Toward a Different Approach to Therapy
Much of contemporary mental health “counseling” focuses on changing patterns of thinking, finding new methods of coping, exploring new resolutions to old problems, resolving old conflicts with new insights, and finding greater peace through mindfulness practices. Each of these approaches, and many others, have significant value. Many of these, through empirical study, have been deemed “evidence-based practices,” meaning they have been proven scientifically to be effective.
Although inclusive of these standard therapeutic approaches, my training and orientation in psychotherapy extend to a qualitatively different tradition of psychotherapy, which is not grounded in science but in psyche, or as some would say, in the soul. After all, it is difficult to scientifically calibrate a broken heart or demonstrate how a soul has been lost and restored or a prove that a person has found new purpose. Indeed, how do we measure love? Yet, matters of the heart, intuition, deep memory, the lingering effect of trauma, existential terror, and the world of dreams all speak to the nature of psyche, not of science and measurable behavior.
The psychodynamic tradition of Jungian-based depth psychology recognizes that beneath the conscious mind and observable patterns of our behavior, the unconscious holds images, desires, and feelings, which express themselves through imagination, dreams, and unconscious motivation. The unconscious also can act as a storehouse of the imprints from early trauma and other childhood experiences. These imprints can invisibly act upon us like ghosts or indelible scripts, directing us how to act, what to feel, and how to live our lives – often contrary to we would rather choose for ourselves.
I regard psychotherapy in the depth tradition as part exploration (of those underlying forces that run our lives) and part personal growth. As these two dynamics begin work their way into consciousness, the original “problem” of the client comes into different focus. Old patterns may fall away and the client may begin to find greater voice and personal agency. As the client begins to find a deeper emotional truth about themselves, a new and different chapter in life can finally emerge. There are no guarantees, but when the light of consciousness begins to shine through, the potential of each human being can be born anew. This is rarely easy work. But as they say about baseball, if it were easy, everybody would do it.
I work with teens and individual adults.