For psychotherapy to be most effective, I believe, there must be an implicit, bodily-felt experiential component to the work. I use a mind-body holistic philosophy to guide you. The foundation of my counselling approach is to help you understand your mind, find your internal wisdom and strength, and come to a real solution. When you are on your healing journey, I will accompany you, guide you, encourage you, and support you.
My therapeutic approaches include Focusing-Oriented Therapy, Satir Transformational Family Systemic Approach, Adlerian, Psychodynamic Therapy, and Client-Centered Therapy.
Focusing - Oriented Therapy
Focusing-Oriented Therapy comes from the pioneering work of philosopher and psychologist Eugene Gendlin at the University of Chicago, where he collaborated with Carl Rogers. Dr. Gendlin's work has been honored by three awards from The American Psychological Association. He and colleagues studied why some psychotherapy clients improved while many others did not. It was found that successful therapy was not determined by the therapist's technique, orientation or the kind of problem being discussed. What did make a difference was what the client was doing internally. Successful clients were regularly checking inside themselves for a whole bodily felt sense of their situation.
We are all familiar with emotions, but a felt sense is not an emotion. It is a new human capacity. The felt sense of a situation or problem, when it first forms, is typically vague and unclear. You can sense that something is there, but it is hard to get it into words exactly. The felt sense is holistic in nature and contains within it much more than we can easily think or emotionally know about our situation. As the therapist and client spend time with the felt-sense, new and clearer meanings emerge.
The felt sense, of its own accord, brings the exact word, image, memory, understanding, new idea, or action step that is needed to solve the problem. The physical body, in response, will experience some easing or release of tension as it registers the "rightness" of what comes from the felt sense. This easing of tension is what tells us that we have made contact with this deeper level of awareness and that we are on the right path.
When we attempt to solve our problems with what we already know, think, and feel, then we may find that we are just going in circles. But from the felt sense level of awareness where something new can emerge and real change can occur.
Contacting your own felt sense of your situation makes any kind of psychotherapy safer because you can check what feels right for you. Focusing-Oriented Therapy is very effective with people who like to process internally. It’s a very gentle approach. Many clients had success with it in my practice.
Satir Transformational Family Systemic Therapy
Satir Transformational Family Systemic Therapy was established by Virginia Satir, and it’s a change-oriented model. Satir Model believes that people are basically good, and they do their best they can at any given time. Parents often repeat the familiar patterns from their growing up times, even if these patterns may be dysfunctional. We tend to choose familiarity over the discomfort of change. People have the internal strength and wisdom to cope and to grow. The problem is not the problem, but coping can be the problem. Change is always possible. If the external change is limited, internal change is always possible. Appreciating and accepting the past tends to increase our ability to manage our future.
The Satir Model emphasizes that therapy must be systemic, experiential, positively directional, and change focused. Systemic means that the person’s internal world will experience change first, and then his/her external world will change. For example, if a person was abused by his/her parents as a child, he/she may develop some coping strategies which work at the time. Later on in his/her life, he/she has trouble to relate to friends or colleagues by using the same coping strategies. The Satir Therapy will focus on helping him/her to change internally; as a result, his/her relationships with others will improve.
Experiential means that the person must re-experience the impact of the event including some feelings, yearnings, memory, etc., not the past event. We will work on your interpretation of the event. This re-experience happens in the NOW, not the past, and the change happens in the NOW as well.
Positively Directional means that the whole therapy must be focused towards positive possibilities. The therapist will install hope in the client and move towards new possibilities.
Change Focused means that the questions the therapist asked in the session must focus on the potential change the client wanted.
You may wonder “How do you help me to make the change I want?” As a human being, we all have our unique internal world. When you are experiencing some life events, you’ll have some feelings, some expectations, some perspectives, some coping strategies, certain behaviours, some yearnings like wanting to be loved and valued, and your sense of who you are. In the therapy, I will help you to tap into these different layers of your internal world. I will help you to connect your true self hidden behind layers and layers of façade. You will find that your true self is wise, resourceful, and strong. You will be empowered to make the necessary changes and move towards new possibilities. You will become a better choice maker and develop new coping strategies that are healthy and functional.
I also use the Satir Transformational Family Systemic Therapy to help couples and families. As a parent, we often repeat what we learned from our family-of-origin. In our current family, we tend to relate to our partner based on our old patterns and even pass that on to our children unconsciously. If you think you have a less healthy relationship with your partner or your children, and want to do something about it, you can come to see me with your partner or with your family members. I can help you and your partner, or the whole family to make those changes.
Adlerian Psychology is also called Individual Psychology, which was developed by Alfred Adler. Individual derived from the Latin Individuum, means holistic. Individual Psychology is regarded as a division of depth psychology. Alfred Adler, Sigmund Freud, and Carl Jung was pioneers in the development of the depth psychology.
Adler was born in Vienna in 1870. He was trained as a physician. In 1902, Freud invited Adler to join the Wednesday Night Meetings which led to the development of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society, and Adler became its first president. In 1911, due to Adler and Freud’s theoretical difference on fundamental assumptions about human nature, they split. In 1927, Adler published his most popular book, called Understanding Human Nature.
As John Milton stated over three hundred years ago, "The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a Heav'n of Hell, and Hell of Heav'n.". Alfred Adler's Individual Psychology stresses that the mind is the creation of a person, which decides the person's direction. Adlerians believe that when we were small, we don’t just accept whatever happens around us passively, we interpret it. Our interpretation becomes a cognitive map set in our mind and leads us to a place where we feel belonging.
Our biological factors and psychosocial factors, such as family atmosphere and values, sibling constellation, and culture, affect our development of life style. The life style is not attached to us like a possession. Our life style is the “rule of rules”, and guides us through life and toward our goals. Our life style is subjective, unarticulated, and both conscious and unconscious.
As an Adlerian therapist, I use life style assessment to understand your unique style of living. Upon my assessment, I will help you to increase your awareness about your way of living and come to a new understanding on how your life style had contributed to your life and current discomfort, and even to your symptoms (if you have one), such as depression, anxiety, etc. With your new understanding of yourself, your internal wisdom and strength, and my guidance and support, you will break your “old patterns”, experience transformational change, and become truly free.
Psychodynamic Psychotherapy is a form of depth psychology, the primary focus of which is to reveal the unconscious content of a client's psyche in an effort to alleviate psychic tension. It emphasizes on the centrality of intrapsychic (person’s internal world) and unconscious conflicts. Comparing to psychoanalysis, psychodynamic therapy tends to be brief and less intensive.
The concept of unconscious in psychology was first introduced by Sigmund Freud. According to Freud, conscious, preconscious, and unconscious are the three forms of conceptions or ideas exist in our mind. Conscious conception is what we are aware of. For example, when you are reading a book if you are aware of what you are doing, then in your conscious mind, you will have the knowledge that “I’m reading a book.”
Preconscious conception is in between conscious and unconscious. It can grow conscious as soon as it becomes strong. For example, you leave home and you become uncomfortable on your way to work. You start to wonder “What’s the matter?” If your preconscious idea--forgetting the brief case, is strong enough at this moment, you will suddenly realize in your conscious mind that you forget to bring your brief case with you.
Unconscious conception is the ideas that won’t reach your conscious no matter how strong they are. For example, you tend to get headache whenever you see your supervisor. In your conscious mind, you know that your supervisor is a nice person and you have no reason to get headache. Actually in your unconscious mind, you may dislike any authority figures. But this knowledge won’t be available to your conscious mind no matter how strong it is in your unconscious. But through therapy, this unconscious idea can be revealed to you.
I use Psychodynamic Psychotherapy to help you to reach your preconscious and unconscious ideas. You may wonder “How can I reach my preconscious ideas? Do I have to wait until it gets strong?” The answer is that you can reach it through your body. I use body-mind approach to help you to reach your preconscious. I will teach you how to use your body to sense this layer of knowledge that is ready and available to you but not strong enough to surface.
“How can my unconscious ideas be revealed?” I will use different Psychodynamic approaches to help you to do that. For example, I may use dream intervention, ER intervention, Life style intervention, etc. My approach is tender, smooth, constructive, and brief. I like to spend our therapy time effectively. It normally takes about one or two sessions that you will find one or two aspects of yourself that you didn’t know before and it had big impact on your life.
Many my clients were amazed after their unconscious ideas were revealed to them and they often told me:
“This is such an interesting and new experience for me. It really makes sense to me. How come I never knew about that before? I’m glad I know it now. Finally I understand why I always do that.”
After more and more preconscious and unconscious ideas become conscious in your mind, you will have greater knowledge about yourself and about how you direct your life. You will easily break your “old patterns” and become mindful about who you are and what you do.
After your insights increased, I will help you to find your internal strength and build your confidence to experience your new knowledge and integrate that into your action. As a result, you will change and your life will change, too. For the better!
Client-Centered Therapy was developed by Carl Rogers in 1960s. The main focus of the Client-Centered Therapy is to create a positive relationship between the therapist and the client. By using this relationship, the client will feel safe and strong enough to discover him/herself within so that the change and personal growth will occur. In order to create this type of relationship, the therapist will give unconditional positive regard, acceptance, and empathy towards his/her client.
As a client-centered oriented therapist, deep down I believe that my clients have the capacity and the tendency to move forward toward growth and maturity. No matter how deeply this tendency buried or hidden behind layer of layer defense, with the proper condition and support, it can be released and expressed.
You may wonder “How do you create this helping relationship in therapy?” The answer to this question comes down to the way of being of the therapist. In my part, I am genuine, warm, caring, accepting, respectful, trusting, congruent, and will be able to see things from your eyes, and hear things from your ears. I will be actively listening what you say, and reflect it back to you so that you can hear it, too. If I don’t understand what you mean, I will ask you for clarification. You are in charge of what you want in each session. If you have trouble to come up the goals for the session, I’ll help you so that we can work together to achieve your goals. I will address the “here and now”, and constantly monitor what’s happening in the relationship between you and me “right now and here” so that you can make the best use of it.
My clients often tell me that “Your warmth and kindness really made the difference.”