Therapy Approach

I have found that a straightforward, clear approach works best in therapy.  The first task is to settle pressing problems as quickly as possible but without minimizing their meaning and depth.  To do that, we explore the roots of the difficulty, understand its nature and help it toward resolution.  Once the immediate crisis resolves, we can focus on deeper and more fundamental issues.  The length and direction of therapy depends on the complexity of the problems and the client’s needs.

As a transpersonal psychotherapist, I am not bound by particular theories or techniques.  I believe that each person is unique and requires a different therapy according to his or her inner nature.  The transpersonal approach is both pragmatic and profound: it balances the concerns of our outer life with our inner needs and deeper motivations.  It assumes that all experience is meaningful, and values the spiritual, mysterious and unconscious aspects of our humanity.  From this perspective, there are no limits to the person we can become.

To gain a clearer sense of my approach and philosophy, I suggest you read Seeking Wholeness: Insights into the Mystery of Experience.

Talk Therapy
Much of what we do in therapy looks like conversation.  However, that conversation is purposeful and intentionally directed toward positive change.  We discuss recent experiences, examine patterns that seem to be stuck and work on way to help your psyche move forward.

To resolve specific issue, we explore aspects of your family of origin and earlier life.  This helps you gain insight into the roots of current relationships and feelings.  I offer interpretations, perspectives and experiments so you gain greater awareness of how your inner and outer experiences are connected.

As we discuss your life, troubling or traumatic experiences naturally come to the surface.  Trauma takes many forms: physical or sexual abuse, illnesses and accidents, neglect or criticism.  When there is an inadequate healing environment, trauma tends to stay unresolved.  It resurfaces as fears and phobias, physical problems, unexplained over-reactions and feelings of mistrust or hopelessness.

When we discover emotionally charged or traumatic experiences, I will suggest using EMDR to uncover the roots of the problem and allow it to resolve naturally.  EMDR was discovered in 1987 by Francine Shapiro while doing therapy with Vietnam veterans.  Since then it has been recognized as possibly the most effective way to work with all sorts of problems, particularly trauma.

EMDR looks simple but has powerful results.  While the client focuses on a difficult experience, the therapist facilitates either a rhythmic movement of the eyes, or simple sounds and sensations that alternate from side to side. I use a small devise to create the rhythmic sounds/sensations through headphones and hand buzzers.

The client tends to experience a train of thoughts, feelings and sensations associated with the trauma.  These usually progress towards a state of resolution.  A client may feel somewhat stirred up after the session but these feelings usually settle down after a night or two of sleep.  It is believed that the EMDR evokes a similar process to that of REM or rapid eye movement that naturally occurs during dream sleep.  This is when we are deeply processing our daytime experiences.

Dreams have been termed the royal road to the unconscious.  Certainly, they provide insight into our hidden motivations and deeply held concerns.  I have worked with my own and other people’s dreams for over 30 years.  My training is based on the work of the great psychologist, Carl Jung.  While appreciating the symbolic and archetypal aspects of dreams, I also see them as immensely practical, providing a different and useful perspective on life issues.

Not everyone remembers dreams though everyone dreams at least four times a night.  Often during therapy, dreams become more vivid and compelling as your deeper self engages with life issues.  Dream themes come and go as these issues transform, so your dreams provide evidence of changes happening at different levels of consciousness.

We tend to identify with our conscious waking self, yet human beings have many other modes of consciousness.  These include four levels of sleep as well as high arousal, quiet meditation and trance.  Hypnosis is a focused altered state of awareness in which conscious and unconscious processes are balanced.

In hypnosis different abilities become available.  You can access information that has been lost from memory, be extraordinarily engaged with imaginative inner experiences and connect to resources of wisdom and confidence.  I can record our hypnosis sessions so you can practice skills of relaxation, anxiety management and self-development at home.

I have been trained in a number of hypnotic modalities, including those developed by Milton Erickson.  My approach is respectful, non-manipulative and naturalistic.

Therapeutic Boundaries
A therapist must be concerned only with the greatest welfare of the client.  To that end, therapy is legally regulated in Colorado.  To protect the client:

  • An agreed fee should be paid for a set amount of time in session
  • Therapy cannot be exchanged for barter or other services
  • The client and therapist cannot have any other kind of relationship
  • Any kind of sexual contact between therapist and client is punishable by law
  • Everything that happens in psychotherapy is confidential.  The legal reasons for sharing confidential information are when: the client signs a release of information; the therapist consults with a supervising professional; there is imminent danger of harm to the client or others; there is evidence of child abuse.