Approach to Psychotherapy

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

In psychodynamic therapy, therapists help people gain insight into how their life experience influences their present day struggles. The way in which we experience relationships from our earliest and most dependent years forms our beliefs about ourselves and others, and how we respond to feeling vulnerable or uncertain in times of change. We cannot selectively numb our feelings. The wall that keeps  the pain out (or in), also keeps out the joy, our connection with others, and the peace of mind that are achievable with free emotional range.

At times in life, that wall is a necessary protection, the loss of happiness is a necessary sacrifice. But when we flee our vulnerability we lose our full capacity for feeling real emotion. 

It may not be possible to go back and change the past, but it’s never too late to create a new beginning. 

In the safe and compassionate relationship of therapy, together with your therapist, you become able to recognize, work through and resolve those dynamics that are limiting you today, the reasons that brought to seek therapy in the first place. It may be too late to change the past, but it’s never too late to create a new beginning. 

Compassionate Inquiry

 Compassionate Inquiry, developed by Dr Gabor Maté, is a psychotherapeutic process focusing in on recognizing the core stories that we tell ourselves from our life experiences. Most of these beliefs come from early and necessary adaptations to difficult life circumstances and continue to limit us, unconsciously.

Nearly all of our dysfunctional dynamics are about this adaptation, the implicit beliefs and assumptions in what we are telling ourselves unconsciously about what is true.

Unwittingly, we write the story of our future from narratives based on the past…

“The greatest damage done by painful developmental damage, or emotional insecurities is not the immediate pain they inflict but the long-term distortions they induce in the way a developing child will continue to interpret the world and her situation in it. All too often these implicit beliefs become self-fulfilling prophecies in our lives. Unwittingly, we write the story of our future from narratives based on the past…” Gabor Maté,

Inquiry with compassion for all of who we are… with compassion and deeper understanding, we become more able to let go of the hold those stories have on us. We become freer to move forward … that’s what compassionate inquiry offers.

Internal Family Systems

The view of Internal Family Systems therapy, developed by Dr. Richard Schwartz, is that our inner world as a natural system of parts and works directly with these parts to heal them. Our minds develop in parts that once reacted to painful circumstances in childhood, where dependency without choice was necessary. We are highly sensitive to the emotional experiences of early life.  In adult life, these parts continue to try to protect us from  feeling vulnerability at all costs, or criticize us without mercy… resulting in symptoms of anxiety, depression, reactive anger or avoidance, and extreme sensitivity to uncertainty.

Also within us, however, is an innate presence that cannot be destroyed, a Self part that is curious, calm, clear, connected, confident, courageous, creative and compassionate. 

Internal to you and guided by the therapist, we facilitate the Self to establish a trusting relationship with wounded parts, in order to heal and release the burdens they still carry.  As this happens, your whole inner system of parts comes into greater harmony and symptoms can now resolve.

Mindfulness and meditation practice

Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to your experience, in the present, on purpose, without interpretation or judgment. Mindfulness is both a way of experiencing life and a simple form of meditation that lowers reactivity, steadies awareness, and develops receptivity without resistance for challenging circumstances.With more mindful awareness, choices for responding to life expand and open.

As awareness grows, more often than not feelings of gratitude and appreciation develop, creativity and resilience grow stronger, and a sense of greater peace within comes about that supports you. There arises an inner steadiness that supports your life changes.

As a life-long student of mindfulness and meditation practice, I have had the blessing of learning from Thich Nhat Hanh, Daido John Loori, and Jon Kabat-Zinn.  Under the Meditation tab you will find many 10 minute guided mindfulness meditations for your use.