"The wings of transformation are born of patience and struggle."
~Janet S. Dickens
Background and Approach
I do the work that I do because I believe in the ability of human beings to transform our existence when it becomes necessary to do so, when the very survival of our truest spirit depends on it. While I have been witness to experiences of remarkable change in many people whom I have encountered, known, and learned about, it was my own experience of painstaking change and growth that has most inspired my confidence in the potential for healing and transformation. Of course, I had the help of many generous others along the way; teachers who showed up when I was ready or in enough discomfort that something HAD to change, professionals who worked with me directly, others in the field who have written and spoken of their learning, friends who have known similar struggles, creators of inspired works of art, literature, music, film, etc., even stand-up comedians, and countless everyday people living genuinely in connection with the world around them.
Here are some universal truths that I have learned from these teachers who have been of the greatest value in my development as a therapist and a person:
1. We all need help. And almost everyone, if not everyone who seeks help in therapy, 12-step recovery, spiritual communities, etc., has tried to muscle through their difficulties in life on their own, often gallantly, almost always futilely. To ask for help is a wise and courageous act. Accepting help gives us the ability to help others.
2. Interpersonal relationship is at the heart of the therapeutic process. I am committed to being genuinely present with clients, to listen and respond with openness and honesty, without judgement, to not assume a position of authority or expertise. The experience of shared humanity, of looking into the eyes of another and exchanging resonant words, thoughts and emotions changes moods and perspectives, can alter long-entrenched neural pathways. There is an infinite amount of effective techniques available for use in the therapeutic context, but without the basis of a connected human relationship, technical skills will be of minimal help.
3. While breakthrough events do occur, such as a butterfly bursting forth from a cocoon, long-term transformation is built cumulatively on the repetition and practice of that which shifts away from what had been choking off vitality to what evokes a sense of inspired aliveness. Therapy does not “fix” us or make us into a new person, it supports a process of healing so that we may come to thrive as who we truly are.