"Without a center, everything goes on in the periphery and there is no place from which to work, from which to cope with the world. Without a center, you are not alert." - Fritz Perls from Gestalt Therapy Verbatim
Chances are you're here looking for relief from trying circumstances in your life. Perhaps your important relationships to parents, partner, kids, friends or lover (or lovers) aren't working. Or, maybe you're longing to find satisfying relationships and have as yet been unsuccessful. Along the way, you may have developed self-defeating behaviors and now find yourself relying too heavily on - or are even addicted to - drugs, alcohol, shopping, food or sex. Perhaps you're sleepless and frittering away hours online. Traumatic events from the past may continue to haunt you so that completing even the smallest project has become an overwhelming ordeal. You're stuck, and you just can't let go or move on.
Over my past five decades working in the field of mental health, I've known many people suffering just as you might be. Possible symptoms with which I have dealt are probably familiar to all:
• generalized anxiety
• panic attacks
• low self-esteem
• sexual dysfunction
• anger management issues
• sexual identity issues
• obsessive-compulsive disorder
• post-traumatic stress disorder
• eating and weight disorder
• relationship difficulties
• job stress
• drug & alcohol addiction
These symptoms are as many as can be printed in the well-known "Diagnostic & Statistical Manual," even while still others exist. And although many symptoms are possible (they can sprout up like shoots in Spring), where do they come from, what do they mean, and how do we begin to manage them? Most importantly, how do we begin to rid ourselves of their painful reccurrence?
According to my understanding, we develop patterns of behavior from earliest on to defend ourselves when times were tough. The child who cowered in the corner in an unhappy home no longer exists in the exact same circumstance as an adult, although he or she may still feel like cowering. Symptoms are anguished signs that our ways of being from the past no longer serve us in the present, creating a kind of abrasion between how we coped then and what we face now. Sometimes, this can even happen counter-intuitively. For example, take the individual who was sheltered as a child by family from learning to bear ordinary frustration. That person can take away from that experience attempting to recreate a life in which no anxiety exists. Paradoxically though that person might experience unbearable anxiety as an adult as he or she tries to purge their world of all anxious circumstances trying to recreate that old life. In essence, without having found a center - i.e., agency over one's own life - we play the past's tape forward.
Psychology understands all this as projection of past experiences upon life events now, or what former teacher of mine used to call our "home movies." As Fritz Perls, the primary founder of Gestalt Therapy, affirmed: "We look out on the world as if through a window, but it's actually a mirror." No longer children, the home movies we import simply do not adequately represent present reality. As adults, we are no longer beholden to our faulty caregivers - who had their reasons for turning out and acting as they did - and we do not need to see the world as they asked us to see it. In this sense, we as adults still need to grow, and it's this kind of sprouting that interests me most. I recognize that your world is unique, and I hope to understand you in that world. I grasp that our relationship will be important if you choose to work with me. We need to create trust. Old habits die hard, and if you are to try on new ways of being, you'll need that trust in me and as well as in yourself. In the end, it's my firm belief that it is the relationship that heals--with a little wisdom, yours and mine, thrown in. This is, as I understand, the route to finding CENTER in psychotherapy.
I work with adults, children, couples, families, and groups - long-term or short. Whatever your issues, not much will surprise or shock me. (I've seen a lot). If you'd like to contact me for a brief consultation about what you might need and how I work, feel free to do so. Let's see if we can work together toward your growth.
Finding Center that includes simplicity & balance