Approach to Therapy

I assist patients in identifying and removing blocks to self-insight and happy, healthy living. I guide patients in becoming consciously aware of limiting patterns and by promoting healthy, positive change. In this section, I detail how this is achieved and the methods I use in my work with patients.

I believe positive change is achieved by attaining insight into the origins of difficulties, by gaining self-awareness, and by learning healthy patterns of relating to oneself and others. My intention in my therapeutic work is to assist patients in highlighting and focusing on patterns of thought, feeling, and behavior that lead to difficulties in one’s life and relationships. With increased awareness of underlying motivations, patients will ideally be positioned to make growth-enhancing changes in thoughts and resulting emotions, behaviors, and relationships.

My approach to therapy is relational, holistic, and integrative. My work is primarily psychodynamic/psychoanalytic but I also borrow from cognitive-behavioral, humanistic, existential, transpersonal, and systems theories and techniques, as well as Eastern spiritual and mindfulness philosophies and techniques. I define these theories and techniques below. Your specific concerns and difficulties will always determine the direction our work together will take and which of these aspects will be tailored for an individual approach to your unique difficulties.

Relational

Meditation on rock at ocean at sunsetI view therapy as a collaborative endeavor and believe my role as therapist is to work closely with you to bring about life-enhancing insights and change. I make use of the therapy relationship itself to help understand your unique relationship patterns and to assist you in understanding and making changes to your interpersonal and communications style.

Holistic

I take into account all aspects of the individual including the physical, mental, emotional, behavioral, spiritual, and many other aspects that comprise all human beings as well as examine how each aspect influences all other aspects.

Integrative

While my clinical work is primarily informed by psychodynamic/psychoanalytic theory and technique, I believe that integrating various psychological theories and techniques works best in addressing the unique concerns and difficulties of each patient. Here are some of the psychological theories that inform my work with patients.

  • Psychodynamic/Psychoanalytic: experiences and relationships in one’s life, particularly early in life when we are most impressionable, cause us to develop psychological defenses to manage our life circumstances and to engage in repetitious patterns throughout our lives. These defenses and behaviors at some point served adaptive functions that need to be explored and understood, and if they no longer serve their original purpose, then changes can be explored. I assist patients in exploring the psychological defenses and recurring patterns and themes in their lives and relationships and the associated psychological dynamics that affect one’s sense of self and daily functioning, interpersonal relationships, and overall life satisfaction. The primary goal is insight into unique patterns of thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and interpersonal styles that drive how you perceive yourself and others and how you interact with the world around you. These insights will ideally allow you to make healthy, growth-enhancing changes.
  • Cognitive-Behavioral: can be thought of as “cause and effect” in human thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It tells us that maladaptive emotions and behaviors result from faulty thinking and that by making changes in our thoughts, we can bring about positive changes in our emotions and behaviors.
  • Humanistic: tells us that empathy and authenticity are healing factors. It holds that all people are inherently good and emphasizes self-actualization (i.e., being all that one can be). It also adopts a holistic perspective to the human experience, which is comprised of creativity, free will, and full human potential.
  • Systems Theory: based on the idea that the groups we belong to, past and present, and the roles that we have played in these groups, shape our image of ourselves and others, and influence how we interact with other individuals and groups.
  • Existentialism: exploration and insight into areas concerning some of life’s “ultimate” questions and concerns such as death, connection to others, and life meaning and purpose, allow us to live life more fully and purposefully.
  • Transpersonal Psychology: examines the self-transcendent, spiritual aspects of the human experience. It explores humanity’s highest potential and focuses on intuitive, spiritual, and transcendent states of consciousness, spiritual development, peak experiences, and expanded ways of living.
  • Eastern philosophies: while not exactly psychological theories, Eastern philosophies (such as Zen Buddhism), offer many important insights and practical tools for living. Among the most practical is mindfulness, sometimes called “paying attention on purpose.” Mindfulness helps us to slow down and objectively observe what is occurring within and around us, and assists in self-insight, reducing anxiety, and lifting mood.