To find the right therapist, first understand how a therapy practice is set up:
Some practitioners are generalists who assist a person with an issue that has arisen, or overall change.
Some practitioners specialize in a specific disorder and/or method of treatment, such as addiction or Emotional Freedom Technique
I am a specialist in self deveIopment through Bioenergetic Analysis. As you gain insight into your mind-body system, you learn what and how to heal. You get to claim expression of your truths, and find self-possession, which means conscious command of your choices. Diagnosis, or "what's wrong", matters as a place to start. However, there's so much more.
"Change is a part of the natural order. Life is not static; it is constantly growing or declining.... Growth happens naturally and spontaneously when energy is available."
- Alexander Lowen, Founder of Bioenergetic Therapy
"Hope is realistic even in the deepest despair, since it admits the possiblity of disappointment."
- again, Alexander Lowen
Counseling with me
Anxiety, depression, and other mood issues
Emotions are constantly changing, like clouds passing by. We all feel fear, sadness, anger, but the experience is short-lived.
Anxiety and depression are states of being in which our emotions, thoughts, and energy become stuck. Moods that radically fluctuate lack containment or ground. Traditional talk therapy attempts to resolve these states with words.
While it’s important to understand the factors contributing to our emotional difficulties, talking alone is insufficient. It’s like trying to do home repair when the only tool in the toolbox is a hammer. Yes, the hammer is important, but that’s not the only tool.
With my Bioenergetic training, I look at emotions as energy. It’s important to understand the energy system of our body and how we manage it. We put aside the judgements we place on emotions/mood, and compare how the human body is like a light bulb. Too little energy and the world is dim. Too much energy, and the filament breaks. I view resolution of emotional issues as coming from awareness and integration of our thoughts, feelings, senses, and energy flow. The goal becomes a baseline sense of peace or ease through which emotions can flow by.
Life transitions are any major change in your life, caused by a threshold moment, that requires adjustment—birth, death, moving, school ending, a relationship break up, a permanent health change, or simply a realization about yourself that you can no longer ignore/deny. Any major change causes us to experience grief—the letting go of what was and adjusting to a new way of being. These changes can be a hardship, but they can also present an opportunity for personal growth and integration.
Trauma--shock and relational
Shock trauma comes from an event that is overwhelming. Common examples include being in a car accident, witnessing or being the victim of a crime, or experiencing war. Relational trauma refers to the cumulative effects of surviving an abusive or neglectful relationship. Most commonly, it’s the parent/child relationship you had growing up.
Both types affect our nervous system in a way that can cause the feeling of being “stuck”. Symptoms include a dysregulated central nervous system, cognitive memory difficulty, unpleasant somatic sensations, mood instability, etc. Bioenergetic therapy is especially effective in healing trauma, as physical movement gets to the body healing in a way that words cannot accomplish.
Addiction and Codependency
Maintaining abstinence from your substance of choice is a praiseworthy feat. Developing indifference toward your substance of choice is a priceless achievement.
I work with people in 12 step programs, and those not in any program. If you are not involved in a program I will discuss with you the need for support and the specific method you will use to create change. If you do not believe in God or a higher power, it’s important to explore how you make meaning of this profoundly complex world we live in. Are you unsure if you’re addicted? That can be explored by understanding compulsion and habits as they apply to your relationships and work life. Is someone saying you’re an addict? That calls for discernment, not judgement.
Recovery from substance abuse is about making choice after choice that leads to sobriety and reduces chance of re-using/re-engaging. We know recovery is possible because modern neuroscience has provided us with amazing evidence of how habit and drugs affect the brain, revealing how malleable the brain is. Ultimately sobriety is about changing behaviors and thinking, but to start, is about retraining your brain.
As you retrain your brain, addiction recovery transforms into “self” recovery when you understand your wants, your feelings, your sense of self, shortcomings, meaning, and abilities. Bioenergetic therapy assists you in more than fixing what’s broken. It’s about reclaiming your worthiness and self authority, and unlearning all the unhealthy crap you were taught.
Co-dependency is the term we use for a person who is overly focused on, or avoidant of, one or more people in their life to the point it causes them harm. A person with co-dependent traits generally has difficulty looking at their own self, instead focusing on what the other is doing. But some of us can be tricky and overly evaluate ourselves, finding faults, so that other problems in relationships never really get addressed. Codependence happens when we have not learned the life skills needed for effective conflict resolution and healthy esteem and intimacy.
Frequently, addicts rely on codependents to take attention away from their addiction by focusing on everything else but the addiction. However, not all codependents have an addict in their life. With Bioenergetics, we explore the patterns and characteristics of codependence and its traits.
The purpose of couples or dyadic work is to learn how to be in relationship where each person has their ground, and can be seen and heard. In working with couples/dyads I begin by assessing what’s happening from 3 angles: The relationship as a whole functioning system, and what each person brings to the table. I learn your goals, present my assessment and recommendations, and we discern together how to move forward. At times, the relationship needs work and support, such as when a couple faces a particular problem/situation together, and/or when critical relationship skills were not learned. Sometimes, especially if there is a history of trauma, it’s important for a person to do their individual therapy.
I work with individuals, couples, and any two people (or dyad) who want to work on their relationship. (Dyads are most often parent/adult child or siblings.)
Group therapy offers a rich experience of learning from others and creating a community of safety. Each of us was born into a group of 3 or more people. Our first "group" experience was in our own family. If that was limited or toxic in any way, then that affects how we perceive and interact with all other groups thereafter. If we there was addiction in our family of origin, then we likely did not learn basic relational skills as we need them.