Bainbridge Island sky

How I Work

Many treatment options exist to address emotional suffering. Psychotherapy should distinguish itself as a complement to what can be gained by talking to a trusted friend, reading a book, practicing a recommended discipline or technique, and the healing moments of participating in the arts, or taking medication as prescribed.

Here and Now Focused
Research in brain plasticity encourages us to consider that one’s literal and observable “history”, though important, is also not fate. Psychological theories are helpful, but generalized. Your theories, particular to you and to how things came to be as they are, will always be of first importance. In addition, the therapeutic relationship allows remnants from our emotional past to emerge in the here and now. Here they can receive mutual attention for the role they play in shaping our present, for the functions they serve, and for how we organize (or have trouble organizing) ourselves to cope with the consequences they create.

Appreciative of cultural, familial, developmental and historical contexts
The template for the feelings, thoughts and sensations, we relate to and those we evade, as well as what we look toward others expecting to find, forms early on, when our need to depend on other is highest. Back then, when we felt something, letting it be known was subject to what we came to anticipate the response from our world would be. Cultural, familial, and historical contexts also planted signs of caution against some things and encouragement for others. Our patterns for protecting a sense of being ourselves while connecting with others were shaped in these contexts. To the degree these templates remain unacknowledged, ignored, misinterpreted or misunderstood, we suffer more than we have to.

Based in theories about and for the development of happiness
Happiness is more about processes and capacities than it is a place of arrival. The quality of our approach to what goes inside us has consequences for the next moment. The way we arrive at the emotional meanings we assign to our own experience, need to be recognized for the ways it supports or frustrates us in our natural yearnings to:
  • • Make sense of our present
  • • Make sense to ourselves
  • • Communicate and experience being recognized and understood by others
  • • Experience being able to affect others and to be affected by them emotionally
  • • Develop a process for happiness that is not borrowed, or imitated but personally achieved

These needs are to our souls what nourishment, shelter and a capacity for movement are to our biological vitality

“There is a certain kind of peace that is not merely the absence of war. It is larger than that. The peace I am thinking about is not at the mercy of history's rule, nor is it passive surrender to the status quo. The peace I am thinking of is the dance of an open mind when it engages another equally open one.”  —Toni Morrison