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My Philosophy of Individual Counseling

To have the life experiences you desire, you need to tend four things:
 - Embracing who you are at your core,
 - Assessing what’s working in your life and what isn’t,
 - Maintaining clarity about what you want most, and . . .
 - Moving down a path that will take you towards what you desire.

I call this tending your relationship with yourself and I believe effective counseling supports you as you learn how to more naturally and consistently tend this essential relationship.

Knowing and embracing your true nature is often the hardest step because of patterns of fear that we develop when we are very young. No one had a perfect upbringing, so all of us have core wounds that leave us with at least a kernel of fear. Fear that if we really beheld our true nature we’d see that something essential is lacking or that we are, at the core, ugly or shameful. Further, our fears tell us that if others beheld our true nature they’d want nothing to do with us and we’d be alone.  No wonder we’re scared!  And, no wonder it can be hard to be authentic in relationships (and thus they often fail or are unsatisfying). That you are reading this, that you are considering counseling is a courageous act, so congratulations, courage is a part of who you are!

Both my training and decades of life experience have proven to me that those fundamental fears (Do I exist or am I just a facade? Do I matter? Am I worthy?) are always unfounded. So, I have tremendous faith that each of us was born perfectly who we are meant to be, with gifts that can bring us, and those around us, great joy.  I also know that our precious essential nature doesn’t tarnish, doesn’t fade and doesn’t change, no matter how many times we disappoint ourselves. The bad news is it’s not enough for me to believe this, or even for you to believe it at an intellectual level. You need to experience it with your whole being, and that is a relational process!

The good news is there’s never been a better time to do this work. We now know that the brain pathways that trigger those primal fears and keep us stuck can be “rewired” and healthier patterns can emerge. The better news is that the more we come to know and compassionately embrace our true nature the easier it is to assess our lives, decide what we want, and figure out how to get there. And the best news is that we can manifest our essential spirit differently with every breath we take, so we can make different choices and create different experiences!

We are relational beings. We are born that way. From our earliest moments we learn about ourselves and how to survive based on our relationships with the people around us. We form our understanding of who we are and what the world is like because of the information and feedback we receive from others, and we take comfort in not having to face the world alone. In individual therapy the relationship that we are learning within is the one between the client and the therapist.  In order for you to make progress in therapy it is essential that our relationship be healthy: You need to believe you are safe, respected, and appropriately challenged. And, we need to keep our relationship healthy by working through any issues that may arise promptly rather than letting them fester. We will tend these aspects of our relationship regularly.

If doing your individual work within the framework of couple's counseling or family counseling is an option, check out my Philosophy of Couples Counseling section.