“The body’s life is the life of sensations and emotions. The body feels real hunger, real thirst, real joy in the sun or snow, real pleasure in the smell of roses or the look of a lilac bush, real anger, real sorrow, real tenderness, real warmth, real passion, real hate, real grief. All the emotions belong to the body and are only recognised by the mind.”
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The therapeutic work that I do combines elements of depth psychotherapy with principles of Buddhist meditation to create a skillful approach that can both scale the heights and plumb the depths of our inner world, working both the spiritual and the embodied aspects of our lives.
Depth psychology originated with psychoanalyst Carl Jung, who emphasized the value of intuition and emotion in navigating our inner world. In depth therapy, we cultivate a relationship with the ‘Self’ in its largest sense — the totality of our souls, including aspects of ourselves that have been disowned, repudiated, or rejected. We approach this larger Self with respect and patience, with intelligent inquiry and honest curiosity.
I find this open, aware, warm approach to be a natural complement to the open, aware compassion cultivated in meditation. My depth psychotherapy practice is grounded in a Buddhist perspective. I have studied and practiced Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana) since 1988, and have found meditation practice to be extremely valuable in my work as a therapist.
Buddhist practice for me has two essential aspects:
Wisdom: the understanding that reality is an ever-changing process empty of any fixed identity – that reality is a verb rather than a noun.
Compassion: the healing power of opening one’s heart towards oneself, towards other beings, and towards the world.
These two keynotes provide a grounded yet spacious container for the process of deeper self-understanding. As we unfold our inner being, we step naturally onto the spiritual path. We learn to use the difficult aspects of life to expand our wisdom and compassion, rather than struggling to fabricate a life that is somehow magically free of it.
My clients are seldom practicing Buddhists, but I have found certain aspects of meditation practice to be extremely valuable in therapeutic work. We don’t necessarily need to have a formal meditation practice in order to start bringing awareness and compassion into our lives – although there is no doubt that a regular practice can be of enormous benefit. See my article “Wisdom and Compassion: Buddhist Psychotherapy as Skillful Means” for a more detailed discussion of this subject.
On the therapeutic side, I’m trained in a number of modalities, including EMDR I and II, Somatic Experiencing, Systemic Constellation Work, and archetypal astrology. So we have many different ways to approach whatever you might bring in. I work with trauma, PTSD, depression, grief, anger, anxiety, physical symptoms and disease, career change, parenting, relationships, midlife issues, spirituality … the list is long. I am not, however, an addictions specialist. If you’re currently in an addictive relationship with a substance or process, I will recommend that you work with someone who is.