share, such as finding meaning, facing death, finding a balance between love and autonomy, and finding a balance between safety and freedom. Having explored these dilemmas deeply in my own life and having trained extensively in existential psychology, together we can look at the strategies you use to face these kinds of dilemmas, and explore the ways that these strategies may or may not be serving you.
Somatic: Trauma and overwhelming and/or confusing emotions are often held in our body, and the exploration of sensations, impulses, and posture can be a surprisingly effective method for accessing these feelings and working with them directly. I have extensive training in a variety of somatically oriented therapies, and therefore many tools to assist us in this kind of exploration.
Imaginal: The realm of imagination can offer us another powerful access route into our challenging feelings and experiences. I have extensive training in using expressive arts, facilitating guided imagery, and working with dreams, all of which are effective ways to access the imaginal realm.
Cognitive/Behavioural: There are times when our own thoughts (cognition) and behaviours can cause us a lot of suffering. I have extensive training in a number of different methods that can support you in disentangling yourself from these kinds of painful experiences. These include the use of mindfulness in various ways, exposure therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and other forms of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
Transpersonal: While many people have difficulty with organized religions or even the term “spirituality,” I think most of us would agree that we are not utterly isolated beings, but are profoundly connected to others and even the world at large. Many go through life without ever feeling more than a whisper of this deeper connection. Others connect with this experience so profoundly at times that they are overcome by awe and sometimes even terror. At times, we may find it helpful to look more closely at your relationship with the transpersonal, and with extensive training in transpersonal psychology, I have the tools necessary to create a safe and open space for this kind of exploration while not imposing my own experiences and understandings.
Formal Therapeutic Modalities I Incorporate:
- Humanistic Psychotherapy
- Somatic Psychotherapy
- Existential Psychotherapy
- Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
- Transpersonal Psychotherapy
- Expressive Arts Therapy
- Attachment Theory
- Hakomi Mindful Somatic Psychotherapy
- Somatic Experiencing
- Sensorimotor Psychotherapy
- Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR)
- Internal Family Systems (IFS)
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples (EFT)
- Motivational Interviewing (for addiction)
- Nonviolent Communication (NVC)