My Approach to Helping
I've learned from my mentors, Irv Yalom and Jim Bugental that effective therapy does not mean "one therapy fits all." On the contrary, effective therapy means discovering the unique needs of each client. Consequently my first goal is to cultivate sensitive presence so I may enter my client's unique, subjective world and discover his or her needs, challenges and ways of coping. With that understanding, I can tailor the therapy to help each clients achieve their goals. Some want to feel more empowered in their lives, some want to have more loving and intimate relationships, and some want to find more meaning and life purpose. In order to accomplish this, we illuminate what may be blocking them. The "blocks" are often their unique "spacesuits" that may have protected them from hurt, pain, shame, etc., in the past, but now are constricting their aliveness. "I always make do," is an example of a "spacesuit" that both protects and constricts. We invite disowned parts to "speak" to find out why they're there and appreciate their contributions so the client can integrate them with their more "acceptable" parts. Hurt, pain, overwhelm cannot be "talked away." Feelings and thoughts need to be experienced in an embodied way so that they can be dissolved, managed and integrated. This approach usually brings about deep healing and lasting change.
My goal as an educator is to help therapists learn these effective principles of therapy practice: sensitive presence to intra and interpersonal processes and empathic attunement and responsiveness to feelings, thoughts and behaviors. Mastering these principles cultivates curiosity, compassion, and effective interventions that result in lasting healing and change as opposed to learning standardized protocols that treat a diagnosis.