MY THERAPEUTIC APPROACH
My work might be considered holistic psychotherapy because it includes so many levels: the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.
I draw from various modalities. These include working with “parts” of self, including inner child parts; using metaphor and imagery to explore what is outside of conscious awareness; utilizing homework such as journal-writing; and working with beliefs and life structures (elements of cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT). Sometimes what is needed is to build new skills (for example communication and assertiveness skills). Working with what therapists call “resource” is an important part of it.
The body comes into play in several ways: tapping into the body’s wisdom, helping clear inhibiting patterns held in the body, and also looking at the interplay of diet and lifestyle in terms of mental health.
I hold all of this within a framework that includes the deeper dimensions of our being. This makes me a transpersonal therapist, although you may not even be aware of this unless it seems relevant to the work that is happening in the moment.
I think it is better when a therapist is experienced as warm and personal rather than as cool and clinical. I do what I can to really show up. In the interest of full disclosure, I would also share that I am by nature more self-contained than gushy. I stay in my space.
Studies have found that many therapists spend too much time talking and not enough listening. Listening is what I do best. I listen to the content people are telling me, listen for what they are not saying and what their body language reveals, listen for the connections between events.
I also try to tap into guidance and the client’s innate wisdom and let that (rather than preconceived ideas) direct the session. This is different than many brief therapies that are more educational in nature or that follow a protocol.
I am here as a person, fully engaged. I’ll even inject humor at moments, as laughter helps put things in perspective and regulate the nervous system – and it’s fun, too.
WOUNDED HEALER, NOT WOUNDING HEALER
Research has found that a therapist’s level of mental health is an important factor in therapeutic success. Demaris Wehr wrote about the difference between wounded healers and wounding healers. Wounded healers have empathy and understanding because they’ve been there and have found their way out of their troubles. Wounding healers think they’ve done their personal work, but haven’t done enough of it, so their limitations and “stuff” come into play in their work with clients to the clients’ detriment.
I am very committed to my own inner work. I’ve logged in 30 years of deep personal work with therapists and teachers that continues to this day.