Humanistic & Client-centered
I don't like formulas. My intention is to meet people where they are and invite them to actually meet themselves there, maybe for the first time. At some point in this work doors will appear. I may catch a door's flash of color and shine a light there. It's a person's choice how they respond. Some people call this client-centered or humanistic therapy. It is founded on respect for the unique path of each individual.
My approach draws from Jungian psychology and dreamwork, contemporary psychoanalysis, body-oriented therapies for treating trauma, Buddhist psychology, applied shamanism, Nondual wisdom traditions, and current research in the neurobiology of transgenerational trauma.
Most notably, my approach is guided by curiosity in the unconscious as explored by C.G. Jung, contemporary psychoanalysts such as Christopher Bollas, and mystics from all times and places. Relating to what is unconscious has many entryways: it can be literally felt in the body, met in our projections onto others, and experienced in reverie, altered states of consciousness, and many kinds of dreams. This kind of inner work, often dismissed as intangible or unreal by mainstream culture, carves channels to a boundless depth, reminding us that the most private and individuated aspects of our experience are inseparable from life as a whole. Although many of us live in a time of unimaginable technology, vague distraction, and over-saturation, the simplicity of turning inside to listen is always there. I often wonder if the future of our planet rests on cultivating this skill: "If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you," the gnostic gospel of Thomas states. "If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you."
Meditation and the Wilderness
I first became a student of Vipassana meditation in the Burmese Theravada tradition when I was 22. Someone sitting next to me at a wedding mentioned a place you go to for ten days, take a vow of silence, wake up at 4 am and learn how to meditate. I was sold (maybe it was the mandatory silent part). In the midst of sitting many silent courses in my twenties, I lived and worked at S.N. Goenka's meditation center in England. Over those years, I learned how wily the mind is and how boundlessly quiet its quiet (I also learned how to chop onions so I wouldn't cry.) Fifteen years later, I've benefited from a handful of spiritual teachers: S.N. Goenka, Thai Forest shaman Ajahn Jumnian, Adyashanti, Kristin Kirk, Amoda Maa, Rupert Spira, Mukti, and Christina Donnell. Since my introduction to meditation in 2003, I've sat in, with, as silence in some way everyday.
I'm intrigued by wilderness rites of passage. After doing my own vision fasts with guides in Death Valley, I began training with the School of Lost Borders in 2012. I'm interested in the vividness of relationship we unwittingly step into with everything that is unresolved inside us when we are in wild spaces. Simply being in a natural setting stokes the inner coals. And what comes up for someone is always a bit of a surprise, whether it’s disowned pain or beauty from their own life, unhealed knots from generations before, or what is emerging to be seen and felt in collective humanity.
As a therapist, I'm inspired by my own inner work: continuous, spiraling conversations with dreams, symbols, the written word, the inner landscape of body sensation, and the non-human world. Sitting with old trees has guided me, over and over, in ways I cannot intellectually understand.
I'm also a mother. The never-ending practice of caring for my children laughs at the idealist in me, showing me again and again what an infallible, absurd, whole human being I am, in a different kind of wilderness. As I travel along the groove of daily life with chaos on all sides, then looming from within, how do I meet what comes my way? How can I smile, knowingly shake my head, and learn what I’ve come here to learn?