Welcome to my blog. This is my first entry and I want to introduce myself and say a little about my reasons for writing. I plan to add entries, on an occasional basis, related to my areas of practice and the range of patient needs that I work with.
I’ve been working as a psychologist and psychotherapist for nearly 35 years. While that fact alone doesn’t make me an “expert” or even remarkably qualified to comment, my experience has provided countless opportunities to become acquainted and deeply involved with many wonderful and courageous people. I mean courageous in the sense of the ability to do something that frightens one or strength in the face of pain or grief. These individuals and couples have motivated me to keep learning, to keep dealing with my own issues and growing in ways that help me help interact with them more deeply and therapeutically. In this process, I’ve learned more than a few things along the way that I hope may be of benefit to those who read this blog.
During these 35 years, like most therapists, I’ve listened to such a variety of stories, problems, heartbreaks, tragedies and accomplishments. I’ve helped people wade into the dark recesses of the psyche and, more importantly, to find their way out when they couldn’t do so on their own. It has been a great privilege for me and immensely satisfying to help them resolve problems, recover a firm “footing” in life and learn to live with greater freedom and health.
I’ve also been “in the other chair” in my own therapy and body-centered work during my own dark times and as an integral part of my training. Being a patient and struggling at times with emotions, with depression and despair, and with other issues in my life has “taught” me at a level that formal education just cannot duplicate. An immensely valuable aspect of being a patient is experiencing that therapy really does work. Recovery is possible. I hope that my articles and posts will reflect both these professional and personal experiences.
As a young therapist I searched for several years to find and formulate an overarching goal or purpose for therapy, a philosophy that would guide my work. I read about and heard others describe their goals and philosophies. After I started doing body-centered therapy in the early 1990’s, I began to read a variety of writers in this area. I came across Alexander Lowen and saw his statement regarding his goal for therapy. He said:
“The goal of all therapy is to help a person increase his capacity to give and receive love––to expand his heart, not just his mind” (Bioenergetics, 1975, p. 89).
His words resonated with me as did his attention to what was happening in the body as well as in the mind. If I am successful at helping people achieve this primary goal, then, by definition, we will also accomplish the other, more specific goals relevant to each individual.