Sadness. Anxiety. Flatness. Stress. Loneliness. Crisis. Feeling stuck. Dissatisfaction with work. Dissatisfaction with loved ones. Everyone feels these at one time or another – it is in fact, part of what it means to be human. Sometimes these feelings come and go, but sometimes they stay, and begin to affect other areas in our life.
Oddly, it’s times like this when you feel stuck that there is also great potential for growth and change. In fact, symptoms are often the sign that the time is ripe to stop relying on behavioral patterns that no longer work for us and to learn new ways of relating to ourselves, to others, and to the world around us.
Psychotherapy is not just about “getting rid of” negative feelings and responses. It can be more than that. We can learn to be kind to ourselves and to others, learn tools that move us out of feeling stuck while at the same time gaining a deep appreciation for our lives. Instead of being closed and reactive, we can learn to open up and respond with clarity and compassion to the world around us.
How I do psychotherapy:
I use dialog to create a strong relationship between me and my clients. It’s important for me to understand as fully as I can how you feel stuck, where your challenges are and when they occur, and what resources you need.
I use a variety of tools to help clients gain access to these resources:
Hypnotherapy and trance work: Hypnotherapy (or trance work – think of it as guided meditation) is a powerful way to access resources in the unconscious mind. Our conscious mind can hold anywhere from 4 – 9 “bits” of information at a time – everything else that you know, that you’ve experienced, is stored away in the unconscious mind. When we are relaxed, we can hold more bits of information in our conscious mind, and, if we need more information, in a relaxed state we have access to our unconscious, but when we get stressed, the energy we expend in dealing with the anxiety not only means we have less room for information in our conscious mind, but it means that we have less access to our unconscious mind as well. Hypnotherapy is a way of relaxing that enables us to communicate with our unconscious – that part of us that is wise, healthy, and very skillful. Hypnotherapy is helpful in working with trauma, phobias (for example, fear of flying), motivation, creativity, and self esteem. After a hypnotherapy session, clients will often say something like “I don’t know exactly what happened but I feel much more settled, much more positive.”
Mindfulness: Meditation has moved from the fringes into the mainstream of American life. It has gone from being an “alternative” treatment to being core in many psychotherapy modalities. Meditation on a regular basis helps us work with the ups and downs of our lives; it increases our capacity to bring a sense of kindness to our experience, it helps us become more precise and increases our attention span, and can actually increase confidence in ourselves.
Exercise and Nutrition: While it’s true that our past (particularly our family histories) can have a strong influence on our coping skills and how we manage our emotions (or how they manage us!), it’s also true that certain behaviors in our current life can have a strong impact – particularly exercise and nutrition. For example, daily exercise has been shown to be as effective as Zoloft, a commonly used anti-depressant. Omega 3′s have been shown to have an anti-depressant effect, particularly in women. OPC-3, a powerful antioxidant, helps reduce anxiety by helping the body manage how much of the stress hormones get released into the bloodstream.