My practice combines principles of western psychology, eastern practices of mindfulness, and the science of positive neuroplasticity. What exactly does that mean? As you can imagine, there’s a whole lot to be said about each one of these categories, but I’ll give just a brief summary and example here.
Let’s assume something is troubling you. You probably have a sense of what you are upset about, but the mind can be a tricky thing, making up all sorts of stories and putting up lots of roadblocks to prevent your from the pain of some more vulnerable truths. For example, you might experience feeling upset about your supervisor failing to say goodbye to you this evening when she passed by on her way out. You come to therapy really angry about it. You and your therapist try to explore what has upset you so much about the incident with your boss, but it’s not clear.
Drawing upon mindfulness, a central idea is that by learning how to calm the body and mind, what’s really going on underneath is allowed space to be seen. Thoughts and feelings that are at the core of suffering can arise and be processed without force.
In addition, according to what science has proven about what’s called positive neuroplasticity, our brains can be trained – or “rewired” – for increased resilience to stressors down the road, making us less prone to suffering. Western psychology supports these processes by giving us understanding of our experiences, challenging old habits or beliefs, and helping us make wiser choices.
So returning to the example above… let’s say instead of heading down the rabbit hole of processing your anger, your therapist engages you in practices to quiet the raging thoughts and emotions. In that calm place, you notice a familiar sensation in the pit of your stomach, much like how you feel when you are frightened. Thoughts come to mind about when your last boss gave you the cold shoulder the day before she informed you that you were being layed off. Ah, now we are at the crux of the problem. Work can be done to challenge the automatic assumption that the worst is going to happen every time your boss turns a cold shoulder. With a little strategic reinforcement, your brain can learn to readjust expectation on its own, protecting you from getting upset about similar situations in the future.
Altogether, this process breaks down into some surprisingly simple practices that I’m happy to share with you in our work together.