My approach to psychotherapy is rooted in Existential-Phenomenological psychology, informed by Psychoanalytic theories, applies the concepts of Jungian psychology, and offers a Holistic perspective.
As human beings, we all experience suffering and struggle at times with the circumstances of our unique lives. To be with our distress, pain, or confusion in isolation is difficult and unnecessary; therefore, I provide the space and service of assisting you in your process of exploration, understanding, healing, and growth. My commitment is to provide a safe place for you to examine feelings, thoughts, behaviors, and relationship patterns that are interfering with your development and well-being. My purpose is to build an authentic and trusting relationship with you, in which I respect your privacy and individuality, so that you can do the work you are ready to do. Together we will identify and discuss aspects of yourself and areas of your life you want to reflect upon, strengthen, or change.
Existential-Phenomenological Psychology draws from 19th-century European philosophers and applies these philosophical ideas to understanding human nature rather than solely seeing a person in terms of symptoms that need to be cured. Basic human issues of joy, despair, love, freedom, and choice are understood in terms of how we actually live them out and experience them. There is a profound respect for someone's experience and an attempt to make sense of one's experience. In this way, this approach takes a non-pathologizing view of the whole human being and attempts to understand clinical symptoms as meaningful. There is also a recognition that we live in the world, so as much as we are acting on the world, the world is impacting us. This makes the therapeutic relationship one that is collaborative and co-created by both the client and the therapist. Because each person's experience is personal, the therapist upholds an ideal of being present to the client in a way that illuminates what is meaningful to the client rather than imposing the therapist's opinions or assumptions. The ability to bracket one's presuppositions to see the face of the other is a core value.
Psychoanalytic theories originated with Sigmund Freud and have evolved since Freud's early ideas, reflecting current culture and society. Psychoanalytic theories help explain the formation of the internal dynamics of a person in terms of one's sense of self and others. Attention to the client's developmental and family history is valuable in understanding how various patterns of relating to oneself, others, and the world came to be. What's behind some behaviors and feelings can be unconscious or out of awareness to the client, making problematic patterns hard to change. The unique relationship formed with a psychotherapist can bring to light unresolved issues and the chance to work through them in a way that brings about lasting change.
Jungian Psychology applies the concepts that C. G Jung developed. Although a student and friend of Freud's for a time, Jung came to define the idea of the collective unconscious, which added to Freud's idea of the personal unconscious. Beyond our personal history and personal unconscious, there exists universal archetypal patterns and ancestral memory common to everyone which has a great impact on our experience as well. Dreams, myth, synchronicity, somatic experience, and creative expression are valued ways of accessing the unconscious and provide guidance on the path of Individuation. Individuation is a developmental process of moving towards greater inner wholeness where shadow aspects of the self become more integrated and opposite aspects of self become more united. The Self becomes more connected to a psychological soul that is more than ego-driven consciousness and is less likely to project unwanted or unacceptable aspects of being onto others and society. Connection to soul becomes a determining factor in one's overall sense of well-being.
A Holistic perspective implies a model of the human being as body-mind-soul-spirit-heart who lives in a relational-world context. This is not a new age concept. Humans of all cultures have always known that there is no separation between mind and body. It has only been over the last 200 years that the Western world created a dualistic split where scientific reductionism and the reign of a more masculine principle of rational thinking eclipsed the more feminine sensibility of instinct, feeling, and intuition. A return to what is our true nature, holistic beings living in an interconnected existence with everything and everyone, has been on the rise and is necessary for the health of each individual as well as the planet. All of my academic training embody and are implicitly holistic.