“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life, and you will call it fate.” Jung.
More then a specific technique, existential psychotherapy is an approach that views the human condition itself as a source of suffering that calls us to create meaning through the choices we make. Client's often come to therapy to fix a specific problem or relieve symptoms such as anxiety or depression. However, these symptoms are are also signals communicating something is awry and demands your attention. I call my clients to take responsibility for their happiness and the direction of their life beyond reducing such symptoms. This first requires the development of self awareness to realize how past conditioning and unconscious beliefs are determining much of your behavior. To know thyself is to be free to choose based upon your values rather then to be a slave to the unconscious. Voluntarily choosing to face what you fear, and the the truth of your experience no matter how painful, leads to healing, new found strength and liberation.
"Reason shows us their is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so." Cognitive therapy analyzes how our beliefs both conscious and unconscious, shape our experience. Often irrational unconscious demands we place on ourselves, others, or the world intensify our experience of suffering. In this area of therapy I am more directive and will employ a simple step by step process to identify and replace unworkable thoughts with more rational beliefs that are grounded in both reality and your values. This will often include short daily homework assignments for you to reprogram your thinking. Change your thinking, change your life.
Mindfulness is a process by which we notice the moment to moment arising of thoughts and feelings in our field of awareness. I employ mindfulness practices in a directed fashion as a way to ground the therapy and invite you to connect with your deepest self in the present moment. From this place we will begin the process of relating to your suffering rather then from your suffering. In mindfulness we notice how our thoughts only have the power we give them, while making room for painful feelings through acceptance. We might not always be able to rid ourself of problematic thoughts, or painful feelings but we do not have to identify with them or allow them to determine our behavior. I draw from Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) to provide mindfulness practices you can employ on a regular basis.
Writing is a form a self dialogue where we may discover deeper aspects of our thoughts and experience. In my work I often employ various kinds of narrative therapy to this end and call my clients to be authors of their life and heroes in their own drama. Recently I have been recommending an online program Self Authoring developed by leading psychologists that has been proven to have dramatic and positive effects. Check out my Resource tab for more info.
"People who spend time writing carefully about themselves become happier, less anxious and depressed and physically healthier. They become more productive, persistent and engaged in life. This is because thinking about where you came from, who you are and where you are going helps you chart a simpler and more rewarding path through life."