Among the theories included in my approach are:
A psychology oriented around the idea of the "unconscious," depth psychology incorporates the study of images, dreams, and spontaneous creations, as well as symptoms, to gain an understanding of the language of the psyche. Drawing on art, philosophy, mythology, literature, and critical studies, depth psychology aims to heal what has been repressed, rejected, or ignored in a person so that integration and transformation can become possible.
Depth psychology also understands how a person and their suffering is not separate from the family, community, cultural, or ecological issues that surround them. While depth work is a process with no clear timeline, it is increasingly seen as a discipline that creates longer-lasting and more profound psychological impacts than cognitive or behavioral approaches alone.
Narrative therapy encourages you to identify your values and what it will take to live these values out loud. We all create stories about ourselves, whether we know it or not. These stories, fraught with historical information from our past, often teach us about ourselves and what we're capable of. They can be the unknown sources of our own limitations.
Narrative therapy aims to rewrite the stories that have become roadblocks, turning them into sources of empowerment instead. By re-authoring a new narrative about yourself, you strengthen your ability to effectively confront obstacles as they arise and develop a new sense of faith and awareness in yourself.
Humanistic psychology believes all humans are in the process of self-actualization, attempting to realize their own capabilities and creativity. The theory promotes the idea that someone's behavior is determined by their perception of the world around them. By exploring actions through the eyes of the actor rather than the observer, this approach allows for the discovery of how behaviors connect to inner feelings and self-image rather than being isolated points of change.
Humanistic psychology considers the whole person rather than the individual parts that comprise their sum, drawing focus more on self exploration and self awareness than the behaviors themselves.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) combines talk therapy and behavioral modification in effort to reframe negative thought patterns that may be getting in the way of a joyful life.
By identifying sources of negativity, increasing mindfulness around beliefs associated with those sources, and recognizing the thinking patterns that develop as a result, CBT can help rewrite the narrative from which you operate. Incorporating goal-setting, positive self-talk, and awareness of triggering or stressful situations, CBT supports the development of personal coping skills, empowering the individual and minimizing the impact of negative thoughts.
Mindfulness is the biggest buzz word in town, but like a great rock song ruined by radio overplay, it's important to remember why it became popular in the first place: it was awesome. Mindfulness is the practice of bringing your awareness to the moment you're currently residing in. Too often we're caught up lamenting the past or anticipating the future, creating realities that are long gone or don't yet exist. By doing this, we miss the current experience, the only reality we've got.
Mindfulness aims to strengthen our relationships with ourselves; understanding the physical sensations we have, emotions that arise, and observations we shelve while moving a mile a minute. By flipping the speed switch to slow motion, we can find momentary peace as well as the tools needed to access peace again in the times we need it most.
Systems theory recognizes the interdependence of individuals in a group. In other words, we can understand the challenges of the individual by assessing the functionality of the larger groups to which that individual belongs; family, community, culture, society. It takes into account that an underperforming system can contribute to the struggles of its individuals and that the pain we carry within is sometimes created or compounded by systemic harm, judgment, marginalization, or oppression.
In situations where the system cannot be changed, using this framework can still be helpful. Just recognizing how systems impact individual health can provide an empowering awareness that bolsters ego strength and personal agency. This is more effective than accepting abuse, manipulation, neglect, or gaslighting by a given system or holding the individual responsible for the pathology of something bigger.
Based on the works of Ainsworth and Bowlby, attachment theory recognizes the "deep and enduring emotional bond that connects one person to another across time and space" and how the dynamics of our very first attachments in early development inform the relational dynamics in our adult lives.
This theoretical approach considers how our social, emotional, and cognitive development stem from our relationship with our primary caregiver in our pre-verbal youth. With this structural understanding of one's attachment style, current attachment patterns can be disrupted and redirected if not providing the desired results. While there are individual and cultural factors that may alter expectations of attachment, even an absence of childhood attachment can inform present-day relational dynamics and provide the insight necessary for desired change.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a modification of standard cognitive behavioral therapy which considers that acceptance and change unfold through a discourse between two differing points of view. This is called dialectics. For example, you may be very motivated to cease substance use and you may
also be fearful of losing the only coping skill that has been known to work for you, however undesirable.
DBT focuses on accepting the dialectic rather than fighting it or letting it fight you. Additionally it supports developing healthy coping skills while utilizing psychoeducational training for the management of emotional dysregulation, low distress tolerance, decreased motivation, addictive urges, and interpersonal difficulties. While DBT skills are typically offered in structured comprehensive programs, the general skills can be useful when practiced effectively in daily life.