Depth psychotherapy

Depth psychotherapy is based on the understanding that people are affected by feelings, beliefs, and patterns that are unconscious, as well as those that you know about.  When someone feels stuck, or "keeps making the same mistakes" or just can't get out of the mood or attitude they're in, it is often a sign that some aspect of who they are has been left out of consideration, or has become unconscious.

This means that it is really important to be able to find the traces of those aspects of yourself that are less known to you, that are unconscious, and so begin to more easily identify them.  Once you can do this, you can begin to dialogue (as it were) between these various aspects of yourself,  whether conscious or unconscious.

This ability to dialogue develops as you learn to recognize the language your unconscious uses to speak with you, whether it is through dreams and images, body/somatic experience, thoughts, feelings or actions.  It develops as you become able to identify and sit with more aspects of yourself without judgment.  This is part of how psychotherapy works.

Answers hidden in problems

Very often, what we judge or ignore in ourselves (or what others have judged and ignored) holds the key to a solution we're looking for, to a way forwards when we feel stuck.  This key may be about feelings, behaviors, thoughts, body experiences, or matters of the soul.  What is judged or ignored can become protectively unconscious until we can find a way to look at it with curiosity and acceptance rather than criticism.  

One of the reasons that psychotherapy can help where introspection, self-analysis, and telling-yourself-to-change cannot, is that those approaches generally involve more conscious attitudes; quite often your inner critic unwittingly keeps your best wisdom out of your reach.  You cannot find and address what is unconscious in yourself without the accepting and witnessing presence of another person.  Over time, in the context of a warm, reflective, non-judgmental therapy relationship, you can develop your ability to notice yourself with curiosity, and to constructively dialogue with different aspects of your personality, thoughts, feelings, body, and soul, rather than ignoring, minimizing, criticizing or silencing yourself.

Relational depth psychotherapy

Relational depth psychotherapy is based on both everyday experience and scientific evidence: Who we are and how we are forms, develops and changes through our experiences in relationships throughout our lives.  People aren't "just born this way" they develop various ways of being and relating to themselves and to their lives based on their experiences in relationships.  Accordingly, part of how we learn and develop new ways of being, and heal from stuck patterns, is in the context of a reflective, accepting relationship.  

We all tend to relate to others based on what we've learned in the past.  For this reason there may be times when you have feelings, beliefs, and reactions with others that feel just like what happened in a past relationship.  It is not always comfortable for people to talk about such times, but it can make all the difference to do so.  In relational therapy, you can review and discuss what happens to gain more perspective.  If something in the therapy itself is uncomfortable, your therapist can look at her own part in what's going on, and can talk about it with you if that’s helpful. That way you aren’t left alone to sort out what is happening in the relationship.

For some patients, psychotherapy may be the first place that they are able to deeply review and discuss with another person how that person is affecting them. Therapy may also be the first place that they feel taken seriously in such conversations; it can be both liberating and healing.    

My role

Although I have over 25 years of experience and training, as a relational psychotherapist I do not believe that I know you and what you need better than you do.  Rather, I want to help you know yourself more and more deeply, so that you can feel more confident addressing whatever problems and circumstances you have.  

My role is one of an engaged witness, drawing on everything you're letting me know, and using my experience and understanding to help you to find your own way.  I do this by attending carefully to all you’re expressing verbally and non-verbally (the language of your body) and to your silence.  At times I may ask questions to clarify (perhaps for both of us) a sense of what you’re about; at times I may reflect my sense of what you’re letting me know, so we can both tell if I’m on the same page as you or not.  At times I may stay quiet while I listen deeply with all my senses, as you find your own voice to express yourself.  

Some people are uncomfortable with silence or being the focus of attention, especially in the beginning of therapy.  I am always ready to talk with you or to provide more structure to help you find your way in to what you want to bring up.

I’m very comfortable answering questions about how I work and why; I especially want to hear from you if something's not working, or if you want something to change in the therapy.  Psychotherapy works best when such things can be talked about.