Psychotherapy and Healing Work
Psychotherapy can help in many ways--symptom relief, clarifying needs and desires, making decisions, and developing relationship skills, as well as learning how to work with our fears and addictions and trauma. Often one of its greatest benefits is changing how we relate to ourselves--from being critical and judgmental and closed-off to being more attuned, and aware and alive.
Many times people fear their feelings and for this reason avoid consulting a professional about their problems. While it is true that feelings like pain or anger or disappointment may be a part of the process, taking a closer look at our feelings and conflicts can also uncover strengths and abilities that have gone unrecognized or under-appreciated.
Looking into our past is not an avoidance of responsibility for our lives. Becoming more familiar with how our childhood and family experiences have shaped us helps us identify our unconscious choices and allows us to make new choices as we see fit. This gives us more control of our lives and more options for ourselves.
At the same time we often blame ourselves for misfortunes and situations that, despite our best efforts, are beyond our control. This can lead to depression and a diminished sense of worth. Recognizing that there are things that we alone cannot change can restore our sense of power and encourage us to focus on what is truly within our ability to change.
Understanding the story of our lives is extremely helpful in resolving trauma and making healthy decisions. But our story resides not only in our minds, but also in our bodies-- our feelings, our physical experiences, our tensions and protections. In addition to more traditional paths to personal growth through conversation and deep listening, I frequently practice body-centered psychotherapy (which includes methods to develop skill in relaxation and release). These approaches can make us aware both of need we have ignored and power we have not claimed. Often, it can guide us more directly and immediately to what lies at the heart of our conflicts. Understanding, in an embodied way, the sources of our distress opens a door to greater peace and possibility.