Therapy is not just a technique. Mostly it is a relationship.
It means different things for different people and there is a range of opinions among professionals. What matters is that you are better able to deal with your life, that you feel yourself to be understood, that you feel good about having that special hour each week, that you begin to be able to deal with your problems, that your perspectives begin to shift and that you become more compassionate toward yourself and others.
Therapy ought to be flexible to meet your particular need at this time. It is both an art and a science. It is based on intuition, connection, the willingness to be spontaneous and especially the ability to be open to each person's own pace and direction for their own healing. It is also a science where thoughts and behaviors are predictable and a step by step treatment can be planned and learning occurs.
Therapy touches a person in many ways all at once. It can address a practical concern, a crisis, a trauma, an ongoing nagging sense of dissatisfaction, mood swings, ever repeating patterns in your life that are frustrating, exasperating or even destructive. It helps sort out conflict or dissatisfaction between your partner and you, your children and you or it can address your sense of helplessness when you behave or think in ways that feel shameful. Therapy can explore existential and spiritual questions.
We all see the world from our own interpretation of reality and base our lives on this interpretation. To have less anxiety, depression, addictions and to suffer less from the many other dilemmas of life, we need to understand how to shift our perceptions and interpretations into greater health. To be more engaged with life is an internal shift of attitude sometimes needing to lead to changes in ones external life as well. Therapy ought to free you from the burden of having to meet unrealistic expectations and thereby give you the chance to see and value who you actually are. Imagine never knowing who you are and never living your own life. Imagine what living your true life would be like.
As a person I have a great curiosity to discover the meaning of living and to grapple with the challenges of being alive in our culture at this time, being a wife and a mother. As a therapist I have the privilege to be with "an other" in a special way. I bear witness to our struggles, desires and wishes as human beings and how we avoid ourselves with distractions. I do not have it all figured out and have become comfortable knowing that it can't be figured out. The realness of life itself is much more powerful to me than the ideas we might have for what life ought to be. Who you are is also much more than what anyone might think you should be.
Hopefully therapy will help you learn how to welcome your experiences alone and with those you care about. That is what being more fully in life means. To welcome your life rather than letting it go by. In a strange way it is more about acceptance than change. Discernment is crucial. It is also imperative to learn to sense your own direction, to realize your responsibility in creating your life and the freedom and burden that comes from that. These are important skills to learn.
I do not see people in terms of pathology. Symptoms are a defense against distress, a perceived threat, or an expression of immature aspects of oneself that have not been recognized, accepted or understood. Once understood the psychological state becomes integrated allowing the symptoms to subside. Other symptoms come from chemical imbalances and these can be managed with coping skills and/or medication and understanding. We are all limited and marked by being members of families and society. We can learn to find our way and flourish within the framework that we live in. Often what is seen as a burden, often what we try to change is really something that can be turned into a strength. To learn to accept some of our weaknesses and to refocus our energy on those aspects of life that we truly value leads to more happiness.
My Education, Training and other Experiences that prepared me as a Psychologist
I was awarded a BSc degree in Zoology at the Universtiy of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. I went on to complete an MA in Psychology (Wilderness/Transpersonal emphasis) at Sonoma State University in Rhonert Park, California. After several years of living, travel and performing all kinds of different work I committed to a career as a clinical psychologist and went back to earn a PhD in Clinical Psychology with a depth perspective at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Carpinteria, CA. To become licensed I completed internships at a Psychiatric Hospital, a Community Counseling Center, Child Protective Services, County Mental Health and through supervised private practice. A significant part of my becoming a therapist was by engaging in my own therapy. During 7 years of Intersubjective Analysis I learned of subtle psychological states and how they affect us.
Another view I hold is one shaped by Yoga Nidra. This is a very sophisticated psychological map of the human mind. It also offers a practical way to experience ones psychological states and discern them from the larger underlying awareness. The practice teaches us how to be more aware through our senses in ordinary daily life. Often this is referred to as "being here now". By experiencing the difference between our thoughts and the underlying awareness the rigid conditioning that keeps us stuck in unhealthy habit patterns is undone. Yoga Nidra also greatly helps reduce daily stress, anxieties, worries, depression, anger, post traumatic stress, and sleep disturbances. It loosens our limited perception of life that creates all kinds of tensions and unhappiness and opens us to spontaneous and happier ways of being. We become more compassionate, kind and patient. I am a certified iRest/Yoga Nidra teacher. More information can be found at www.iRest.us
I also completed a 6 month training in Dream Tending at Pacifica Graduate Institute with Dr. Stephen Aizenstadt. In this training we learned to work with dreams in a relational way.
I was born in South Africa and came to the USA in 1994 during the exciting time when Mandela was elected as president. I lived north of Los Angeles for 10 years before moving to Moscow, Idaho. There I had a successful practice as a psychologist. In June 2008 I left Idaho, my practice and home to seek another way of life in Mexico. Journey into Self describes that experience in my life. Mexico turned out to be the wrong kind of a place for my family and myself to make a home. However, this experience has provided a rich learning for me about the many things that call us in life. After Mexico we settled in Redding, California in February of 2009 and are very happy about our choice to be here.
I appreciate the mountains, walking and especially mountain streams. In the future I intend to lead day trips to Mount Lassen. There we can learn about ourselves and our place in life while being surrounded by nature.