I recently was sitting talking with a friend of mine, we were discussing our clinical work and our individual experiences as healers. We discussed how much I enjoyed sharing in the process of really deep healing work with clients, more so than brief therapy, and she asked me what I meant by “deep work”.
It was a question that forced me to articulate exactly what I do mean by that. For me, deep work is about working with preconscious (unthought knowns) and unconscious material (unthought and unknown), ill-formed beliefs- (the lies we believe about ourselves) and attachment distress. For Ron’s full resume click here.
These areas of exploration lead to questions about what takes a person from their authentic path and helps find resolution to all of these issues at an unconscious and preconscious level.
In my experience, therapy often requires me to accompany clients to the depths of the human psyche. I feel most alive as a clinician in this psychic territory, particularly when a struggling individual is willing to risk feeling more and challenging the quality of their current relationships in order to gain the understanding necessary to heal. On these clinical journeys I am like a guide, offering knowledge to my clients along the way– but following as they take the lead.
During my early experiences leading wilderness trips for at-risk young adults; throughout my post-graduate education and personal therapeutic work; and while designing clinical programs, working with individual clients, and supervising a staff, I have found myself wanting to learn more about the complexities of the human psyche and its connection to the body and spirit.
I love the tradition and the history of depth psychology, and have devoured Freud, Jung, Kopp, Reich, Winnicott, Searles and Pearls. As an individual and a clinician, I like to dig deep and tackle the most difficult clinical cases. Working with someone face to face on their preoccupation of troubles and traveling with them through this makes me want to be a healer of excellence. It is the therapeutic encounter that is most compelling to me. I believe that I have an instinct for hearing the pain deep within others and I have an innate ability to help people explore territory in a way that allows for true re-membering, recovery, and reconciliation.
While the old schools of thought hold a special place in my heart, there are also current psychological and philosophical meta-theories of vital importance to me. One such meta-theory is called Strong Relationality. As a Strong Relationist, I believe the essence (ontology) of a person lies in cross-contextually understanding the meaning and relationships a person has with other people, themselves, their motivations and the world. Getting to know a person in this “thick” manner takes a clinician outside of traditional diagnosis and other labels brought on by themselves or society.
While the feedback I get from clients, families, and colleagues is that I have excellent relational skills, clinical expertise, and “bedside manner”, I stay current on the research and science of clinical psychology. This allows me to stay on the cutting edge of scientific and philosophical knowledge and challenges me to apply these scientific results to my practice day to day.
In my role as Clinical Director I rely on accompanying assessments, neuro-imagining clinical consultations and most importantly the person sitting right in front of me to further my understanding of that person and the journey they are choosing to embark upon. In these instances understanding the science of clinical psychology is not for my edification. It is essential to serve the needs of the client. The science and the art of clinical practice are both essential to best serve the people’s needs.
This translation of scientific understanding, a Strong Relational philosophy and its combination with clinical training—training which develops a therapist’s intuition and communication skills—create a fertile ground for clinical progress and healing.