Relationships and the Therapeutic Process
Consistent with current research regarding the importance of attachment, I understand the importance of formative relationships to personality development. A Relational Rsychologist comes from a psychodynamic perspective, meaning that he or she is an expert at using the therapeutic relationship to understand clients and help them bring about changes in personality that go beyond changing symptoms to actually changing, expanding, and developing your self. The interpersonal aspects that develop in each therapeutic relationship will resemble, to some degree, similar dynamics that you find in your everyday relationships. A skilled relational psychologist uses these similarities to guide clients to insight about themselves and their roles in the circumstances and quality of their everyday lives.
I believe that healing and growth take place in psychotherapy through the activation of a special kind of relationship. What is special, actually, is the type of space that we will create around your words and our interactions. It is a space where feelings can be understood and old pains can be safely felt and transformed into personal meaning and empowerment. The therapeutic alliance often feels like a special kind of relationship because the space can feel intimate and productive in creative ways that you may not have yet imagined. It is a co-creative space in which you and your therapist can recognize your contributions to the healing process as well as your vitality and your contributions to relationships outside the treatment as well.
The effect of such therapy can be profound, helping you discover and develop your own internal resources for approaching problems and difficult emotions in a different, more workable way. For many people, they start to recognize a safe interior space from which they gain a more helpful perspective over the "fray" of everyday challenges. Over time, your success here will lead to success at reaching inward and outward in kinder, stronger and more helpful ways for yourself and others.
More details of the elements and results of the therapeutic process can be found under several items listed on the Common Questions page.
Anxiety & Depression
Today, there is a lot of high quality information available on the web regarding the experience of Anxiety and Depression. My Links Page can introduce you to some of it. Don't be fooled, however, into thinking that science has these problems dialed in. These terms are imprecise efforts to address painful aspects of our human experience. A smorgasbord of other challenges and sufferings go along with them (addictions, physical syndromes and symptoms, relationship patterns...) and it is often difficult to know which should be addressed first. For the purpose of my psychological work I find it helpful to keep my perspective simple and open to understanding your specific experience. Anxiety is commonly understood as inhibited creative potential and Depression as constricted emotion. I approach each new person prayerfully, with an attitude of "beginners mind," as I try to understand the pain and especially the person and what it takes for him or her to thrive. Therapy often involves discussions that free up our inhibitions and constrictions and allow our life energy to flow again.