An Open Mind
Much of my professional experience and training has focused on helping people with difficult problems: relationship problems, attention deficit disorder, chronic depression and anxiety, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, complex trauma, Bipolar Disorder, and dissociative disorders. Over the years, I’ve observed that many people have to reach a pretty dark place in their lives before they feel sufficiently compelled to seek help. If you are near that place and in need of help, contact me today to meet and see if my treatment style and experience can be a positive part of your life.
Together We Can...
How We Can Do it...
Mindfulness and validation are core components in my work with people. Mindfulness is about learning to be present in the current moment, non-judgmentally and on purpose. As people learn to be more present, their thoughts and emotions focus less on the past or the future, which is less under our control, and more on what’s happening now, where we are best able to influence what we think and feel. Self-awareness also increases, and with it, more opportunities arise to make different, perhaps new choices about work, school, relationships, family, hobbies, etc.
Validation is the practice of acknowledging and accepting our own experience, as well as the experiences of people around us. Intense suffering often comes from not accepting ourselves—believing we should think, feel, act differently than we do, and then feeling shame, guilt, or helplessness because we fall short of our own expectations. The same can be true in our relationships—people don’t do what we think they should, or do what we don’t like, and so we don’t want to acknowledge their behavior, much less accept it. When we don’t accept reality, we suffer. We get stuck. We fight reality and exhaust ourselves. Validation starts with differentiating acceptance from approval; we don’t have to like or agree with any of the things that cause us pain or overwhelm in order to accept them. Learning to validate ourselves, and the world around us, lessens the pain that comes with feeling stuck and helpless. Intense emotions become less intense, overwhelm happens less frequently, self-acceptance and compassion increase. Living becomes less of a struggle.
Body Based Therapy
Working with the body is the third essential component of my approach to therapy. More and more research in the areas of emotion dysregulation, mood and anxiety, and trauma, point to the importance of including the body in the therapeutic process. The reason for this is that our life experiences don’t just happen in our heads; our minds and bodies are intricately connected, and trying to change one without involving the other is like trying to move furniture with one hand tied behind our back. Emotions, memories, beliefs, all live in our bodies as well as our heads, and change is often more effective when we work first with body sensation, posture, energy, or movement, than when we logically think through how to do things differently. For example, if someone is struggling with anxiety and panic attacks, telling oneself that there is no need to panic is not going to stop the anxiety. But if the person identifies where the panic is happening in the body, perhaps the chest, and focuses on lengthening the spine, opening the lungs, and slowing and deepening the breath, they can bring anxiety down and feel more in control. With a lot of practice, this can become a new habit, the person is less prone to panic attacks, and mood and self-confidence improve.
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