My Approach to Therapy

My Approach to Therapy

Imagine if you will, a warm, comfortable, non-judgmental space, where you feel reassured in expressing feelings and concerns whatever they may be – where even your most difficult emotions are genuinely and sensitively related with, such that trust grows enough to open up more and more, letting go of old restrictions to discover a greater immediacy and authenticity in felt experience – to really feel your feelings, and through this emotional insight more fully know the rejuvenating depths of your inner self.

Having the support and guidance to self-confirmingly handle abiding dark moods so you feel a new excitement to be alive, can germinate a profoundly-rooted sense of confidence, stability and creativity that manifests enduring solutions to life’s challenges, invites satisfying, soulful relations with others, and inspires an ever more gratifying capability to contribute in making the world a better place.

I’m a depth-oriented therapist who aims for such a rejuvenating experience through engaging the powerful feelings inhabiting psychological issues, wherein the source of positive healing transformation awaits. Because dealing with life’s problems in practical ways is important as well, I may initially employ cognitive-behavioral learning techniques to help solve concrete difficulties. As that effort proceeds, relational and emotion-centered psycho-dynamic methods can be increasingly employed to address deep-seated roots of daily issues and disturbances.

Such psychological roots can be seen to encompass a symbolic dimension, which the integrative ideas of C.G. Jung address. Jung saw the subjective self – the autonomous psyche – with remarkable respect, as the greatest source of affirmative possibility for change, healing, and valuable becoming in a person’s life. He appreciated psyche’s symbolic nature to be an “imaginal” and spiritual realm that can be summoned to awaken a dynamic process of fundamental mental change likened to “alchemical transformation” — the magic art of turning “lead into gold” by which thwartful affect and dark trauma can become positive potential and powerful possibility. Jung articulated the method of “active imagination,” which is about creatively relating with the different parts of the mind, for example, heroically dialoguing with an inner demon or the distressed baby as if they could explain themselves.

Of course it’s not so simple because there are all sorts of reactions and feelings invoked through following out this imaginal effort that need exploring, require skill-building, yet through which a self- generative process can grow new meaningfulness towards an ineffable experience of enhanced Self-realization and relational empowerment. Even if you don’t go to therapy, you can help jump-start this powerful alchemical process by meditating on and journaling about your feelings and paying attention to and writing down your dreams, which are a fathomful font of imagination.

Additionally, I should also point out regarding my approach, that maybe the most important factor in any good therapy I may conduct concerns the quality of my own inner processing. I believe it is most incumbent on me as a professional clinician to do more than present with mastery of theoretical and practical knowledge, techniques and ethics. That means I sincerely practice my own self-responsibility. I daily work to therapeutically relate with those dark parts of my psyche, my personal versions of emotional scarring, bad feelings and constricted imagination — scarring caused by neglect and other inflictions of relational, especially early in life.

Such scarring is arguably suffered by all human children and has been called “childism.”1 Particularly impactful were pervasive homophobic and heterosexist attitudes. As a clinician who is gay, I imagine that my nearly fatal experiences of anti-gay early life were not too unlike those of other bigoted oppressions faced by people of color, women and other such victims. If I can come to better terms with my own internalized toxic shaming as homosexual, that is, sufficiently empathize with my hurt little gay child within, I will consequently feel a deeper empathy for all my clients and particularly those coming out of parallel oppressive contexts.

I see three fundamental reasons why more so owning my own dark business contributes to successful therapy. Firstly, my professional efforts can be compromised by my insufficiently dealt-with material, yet enhanced if I address that, as I noted before. Another reason is how a therapist’s modelling of self-responsibility is surely going to help the client adopt such practice. The biggest reason why I feel so strongly about psychologically working on myself is that, through energetic efforts to alchemize the disturbing nature of my core trauma as an ongoing practice, I have discovered that something special, something unusually creative, lively and innovative has been generated in my work.

This result has convinced me how such a spirited, caring self-approach is not only best for genuinely healing therapy, but that it can lift even the most pedestrian-seeming situation into a remarkably transmuting experience.

Due to these factors in my approach, I believe your personal gifts, aptitudes and potentials, while different than my own, can have the greatest chance for sound development in therapy through a co-creative, generative process of firmly planted accomplishments, healing, inspiration and delight.

I believe life should be bountiful and rewarding for everyone and that psychological pain can be healed, problems can be solved, and life can become richly fulfilling.

  1. See Childism: Confronting Prejudice Against Children by Elisabeth Young-Bruehl, 2012).

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