Therapy is a special kind of human relationship with clear boundaries, where all emotions are allowed and welcomed, but not all actions. Reducing symptoms, learning to change patterns, and finding a way to live better within yourself, are only a few aspects of the process. Psychotherapy is also a beautiful experience, creative, interesting, inspiring and deeply moving.
My Approach to Psychotherapy
There are four elements that shape my approach to psychotherapy: my humanistic values, significance of the therapeutic relationship, immediate experiencing, and me as a person (my education, life experience and my own psychotherapy and inner process).
I hold humanistic beliefs that all human beings are essentially capable of self-determination and free to make meaningful, growth-oriented choices. Thus, humanistic therapists treat clients as active participants and agents in their self-change process. At the same time they treat clients as a whole person, rather than as a collection of parts, behaviours or symptoms. Ideal functioning involves awareness and integration of parts or aspects of self, even when these are currently in conflict and causing pain.
People function best and are best helped in authentic, person-to-person relationship. It is evident through the research that the power of psychotherapy lies in the therapy relationship, characterised by empathy, genuineness and unconditional regard. It is a collaborative creating of new relatedness that speaks to the primary hopes and fears, needs and longings, traumas and disappointments that make up the unique felt meanings of a person's life.
A healing relationship is made of bonds of empathic connectedness and moment-to-moment emotional engagement and responsiveness.
Immediate experience is the basis of human thought, feeling and action. It is also a 'place' of possibilities where the change happens. Experiential therapists look at the person as a process, and interaction, rather then as a fixed entity. Psychotherapy is a new lived experience. What matters is not so much the content of what we are talking about, but the way in which we are relating. Therapy is not primarily about solving problems, developing coping mechanisms, or even gaining insights, but is instead about the co-creation of the kind of interaction that makes us alive, heals our wounds, sets us free and develops new possibilities.
Therapist as a person
My formal education as a psychotherapist, my personal life experience and my own therapy have given me compassion for the twists and turns of life, and for human pain. My experiences have taught me to listen for and treasure the unique qualities and resources that each person brings to the therapy relationship. My own struggles have made me a better therapist. I see my dedication to psychotherapy as an ongoing commitment to personal and professional development.
If I would ever had to choose just one method to take with me and use it exclusively, it would be Focusing, the felt sensing method.
I see in my practice that people grow from being ‘seen’, feeling deeply understood, from being related to in a way that helps to improve their self-esteem and compassion, and from being aware of their own impact on others. Most people respond to these 'emotional nutrients', whether they have anxiety, depression, trauma, relationship or personality issues. I have lots of experience helping people with these and other life issues.
Many people who have the courage to enter therapy have endured painful life situations alone - without anyone really appreciating what they have survived. Often, they need to create a healing relationship that decreases their loneliness and inspires them to create a better life. This is what makes psychotherapy a deeply humane and human experience that is truly transformational.