My Approach to Helping
I do mindfulness-based psychotherapy in approaching problems of living.
Mindfulness-based psychotherapy is about rediscovering the experience of basic goodness, peacefulness, wisdom and calm. It is about becoming fully present. It is a bodily as well as a mental experience. Mindfulness helps the mind expand. With practice, one steadily can become aware of, rather than governed by, feelings, thoughts, and reactions. Mindfulness is a capacity to watch these things AS they are happening. As this capacity of mindfulness grows in us, that which is mindful, the one who is watching, can little by little begin to act as inner guide.
You are not your problems. Even if you feel like your difficulties are defining you, they are not who you are, they are something you have which you need to familiarize yourself with by learning how to listen to what your deeper nature is saying to you. Much of the suffering that brings one to therapy can be found in negative feelings and beliefs, in theories one has towards oneself. The ultimate healing can come through recognizing and reconnecting with your essential nature, verses your conditioning, seeing who exactly is there rather than defining yourself through the haze of your own or another's theories and assumptions. Everything's a rumor until it's true for you.
Buddhism teaches us that our basic goodness is not an invention. It doesn't need to be created or imagined. It can't be bought or sold. And even if it becomes buried, it cannot be destroyed. Who we are becomes hidden to us by our conditioning. In that forgetfulness, in the absence of a mindful mind, we are dragged around by our thoughts and emotions (both positive & negative,) our reactions and sensations. We experience things like anxiety, depression, traumatic stress, everyday stress, tension in relationships, even stressful happiness! We believe we are the wave (our thoughts, emotions, etc.) rather than recognizing we are the ocean from which the waves of our experiences arise and return.
So what can we do? Bring compassion. It may sound very simple, yet it is extremely powerful to cultivate an attitude of loving-kindness towards yourself. I know this to be true personally and have seen it over and over again in my professional life. Kindness can gently lead to understanding. From understanding, compassion can arise. Compassion is key.