It helps to know a therapist’s philosophy and educational background, when choosing who to work with. For those of you who would like detailed information on my credentials, I have provided this information below:
MA, Transpersonal Counseling Psychology, Naropa University: Naropa provides accredited clinical training that incorporates Buddhist-inspired mindfulness practices with traditional counseling approaches such as person-centered counseling, Jungian analysis and Gestalt therapy. Transpersonal counseling espouses the idea that we are more than our conscious self. We have a deeper, instinctual nature that connects us to other beings. Compassion for self and others arises from gentle attention to the present moment. It is through fostering compassion that we learn to heal ourselves. If I could sum up the philosophy of Transpersonal counseling in one sentence, I would say this: everyone seeking therapy is intrinsically whole, with their own basic goodness. The job of a transpersonal counselor is just to help their client find that basic goodness, and actualize their fullest potential as a human being.
Somatic Experiencing Practitioner, SE Trauma Institute: SE is a form of trauma-informed therapy that works directly with our physiological stress responses. This form of therapy came from the research of Dr. Peter Levine, who observed that wild animals, though routinely threatened, are rarely traumatized. They recover quickly because their natural fight/flight responses are allowed to complete. People often must suppress these responses because they are not found acceptable by their family, their work environment or their society at large. When we allow ourselves to feel the sensations that arise from our natural, self-protective responses, the tension discharges and the nervous system resets. Clients often report feelings of warmth, safety and peace after allowing those sensations to flow through. This translates into greater resiliency and capacity to cope with life’s ups and downs. SE is an extremely gentle and flexible approach which can easily be adapted for a client’s needs in the moment. It does not require a client to re-tell a trauma story or pressure themselves to do anything that feels overwhelming.
Part of my SE training includes the use of appropriate, consensual touch. Most clients find therapeutic touch to be relaxing, and a helpful additional support to talk therapy. I will always ask permission before doing any touch work, and will stop immediately if anything feels uncomfortable.
Applied Existential Psychotherapy, Boulder Psychotherapy Institute: AEP is a syntheses of many approaches (some of which I have mentioned above). As an existential form of therapy, the underlying philosophy is that each client is creating their own meaning out of every situation that arises. Rather than imposing any agenda on a client, an AEP therapist draws attention to the meaning that the client is creating, and encourages them to explore how that meaning is affecting their choices. Sometimes we all feel “stuck” in unhealthy patterns but unable to make the changes we need to make to move forward. We often form unhealthy patterns to adapt to dysfunctional situations, which frequently occurred in childhood. This results in the creation of certain meanings, which may or may not be useful for us as adults. What I particularly love about AEP is its emphasis on freedom. Even when we feel hopeless, we usually have more choices than we are aware of. Clients often find this philosophy tremendously empowering.
In the AEP training program, I have studied both individual and relational counseling, in addition to existential trauma therapy.
I see education as a lifelong process, so this list is always evolving. That is part of my commitment to providing you with the best possible service.