“It is only through relationship that the unresolved suffering can be transformed into love and connection.”
Somatic Transformation is a body-centered, relational methodology based in interpersonal neural psychology, ancient wisdom, and the somatic-emotional lived experience.
My training includes years of studying with and working with Sharon Stanley.
“Life is available only in the present moment.” (Thich Nhat Hanh)
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a system of therapy which combines four major components: Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, Emotional Regulation, and Interpersonal Effectiveness, as well as utilizing standard cognitive-behavioral techniques. DBT may be the first therapy that has been experimentally demonstrated to be generally effective in treating: BPD, mood disorders, sexual abuse survivors, and chemical dependency.
Linehan (the founder of DBT) combined a commitment to the core conditions of acceptance and change through the Hegelian principle of dialectical progress (in which thesis + antithesis → synthesis) and assembled an array of skills for emotional self-regulation drawn from Western psychological traditions and Eastern meditative traditions. A climate of unconditional acceptance is required (not Rogers’ positive humanist approach, but Thich Nhat Hanh’s metaphysically neutral one), in which to develop a successful therapeutic alliance.
“Your beliefs become your thoughts
Your thoughts become your words
Your words become your actions
Your actions become your habits
Your habits become your character
Your character becomes your destiny.”
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is especially effective with the treatment of depression, anxiety, panic, stress, and the loss of purpose. With CBT, I assist clients to become more aware of the connection between their thought patterns and situations in life. Uncomfortable emotions and habitual reactions often accompany maladaptive thinking. The goals of CBT are to provide skills to alter ways of thinking, calm the mind, recognize distorted thinking, and choose appropriate actions that produce desirable results.
There is no need to revisit the past in order to take a positive stance today. The past is here in the form of belief systems carried in to the present. The past exerts its influence in current-day thinking patterns and attitudes. When an irrational belief is developed, it continues to exert influence until more dependable beliefs are learned. The past cannot be changed, but how the past influences the present and the future can.
Often we are on auto-pilot, acting in accordance with outgrown or irrational beliefs. Irrational beliefs cause thinking that does not match the reality, or what is actually there, compared to what is perceived or interpreted. To describe a belief as irrational means:
Solution focused brief therapy (SFBT), often referred to as simply ‘solution focused therapy’ or ‘brief therapy’, is based upon social constructionist philosophy, and is a natural derivative of a strengths-based approach to counselling. It focuses on what clients want to achieve through therapy rather than on the problem(s) that motivated them to seek help. The approach does not focus on the past, but instead, focuses on the present and future. The therapist uses respectful curiosity to invite the client to envision their preferred future and then therapist and client start attending to any moves towards it – small increments or large changes. To support this, questions are asked about the client’s story, strengths and resources, and about exceptions to the problem.
Solution focused therapists believe that change is constant. By helping people identify the things that they wish to have changed in their life and also to attend to those things that are currently happening that they wish to continue to have happen, SFBT therapists help their clients to construct a concrete vision of a preferred future for themselves. The SFBT therapist then helps the client to identify times in their current life that are closer to this future, and examines what is different on these occasions. By bringing these small successes to their awareness, and helping them to repeat these successful things they do when the problem is not there or less severe, the therapists helps the client move towards the preferred future they have identified and envisioned.
One way of understanding the practice of SFBT is displayed through the acronym MECSTAT, which stands for Miracle questions, Exception questions, Coping questions, Scaling questions, Time-out, Accolades and Task.
If you want to get started right now, here are four questions to ask yourself:
What are you hoping to achieve from meeting/working with me (your therapist)?
If these “hopes” were realized, how would your life be different?
What are you doing (or have already done) that contribute to the realization of these hopes?
What is one small thing that you could do right now that you imagine would be successful in moving you in the direction of your vision for your future?
When one door opens,
another closes; if you are caught in the hallway, hang wallpaper.
As a coach, I help you identify the skills and capabilities that are already present, and enable you to use them to the best of your ability. I assist in the building of new skills which increase your forward movement. Combined with Appreciative Inquiry, I encourage the judicious use of powerful questions with the aim to help shift perspectives on any issue in your life, and thereby discover different solutions and options, in order to achieve your goals. I accompany your journey to achieve your deepest aspirations.
Coaching is particularly effective in the treatment of disordered eating, addictions, anger, aimlessness, hopelessness, helplessness, powerlessness, depression, and stress. It is also wonderful in the treatment of an increase in enjoyment and enthusiasm for life. I have found that coaching creates more of a quantitative difference than a qualitative one. EMDR (see below) can enhance the positive states that are expressed and experienced through coaching.
“Lace is as much about the space between the threads as it is about the threads themselves.”
Emotional bonding is part of our heritage and a basis of our survival; it is one of our deepest human instincts. We want to matter to other people, and we need safe emotional connections. Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is a structured approach to couples therapy developed by Sue Johnson and Les Greenberg. It is based on attachment theory and the nature of relationship distress. Negative patterns of interactions are identified as well as core emotions that underlie and motivate. New dynamics that promote respect, closeness, and caring are initiated and practiced with guided support. The goals of EFT are to expand and re-organize key emotional responses, create positive shifts in communication, and foster a secure bond between partners. Couples often immediately experience more connection and deeper understanding.
Health and happiness are derived from the ability to restore balance in response to continual disruption.
I have had tremendous success with my clients through utilizing aspects of my model of Learned Happiness. Whether my clients present with anxiety, grief, depression, addictions, or a sense of meaninglessness, they have benefited from understanding and internalizing this model.
Since the innate pursuit of happiness guides our choices and decisions, it is my belief that most mental illness is an expression of misguided beliefs about happiness and suffering. The process of Learned Happiness is designed to direct us to choose thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that result in greater inner peace, connection and service to others, and life satisfaction. (To learn more, see Learned Happiness page.)
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.” R.W. Emerson
Choice Theory is based on the work of William Glasser. A central aspect of Choice Theory is the belief that we are internally, not externally motivated.
The fundamental motivators are:
Some of the Axioms of Choice Theory:
“The cure for the pain is in the pain.”
Focusing, based on the work of Eugene Gendlin, an American philosopher and psychologist, is a compelling, yet gentle approach that affirms your own ability to change.
Focusing allows access to deeper levels of awareness, wisdom, and self-guidance that reside inside each of us. Through an easily learned, step-by step process, Focusing turns our attention inside our bodies where we carry all our personal experiences, memories, sensations, emotions and feelings. This place of refined mind/body awareness contains an unlimited source of knowledge that provides us with the capacity to solve problems and achieve personal fulfillment. Simply stated, Focusing allows us conscious access to that which often remains unconscious or subconscious, due to the fact that most people do not know how to access it. Often when you are experiencing depression, anxiety, chronic pain, or addictive thoughts and behaviours, your suffering is rooted in the unconscious. Focusing helps to gain conscious access to these unconscious drives.
Focusing Oriented Therapy is deeply empowering of each person’s thoughts, feelings, and experience. We participate in a collaborative process that nurtures and values your experience. This respectful attitude creates a safe and supportive environment in which difficult issues and persistent obstacles to change can be openly explored. Often you immediately begin to experience increased awareness, sensitivity, and empathy toward your self and your own personal predicaments. Forward movement is accompanied by a greater sense of freedom and a deeper connection with oneself and others.
You learn the value of gently setting aside pre-existing assumptions, opinions, and beliefs. Suspending preconceived ideas or expectations creates a clear, unobstructed space for new richness, nuance, and complexity of feelings and experience to emerge. By spending time with this felt sense, unexpected and creative possibilities for change begin to unfold.
Through the process of Focusing, you learn to recognize and be guided by your own authentic “voice,” thus differentiating it from voices that are self destructive and growth-blocking. Through this process of discernment, you are empowered to move toward a more hopeful future. As new feelings and fresh insights emerge into awareness, stuck places become unstuck. Possibilities, solutions, and action steps unfold – and change happens.
“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” Elizabeth Kübler-Ross
Our psychological functioning is largely influenced by our relationships with others, particularly our family of origin. Family Systems Theory holds that families operate in ways that are consistent with systems, and that systems operate according to principles rooted in nature. Systems’ thinking includes principles such as circular, interlocking, and time-delayed dynamics as well as supportive, symbiotic, and complementary actions. By taking these principles into account and becoming more aware of your own patterns of conduct, you are better able to modify your behavior, become more autonomous, and avoid automatic responses to dynamics that occur within interpersonal relationships.
By deepening awareness of a combination of emotional, energy, sensations, and somatic processes and responses, BCP teaches you to use the body as a resource with which to integrate body, mind and spirit, become more of a witness/observer to what is happening internally, and experience more authentic responses to life. This approach is highly effective with treating anxiety, panic, anger, and stress.
Your inner peace is palpable when your mind is not making so much noise.
“Present moment awareness” is a state of being in which we make choices based on what is happening right now, and not on our unresolved experiences of the past, or what we fearfully believe may happen in the future.
According to Michael Brown (the founder of The Presence Process) all our emotional, mental, and physical discomforts that arise within this present life experience are effects of unresolved experiences that occurred “in time”. Therefore, as we consciously move our attention more fully into the present moment, our discomforts automatically surface, unravel, and come to resolution. This procedure of automatic resolution is called “integration”. Integration may also be metaphorically thought of as “digestion”.
The Presence Process is therefore a procedure that enables us to gently digest our unresolved past and our fearfully projected future, so that our awareness is freed up to be fully available here and now. The implications are that we gain a new lease on living.
The Presence Process provides guidance for transforming the way we experience the world. It is not about changing our environment, though it will, it is about making an internal shift. The act of mindfulness and “being still” can lead to clarity and understanding which has the fundamental capacity to beneficially change our perceptions of our self, others, and the world around us.
Whether you are suffering from anxiety, addictions, depression, lack of intimacy, disordered eating, or anger, I offer techniques and tools to enhance your ability to be more fully in the present moment; techniques which integrate Eastern approaches with Western psychology to integrate mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health.
plumvillage.org/ thich nhat hanh
“If the human brain was simple enough to understand it, we’d be too simple to understand it.”
“I used to think my brain was my most important organ. But then I thought: wait a minute, who’s telling me that?”
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) has been referred to as “information processing therapy” because “old” information stored in the brain and body may be retrieved, addressed, and reprocessed with updated information and more understanding.
EMDR is a procedure developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro as a treatment for traumatic memories that continue to cause emotional and physiological disturbances. Various aspects of the trauma held within the body and nervous system are reprocessed while the client is attuned to the procedure itself which involves a focused state of attention.
EMDR provides clients with the opportunity to reprocess traumatic memories, discover and develop more adaptive perceptions and responses, gain ‘updated’ perspectives of the upsetting events, and desensitize themselves to the painful aspects of the memories. Although EMDR originated as a structured protocol for trauma treatments, many therapists adapt and integrate the procedure within other therapeutic approaches.
Not only is EMDR used for resolving traumatic effects, but it is also used as a means of exploring and deepening positive states, beliefs, images, sensations, and feelings. Clients often report a greater degree of self-awareness, easier access to inner calm, ability to feel emotions and sensations, and a felt-sense of their energy system.
It is my belief that we have each experienced trauma in our lives; whether it is small “t” trauma or capital ‘T” trauma, we need to ensure that we have not stored it in dysfunctional ways. EMDR has been endorsed by the American Psychological Association (APA) as one of the first lines of defense for Trauma/trauma.
Our passions are the winds that propel our vessel.
Our reason is the pilot that steers her.
Without winds the vessel would not move and without a pilot she would be lost.
I provide emotional and practical support to parents and children experiencing change and loss associated with separation and divorce. I help separating couples create a parenting plan and make life-enhancing decisions as they experience the re-structuring of their family.
My specific training as a Parenting Coordinator includes:
Advantages of Parenting Coordination include the focus on the well-being of the children in the decision making process, and the timely resolution of disputes. It can assist in implementation of and compliance with a parenting plan, as well as help parents to communicate more effectively. The family benefits from the consistency provided by ongoing involvement of a single professional person representing the whole family and the assistance of that professional to ensure protection of the child from the parents’ disputes. Additional advantages include a reduction in the uncertainty and expense that often arises through the court process.
Sometimes the problems we experience feel like what grains of sand might feel to an oyster – irritations. They tend to bother us, and we might resist the discomfort and wish they would go away.
But, when a grain of sand is embraced, and wrapped in translucent awareness, it can be a blessing in disguise, inspiring us to achieve way beyond our own expectations. When we acknowledge, accept, and appreciate the rough and irritating grains of sand in life, we can transform them into precious pearls.