My fundamental belief is that the psyche, given the proper conditions, has a natural tendency to heal itself. I also believe that profound change can happen on a level below our conscious/verbal mind and can impact all aspects of our life. For this reason, I have trained in therapeutic methods that address our underlying depths in ways that traditional talk therapy often cannot reach. I find that both Eastern and Western psychotherapeutic tools can be helpful in our quest for self-understanding, and practices that involve the body are especially transformative. All of the methods I use with others are practices that have been healing and transformative in my own life.
Below are some of the therapeutic tools I frequently use with both adults and children. When we meet, I bring all of my tools but you decide which ones we use.
Inspired by the work of Carl Jung and others, Depth Psychology begins with the foundational belief that there is an unconscious part of each of us that impacts our feelings, relationships and experiences. Depth work includes something that Jung called “Individuation,” which means becoming aware of some of our unconscious material so that we can better understand our reactions, thoughts and feelings about ourself and others. Eventually, this work helps us to experience a more whole and healthy sense of self, as well as an increased sense of meaning and purpose in our lives.
In contrast to the diagnosis and problem-centered language of Western psychology, Buddhist psychology gives us a worldview that accepts suffering and unpleasant symptoms as an unavoidable part of the human condition. Buddhist psychology is based on the belief that all of us have the capacity for immeasurable love, compassion and wisdom. Another fundamental belief is that all our happiness and suffering comes from our mind, never from external people or things. Buddhist psychology contains many simple, effective and profound tools to transform our day to day difficulties and shift our self-centered perspective in a way that feels empowering and enlivening.
JUNGIAN SANDPLAY THERAPY
Sandplay is a holistic, nonverbal, non-rational form of therapy that reaches a profound level of the psyche. It involves creating three-dimensional scenes, pictures or abstract designs in a tray using sand, water and miniature realistic figurines. For both adults and children, Sandplay can serve as a powerful medium to reach strong, transformative inner experiences. Engaging in the process of Sandplay is like having “waking dreams” that offer insight and the integration of energies and information that were previously inaccessible. For many people, symptoms recede and a deep sense of clarity and stillness arise.
MINDFULNESS AND MEDITATION
Mindfulness techniques and the practice of meditation are some of the most powerful tools we have to transform our daily lives. When we reclaim some control over our superficial “monkey mind” we can experience the clarity of the mind beneath. When we are more aware of our body and mind, we can respond appropriately to external events, instead of just reacting and following our well-worn tendencies. We can learn to have a more compassionate view of our self and our situation, as well as those around us. I have extensive experience in Buddhist meditation as well as training in more modern practices including Focusing, a body-oriented practice of mindfulness.
Dreamwork is one of the foundational practices of depth psychotherapy. Remembering and tending to our dreams gives us an unparalleled glimpse into our inner world. Our dreams are messages from our deeper mind, and often contain wisdom that we have difficulty accessing with our conscious mind. Cultivating a dreamwork practice also assists us in viewing our waking reality in a way that is more symbolic, synchronistic and meaningful. When we are in touch with our dream life our waking world begins to appear more and more dreamlike. According to Buddhist psychology, this dreamlike view is much closer to the true nature of reality.
There are many ways to work on our deep mind and improve our symptoms. Carl Jung called practices that engage and work with our unconscious mind “active imagination.” Depending on your comfort level and interest, I have been trained and have materials available for somatic, artistic and visualization methods to access the level of our imagination where healing and insight can occur. These practices can help us connect our body to our inner work, as well as help us to stay grounded during our transformation process.
“This is your body, your greatest gift, pregnant with wisdom you do not hear, grief you thought was forgotten, and joy you have never known.”
– Marion Woodman