One-on-one therapy fosters personal awareness and growth. Together we will explore the sources of your problems and deal with them effectively in a safe and supportive atmosphere. Change is possible and you contain the inner resources to make your desired changes a reality. At times, it is the function of psychotherapy to help you access your resources or even learn to build new ones. Therapy can be challenging; quick fixes are usually not effective in the long run. However, change, growth, and satisfaction in life are possible. I am here to help. Psychotherapy works best when the relationship between us is characterized by empathy, trust, and unconditional positive regard. Through a deepening and compassionate self-understanding, you can free yourself from any difficult or destructive aspects of your past. We will look beyond the symptoms of your unhappiness to discover the root causes, emphasizing autonomy, introspection, and improved self-esteem. I look forward to assisting you in this rewarding process of self discovery, increased capacity, fulfillment, and growth.
In my work with individuals, I primarily draw from my training and experience in psychodynamic, relational, body-mind, and trauma therapies. These include:
- Gestalt Therapy
- Trauma and body-mind therapies, including Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Somatic Experiencing (SE), and Brainspotting
- Imago Relationship Therapy
The German word Gestalt is not easily translated into English, but has to do with the “whole”, which is both different from and more than the sum of all the shapes, patterns and parts. The aim of the Gestalt approach is for a person to discover, explore and experience his or her own shapes, patterns and wholeness. Although Gestalt is considered to be in the existential-humanistic branch of psychology, Fritz Perls, who developed the approach, was influenced by Freud and psychoanalysis (Karen Horney was one of his analysts), Reich (who was his other analyst), and by Zen Buddhism. Gestalt focuses on the here-and-now, not the there-and-then. It focuses on sensing the body as a major route to psychological integration and a release of energy. Petruska Clarkson in Gestalt Counseling in Action compares Gestalt therapy to a tree: “It has its roots in psychoanalysis and character analysis, its trunk is phenomenology and existentialism and its branches reach up towards eastern philosophy and transpersonal understandings. The tree stands in a landscape of holism and field theory with which it is inextricably interlinked.”
In Gestalt, the therapeutic relationship is based on the authentic meeting between two real human beings, both of whom are risking themselves in a dialogic relationship that unfolds moment by moment. The development of the capacity for genuine relationship forms the core of the healing process. The therapist may encourage “experiments” to help the client take risks in the safety of the therapeutic environment to help move toward more wholeness. The Gestalt approach is integrative and considers all the many facets of each unique individual. It takes into account both the dark and regressive aspects of being human (our shadow side) and also our innate strivings towards health, happiness and self-actualization. The goal of counseling is to establish or re-establish the natural and healthy functioning (organismic self regulation) that comes naturally to un-traumatized infants, but which we may have lost or had damaged along the way.
Gestalt Therapy has long been recognized as a powerful and effective approach for dealing with body, mind and spirit in an interpersonal context of increasing awareness and contact. It works with nonverbal as well as verbal cues and emphasizes process (what is happening) over content (what is being discussed). Clients often find that insight follows experience and that significant movement can be made in changing old patterns that are no longer useful. Introduced by Frederick S. Perls, Laura Perls and Paul Goodman in the 1940’s and 1950’s, Gestalt therapy is an existential-experiential approach. It deals with here and now experience and emphasizes responsibility and making new choices of ways of being in the world. Its most famous technique is the “empty chair” technique in which the client creates a dialogue between parts of the self or the self and a significant other person. The dialogue frequently deepens to family of origin issues, which are dealt with in an emotionally immediate fashion so that the person is able to free himself or herself of the overlay of past issues on present dilemmas. The point in Gestalt therapy is not simply to recover the past (as Freud thought), but to create experiments that allow one to move forward into a different and more open future.
— Betty Cannon, PhD