Thank you for investing the time to learn about my approach to psychotherapy and life coaching. Choosing a therapist or life coach is an important step in moving into a more integrated, peaceful and embodied lifestyle and more rewarding intimate relationships. I hope you'll find the following information helpful in making your choice. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. Know that we can always arrange a 20-30 minute online (Zoom) or a telephone consultation at no cost. This is a great way to get a feel for me, how my approach would fit with your issues and concerns and how we can best work together. Just drop me a note and we'll find a time that works. Looking forward to hearing from you!
My approach is grounded in a holistic wellness model, the belief that we all carry within us the wisdom and tools needed to be the very best human being possible. And we all need a little help from time to time to connect with our inner resources. From a place of confidence and strength, we can discover how our higher self is hijacked by past conditioning and our current ways of thinking and being in the world. Then with courage, discipline and skilled guidance, we can bring resolution to these issues and put them and their associated anxiety, depression, damaging habits and general dissatisfaction with life behind us.
I have learned from many clients that a combination of perspective broadening/shifting (insight) and traditional forms of psychotherapy (changing thought patterns and behaviors, understanding family dynamics) can lead to significant improvement in functioning. I draw upon a wide variety of theories and therapeutic techniques in this work to find a system of therapy that resonates strongly with my client. When its usefulness fades, we shift to another system in order to move into the next layer of the healing process.
From other clients I have learned that for many of us, it is not only our mind and related emotions that are conditioned in ways that limit us, but our bodies also hold memories and associated reactive patterns that keep us caught in the past. For example, trauma-related somatic memories, which are encoded at a pre-verbal level, cannot be completely resolved through talk therapy or insight. These issues may manifest in something as simple as an inability to stop smoking or to ask for a well-deserved raise or as complex as going into a freeze response at the slightest night-time noise, riding in a car or the sight of a red sweater (11-minute video about Polyvagal Theory). For these types of issues to be successfully addressed, we must work with bodily sensations that arise when traumatic memories (e.g., physical attack, accident, abusive childhood, shaming experiences) are triggered. The somatic portion of these past experiences are observed with mindful (non-reactive) awareness and allowed to physically and emotionally release (27-minute video with Peter Levine). Then the full experience can be processed at a conscious, verbal level and integrated into a stabilizing, current reality-based life story.
Integral psychotherapy is a challenging and rewarding path of psychological and emotional healing that leads to a life of integrity (being, feeling and acting like the person we really are), spiritual connectedness (realization of our relationship with all Creation) and freedom (to reach our highest potential). This purification process positively impacts our overall quality of life, interpersonal and intimate relationships as well as career or life's work. The integral approach is quite useful in working with intimate relationship issues, giving a couple a common language and perspective for fostering clear communication, deep understanding and heart-felt appreciation.
Intimate Relationship Therapy approached from an Integral perspective can be very helpful for both committed couples as well as individuals seeking to establish a healthy partnership. Intimate relationships are considered by many researchers to be the foundation of a well-balanced, healthy and rewarding life. My approach is grounded in the research-based model developed by Sue Johnson - Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy. EFT is grounded in the research into attachment theory and how dysfunctional patterns of interaction often have their source in this deeply-charged defensive system within the body/mind. I also draw from the work of John Gottman, David Schnarch and Keith Witt - rounding out the Integral approach of using the most effective tool to address the presenting issues. My wife Jordan and I also offer a variety of training programs including our 8-week MBSR: Healthy Relationships - a wonderful option for anyone, currently partnered or single, who is interested in developing the knowledge and needed skill sets to create and maintain a rewarding, long-term, intimate relationship. The next MBSR: Healthy Relationships program begins March 11 with a free introduction on February 18 - come check us out!
Integral Recovery developed by John Dupuy, is a comprehensive map for moving from addiction through the necessary healing of the body, mind and spirit to the establishment of a clean, sober, and rewarding life (read an article about IR). Refuge Recovery is a systematic program developed by Noah Levine that uses the teachings of the Buddha as a roadmap for healing addictions and for living a peaceful and rewarding life (learn more about RR - Meetings in Louisville & Lexington). My integrally-informed, healthy lifestyle approach to long-term freedom from addictions draws from both John and Noah's work as well as a host of other researchers and teachers involved in bringing the power of integral and mindfulness practice to this challenging work. These approaches are often especially attractive for those seeking an alternative to, or a compliment for, the popular 12-step approaches. If you are currently free of your addiction (i.e. not in need of detox or intensive treatment) but are struggling to stabalize your ability to stay clean and sober, perhaps my approach would be a good fit for you. If you think this may be the case, keep reading...
Support for the Balancing of Mind & Body: In addition to individual therapy/coaching and/or couples' counseling, and mindfulness training workshops (e.g. MBSR and Integral Mindfulness), I work closely with a small circle of healthcare professionals to provide a comprehensive mind/body/spirit approach (e.g. massage, nutrition, yoga, accupuncture) to move my clients into a healthy, rewarding and productive lifestyle. Watch a short video of John discussing MBSR.
Internet Sessions: Today's internet services (i.e. Zoom) provide a secure, intimate, face-to-face connection from anywhere in the developed world. I began offering internet sessions some years ago to meet the needs of my clients who had relocated outside of the Louisville area. These clients found it very helpful to stay connected with a therapist with whom they shared a solid, supportive relationship. An internet session can also be quite useful when my clients are traveling or during times when schedule demands limit in-person sessions. Building on this success, internet conferencing is now a regular part of my professional practice even with some emotionally and psychologically stable clients with whom I have had no previous history. I am constantly impressed by how effective these sessions can be for those who are open to this form of communication - maybe you're one of them?
Please allow me the privilege of supporting you in claiming the peace, freedom and vitality that are your birthright.
In the paragraphs below I explain the various elements of my approach to psychotherapy and life coaching while offering personal background information that reveals my core values and belief systems. My hope is that this sharing will allow you to make a well-informed decision regarding our working together.
Wellness Orientation: Even before graduate school, I was drawn toward holistic wellness models, those that honored the freedom and dignity of the individual, those aimed at the cultivation of their highest level of functioning. During 20 years of offering psychotherapy, I used many different models of psychological functioning to help my clients move to a place of balance and overall health. Early in my practice, I moved away from the pathological models that seem to dominate the field of mental health (e.g. focus on diagnostic codes, requirements of a certain level of pathology for insurance reimbursement, etc.). I realized how disrespectful and short-sighted they were putting the client into a sick role and the therapist into that of a healer.
Collaborative Approach: I appreciate that my clients have the answers to the truly important questions in their life. It's just that these answers are often hidden somewhere deep within them or are being obscured by reactive patterns or limiting beliefs. So, I strive to ensure that our work together is always in an environment of supportive collaboration and mutual respect. Drawing from a variety of supportive techniques including Motivational Interviewing, I invite my clients to set their own direction through whatever transformational process they are currently facing. Then having gotten in touch with their inner voice and a sense of inner safety, they become their own guide, their own coach. I'm available to offer direction when needed while providing unwavering support throughout the entire therapy/coaching process.
My personal transformative experiences and my work with clients has convinced me that we all have the innate wisdom, drive and natural capacity for bringing healing and wellness into our lives. I realize it's not my role to “fix” or “heal” anyone. My role is to help my clients discover their own inner wisdom, their own inner healer. Today my professional orientation fits fairly well under the umbrella of “Integral Psychology.”
Integral Psychology, first developed in the 1940s and more recently informed by the work of Ken Wilber, recognizes the truth and usefulness in the various schools of psychology and the methods of psychotherapy resulting from each. Integral Psychology takes the best from each and applies it where it can be the most helpful. This selection process is influenced by the client’s level of functioning (e.g. body, mind, soul, spirit) giving consideration to as many developmental lines (e.g. cognitive, moral, interpersonal, spiritual, affective) as possible and examining them from four perspectives (i.e. intentional, subjective, I; behavioral, objective, It; cultural, intersubjective,We; and social, interobjective, Its).
Bahman Shirazi of the California Institute of Integral Studies defines Integral Psychology as "a psychological system concerned with exploring and understanding the totality of the human phenomenon....(which) at its breadth, covers the entire body-mind-psyche-spirit spectrum, while at its depth...encompasses the previously explored unconscious and the conscious dimensions of the psyche, as well as the supra-conscious dimension traditionally excluded from psychological inquiry".
Integral Psychology and Integrally-Informed Healing and Recovery are holistic in the extreme, as many aspects of ourselves are taken into consideration as possible, including both ordinary, altered and transcendent states of consciousness, levels of maturity and lines of development, and personality types - all seen from internal and external as well as individual and collective perspectives. Not only mind, body, soul and spirit but also shadow and developmental trauma the unconscious elements of our make-up that so frequently trip us up in life, are included in the process of discovering what is blocking the emergence of one’s true nature and highest potential. Shadow and trauma work involves the uncovering, engaging and owning hidden or rejected aspects of both mind and body and bringing them into awareness where their energy can be transformed and used to support the creative unfolding of our lives. Trauma resolution often involves somatic (body centered) approaches such as Somatic Experiencing. (Read an excellent 20-page article on Integral Psychotherapy.)
Many find this integrated approach very helpful in their process of personal healing and transformation. Exploring the lay of one’s psychic landscape using such a multifaceted lens with non-judgmental curiosity and patience, reveals both the strong and the underdeveloped qualities - areas that need attention and areas that can provide the support needed to move along this transformative path. A meditation practice can be an effective ally in this challenging work.
Mindfulness: My early training in clinical hypnosis led to an interest in meditation that has come to dominate my life, both personally and professionally. Developing the skill of mindfulness, even at a beginner’s level, allows a shift of perspective from personalizing an experience (i.e. a sensation from the 5 senses or a thought arising in the mind) to observing it with patient, nonjudgmental awareness. This certainly has benefit out in the world less attachment to and craving for pleasant experiences, less aversion to the unpleasant experiences and therefore less suffering. Mindfulness as a lifestlye can help us move into more healthy ways of living less stress and anxiety, more moments of restorative stillness and peace.
My personal experience as well as a growing body of clinical research, suggests that mindfulness, while helpful in ordinary life, can have an extraordinary impact on deep emotional and psychological healing processes such as those common to integral psychotherapy. Learning through direct experience that we are not our thoughts, not our sensations, not our stories, opens up possibilities for engaging repressed memories and their related stored physical energies and resolving them, with much less distress or anxiety. With mindful, nonjudgmental awareness, we get to see the Wizard behind the curtain and know the truth about these distressing images and passing bodily sensations they are impermanent. We learn that if we acknowledge and own them, give them space and stop feeding them in our old conditioned way, they will eventually discharge their energy (and therefore their control over us) and pass away. When we take a step outside the chaos of the mind and body and watch from the safe seat of mindfulness as the show of thoughts and sensations passes by, in those moments, we are free to choose a healthy and fulfilling path for our lives. For brief taste of mindfulness, find a comfortable seat and listen to this 10-minute guided meditation).
Psychotherapy vs. Life Coaching: Over the recent years, there has been a growth in “coaching” in a variety of formats some historically fitting under the rubric of “psychotherapy,” others, not. This has generated a lot of discussion in the professional trade journals about the differences and similarities between psychotherapy and life coaching and the relative benefits of each. When I first began learning about coaching, I realized that moving between these approaches was common with my typical psychotherapy client. We just weren't formally acknowledging the shifts as we made them but the shifts were happening none the less. At other times a cleint feels ready to conclude formal psychotherapy and move on to working with a life coach. This shift can provide a new direction for personal development and when we make this shift together, they have access to a life coach who already knows them well so it doesn't require any "geting to know each other time."
From my perspective, both psychotherapy and coaching have their place and both can be quite beneficial. When compared with coaching, psychotherapy has a much deeper potential reach into the murky waters of the conditioned mind-body-spirit-shadow of an individual. Past issues, traumas and injuries can be uncovered and resolved within the safe container of a psychotherapeutic relationship. Coaching having a more future- and goal-directed orientation, offers valuable wellness-focused support and mentoring. This is perfect for those who aren’t moved to engage in psychotherapy at this time in their life but who are still invested in reaching their highest potential.
Therapeutic Alliance: Over the years I have been repeatedly reminded of one of the foundations of effective psychotherapy a warm, trusting and mutually respectful relationship between client and therapist. The process of establishing this relationship has many variables, some obvious, some quite subtle. But generally they include: feeling safe and respected, sensing that I am truly invested in your wellbeing and will be able to help you with your problems. And I must be effective in helping you find the motivation to do your share of the work and be willing to endure some discomfort in the process. These elements form the foundation for our working productively and efficiently together. It may take a session or two to get a clear picture of how this process is unfolding and to see if we are a good match. This can be especially true in couple's work - getting everyone on the same page can sometimes take a session or two. Sometimes a phone call can ease the anxiety that accompanies the early stages of establishing a trusting relationship. Feel free to give me a call or better yet, drop me an email and we’ll set up a convenient time to share some time together.
Clinical Supervision for Psychologists: I am approved to serve as a clinical supervisor by the Kentucky Board of Examiners of Psychology for psychologists practicing in Kentucky who require supervision for a variety of reasons (e.g. pre-licensure, practice or ethical violation). If you are in this situation and resonate with my approach, please contact me and we'll explore options for our working together.
Mentoring: I offer guidance and support to licensed psychotherapists (PhD, PsyD, LCSW, LPCC, LMFT, etc) who are seeking to integrate mindfulness and/or the integral model into their clinical practice as well as more general support in establishing a rewarding private practice. This includes group CEU programs as well as individual coaching. I also provide similar services to healthcare and wellness professionals who are not psychotherapists but wish to bring the power of mindfulness and integral into their work with their clients.
Thank you again for taking time to learn about my clinical orientation and the professional services that I offer. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me: email@example.com or give me a call at 502 727 2996