How I work
Your therapy with me is tailored specifically to you and is based on your individual needs and existing strengths. I start from the premise that you are whole and unbroken at the core, not diseased, sick or in need of a cure – even though you may feel that way!
Psychosynthesis: the psychology with a Soul
Psychosynthesis is known worldwide as ‘the psychology with a Soul’. It is an integrative and holistic approach which includes an exploration of the biological, emotional, psychological, social, sexual, cultural, ecological and spiritual elements and influences on health and well-being. Spirituality in a psychosynthesis context is often used to describe the deeper essence of who we are, the innate part of us that continuously calls us towards growth and wholeness. When we are present to this deeper essence, it provides us with a sense of belonging, connectedness, value, meaning and purpose in life (Gale 2010).
Roberto Assagioli, the founder of psychosynthesis, was a colleague of both Freud and Jung. He was a psychiatrist, a neurologist and a pioneer of psychoanalysis in Italy. Ahead of the times, he gradually moved towards a more inclusive and mindful approach to human development. Assagioli was interested in the soul, the esoteric, yoga, spirituality and religious teachings such as Buddhism, Christianity and Jewish mysticism; these deeply influenced his map of the human psyche.
Assagioli’s work has been widely influential in the fields of humanistic and transpersonal-based psychologies. Psychosynthesis practitioners have been using Buddhist mindfulness theory and techniques for at least half a century, many of which are being used in popular mindfulness and acceptance based psychologies today. Psychosynthesis integrates the best of western psychology, eastern and western spiritual disciplines. Psychosynthesis theory and practice is in a constant process of evolution and growth as rigorously trained practitioners worldwide integrate new philosophies, ideas and evidence based practice – such as neuroscience – into their theory and practice. Many psychological approaches focus on only part of who we are, for example, our thinking. Assagioli’s model is still at the cutting edge of psychology today due to its inclusive nature and because it takes into consideration the whole of the psyche and the whole person (Gale 2010).
Psychosynthesis provides an approach to life, personal development, counselling, coaching and psychotherapy which incorporates working with early childhood and past trauma, current issues in the here and now and the vast potential for growth, healing and change.
In a recent research program whereby I participated as one of the therapists, neuro-psychosynthesis practitioner Dr Stratford shows that the therapeutic relationship between the therapist and the client is essential to healing. Relationship lies at the heart of psychosynthesis therapy.
Psychosynthesis practitioners hold a positive, optimistic and hopeful context. You will learn psychosynthesis tools to apply to many areas of life including your relationships, parenting, teaching, politics, medicine, administration and the arts.
Psychosynthesis counselling, life-coaching and psychotherapy has the following benefits and will help you to:
- Find resolution of the pervasive underlying causes of your problems
- Heal from early childhood trauma and abuse
- Find freedom from self-destructive thoughts and behaviours
- Build a toolbox of coping and life skills
- Facilitate healthy life long changes
- Build a strong foundation for healthy relationships
- Increase self esteem, self worth and self confidence
- Become more intuitive and creative
- Reconnect with your true self
- Discover value, meaning and purpose in life
- Get in touch with your whole being: body, feelings, mind, sexuality and spirituality
Mindfulness, also translated as awareness, has gained popularity in psychology over the past 10 or so years. There is a growing base of clinical evidence to support Mindfulness, particularly with people who suffer from anxiety, depression, eating and food problems.
Mindfulness means ‘paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally’ (Jon Kabat Zinn).
Practicing mindfulness has the following benefits and will help you to:
- Reduce stress
- Enhance emotional intelligence
- Increase self-acceptance and self-awareness
- Develop compassion and kindness towards yourself and others
- Manage painful thoughts and feelings
- Live a balanced and conscious life
- Experience more peacefulness and calm
- Reconnect with your true self, others and your environment
- Gain a greater sense of clarity, focus and concentration
Dynamic Eating Psychology™ and Mind Body Nutrition™
Founded by Marc David, Dynamic Eating Psychology™, combines the psychology of eating with the science of mind body nutrition™; it is the latest and most up-to-date approach there is for healing from “weight concerns, emotional eating, binge eating, overeating, body image challenges, endless dieting and a variety of nutrition related health concerns such as digestion, fatigue, mood, immunity and more (Marc David)”. Read more about The Power of Dynamic Eating Psychology™ and Mind Body Nutrition™ .
Health at Every Size – HAES®
I am a Health at Every Size Australia endorsed specialist. Health At Every Size HAES® is an evidence based, non-diet approach which focuses on health, rather than size.
Dieting almost always leads to bingeing and is a contributing factor in all forms of disordered eating and food, body and weight concerns.
The following principles were devised by The Association for Size Diversity and Health to provide a more balanced and health focused approach:
- Weight Inclusivity: Accept and respect the inherent diversity of body shapes and sizes and reject the idealizing or pathologizing of specific weights.
- Health Enhancement: Support health policies that improve and equalize access to information and services, and personal practices that improve human well-being, including attention to individual physical, economic, social, spiritual, emotional, and other needs.
- Respectful Care: Acknowledge our biases, and work to end weight discrimination, weight stigma, and weight bias. Provide information and services from an understanding that socio-economic status, race, gender, sexual orientation, age, and other identities impact weight stigma, and support environments that address these inequities.
- Eating for Well-being: Promote flexible, individualized eating based on hunger, satiety, nutritional needs, and pleasure, rather than any externally regulated eating plan focused on weight control.
- Life-Enhancing Movement: Support physical activities that allow people of all sizes, abilities, and interests to engage in enjoyable movement, to the degree that they choose.
HAES® has the following benefits and can help you to:
- Learn how to listen and trust your own body wisdom
- Transform your relationship with your food and body
- Eat intuitively and mindfully
- Find a balanced approach to exercise and movement
- Gain knowledge about size and weight discrimination
- Advocate for size diversity
The Health at Every Size paradigm supports people to build a deeply respectful relationship with food, body & soul. It encourages people to listen, trust and care for themselves, often for the first time in a long-time.
Techniques and theories to support your transformation and change
I draw from a broad range of theories and techniques:
Talk therapy, Dream work, Symbolic art work, Journaling, Creative visualization, Meditation and mindfulness, Home work and self-reflection, Psycho-education
Part of therapy is about activating a nurturing inner mother and father + your inner therapist outside of the sessions. I sometimes offer homework which might be a book recommendation, self-reflection through journaling or another activity related to your soul’s journey.
Acceptance committment therapy (ACT), attachment theory, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), eco-psychology, existential psychology, feminist and women’s psychology, gender psychology, Health at every size (HAES), humanistic psychology, Indigenous psycho-spiritual wisdom, Jungian psychology, mindfulness techniques, neuroscience, object relations, psychoanalysis, psychosynthesis, sociology, systems and family therapy, transpersonal and Spiritual psychologies.
Image Credit: iStock