Approach to Psychotherapy

 My approach to therapy

… is psychodynamic, and incorporates among other training, the specific modalities of Internal Family Systems through the work of Dr. Richard Schwartz, Compassionate Inquiry through the work of Dr. Gabor Maté, and Mindfulness and Meditation practice through the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn and zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, and a spiritually informed approach through a doctorate in Pastoral Counseling.

My approach is tailored to the individual needs of each person who seeks to work with me.

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Compassionate Inquiry, developed by Dr. Gabor Maté sees the problems we experience emotionally growing out from early life trauma, from overt trauma to wounds that occur in childhood years when trust and connection with those who care for us is damaged.  “This trauma is not what actually happened to you, it is the impact inside of you as a result of what happened to you. Through Compassionate Inquiry, the person can recognize the unconscious dynamics, perceptions, beliefs, feelings, self-judgments that run their lives and guide them to the possibility of letting go of those stories, or letting go of the hold those stories have on them … to free themselves from repeating them.”

“The greatest impact of 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.”

~ Gabor Maté

Internal Family Systems therapy, developed by Dr. Richard Schwartz, sees the inner world of our minds as natural system of parts, 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. IFS works directly with these parts to heal them. 

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.  ~ Richard Schwartz

As the Self establishes 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 are ways of paying attention to your experience, in the present, on purpose, without interpretation or judgment.

In my own experience, 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. It is a practice that is congruent with prayer, meditation, and can enhance the personal experience of any faith tradition With more mindful awareness, choices for responding to life expand and open. Anxiety drops. Depressive darkness gains more light. There arises an inner steadiness that supports your life changes.

Under the Meditation tab on this site, you will find many 10 minute guided mindfulness meditations for your use.