ABOUT ME

Allow me to introduce myself...

Having working in many areas of psychology for over forty years, I am a seasoned professional. For a complete overview of my experience, please feel free to view my attached résumé. Aside from a Jesuit education and beyond, I would like to fill in certain details that turn my studies into a story. (See my included résumé).


I became interested in psychology when I studied at the University of Santa Clara in the late 1960's and early 70's. Like many of my colleagues, I felt driven to the field trying to understand myself as I was awakening to the world away from home. Initially, I became interested in certain philosophers--including Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger and Friedrich Nietzsche. Soon I was caught up in the "encounter group" movement of the time and began looking for self-understanding beyond what my mind alone could supply. I read Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers, but I when stumbled upon Perls' writing, I realized that I wanted the deeper experiences that his Gestalt Therapy seemed might supply:  full bodily, mental and emotional engagement.  Consciously or not, I found myself following in his footprints simply because where he had gone made sense to me. Perls has been analyzed by the body-therapist Wilhelm Reich, he worked with the kind and brilliant Neo-Freudian Karen Horney, he knew and experienced the work of the somaticist Charlotte Selver, and he even spent some time at a Zen Center in Kyoto. Subsequently, I engaged in three Reichian therapies, put myself through Horney's "self-analysis," worked with Charlotte Selver, and studied at two Zen Centers.  


Beyond all this, I set out on a path beyond Perls', to which he had only alluded. In his book Gestalt Therapy Verbatim, he wrote about the Japanese samurai who is "...so alert that anyone approaching him, or doing anything even at a distance, he is already sensing it. He is so much centered that anything that happens is immediately registered. This achieving center, being grounded in one's self, is about the highest state a human being can achieve." In the mid-1970's, I commenced studying the Japanese non-violent marital art of Aikido that I practice to this day. (Hence, the Japanese flavor to the website). As a sixth degree black belt, I now own and operate a dojo in San Francisco (Aikido of Noe Valley) and am North American Vice-President of the international organization, The Classical Aikido Association, affiliated with the main dojo in Japan. Aikido as an embodied metaphor seems to work for psychotherapy, too:  Do not contend with your partner; instead, blend with their energy by letting their attack or defensiveness be. Then, join forces with them to move together towards a harmonious and spiraling conclusion.


Also in the mid-1970's, serving an internship grading aspects of the famous Rorschach Inkblot Test at Mount Zion Hospital in San Francisco, I was also privileged to attend the hospital's weekly Chief's Conference, at which the renowned psychoanalyst Erik Erikson regularly contributed. In 1982, I also began studying T'ai Chi Ch'uan (the yang style) that led to an interest in Taoist meditation, which I likewise explored. Years later, I trained in various forms of bodywork through both the San Francisco School of Massage and The Acupressure Institute in Berkeley (now the McKinnon Body Therapy Center).


For many years, I have been both a seeker and a provider in the field of psychotherapy. I have been continually interested in the growth of others by helping them regain a sense of being real. My psychotherapy practice is located in downtown San Francisco in the stately Flood Building. Feel free to reach me via my contact information shown on this site.

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