Psychology was a byproduct of philosophy. The word psychology comes from two Greek words meaning the study of the soul. The theories that fuel therapy provide a philosophy of life and a theology of man-our human nature, how we develop our personalities and how we evolve as people.
Unlike the “medical-model” or “disease model” that the majority of mental health clinicians and medical doctors adhere to; I utilize a personal growth and brain-based model in working with clients. The medical model supports the idea that a person with social or mental problems is “ill” (hence individuals are referred to as “patients”), stigmatized and limits their understanding of their patients through a “diagnosis” which is too confining to understand the complexity of human beings. Medical “treatment” targets symptoms and clinicians determine what to do with their “patients” based on “ surface level symptoms and medical necessity.” In contrast to the medical model, the personal growth model strives to remove pathology and stigma from the human condition.
Within the personal growth model, the individual is referred to as a client because the individual is perceived to have an innate inner wisdom that can be harnessed for healing and personal growth. I also believe in empowering clients by identifying their strength and resources that can be cultivated to address their areas of self-improvement and to establish new patterns of being and existing that are in alignment with what a client values and who they are.
I work from a holistic, integrative and multicultural framework in working with clients. I utilize a personal growth model that perceives humans as greater than their suffering, with a potential to build resiliency and overcome adversity. I believe that life and its challenges can stretch us to expand, grow and heal into better people and communities when we have the right support, guidance, resources and direction. All human beings have an innate intelligence and wisdom within them that can be accessed through psychotherapy that allows them to heal and reconnect to their wholeness. Being a therapist has allowed me the great honor and privilege to bear witness to the personal growth journey and walk alongside my clients path to watch them access who they truly are and to unfold into who they are meant to be. I am inspired by the tremendous strength, courage and commitment to growth that this work entails for clients.
Psychotherapy deals with the biological, psychological, social, cultural and spiritual aspects of diverse individuals of all social identities and of couples and families of all configurations. It is vital to acknowledge and understand that social and cultural factors influence human development and mental wellness. I place strong value on cultural sensitivity and cultural humility when working with clients of diverse backgrounds and populations.
Breakthroughs in neuroscience have resulted in creation of an interactive brain-based model which suggests that therapeutic interaction changes the brain of both client and therapist. Dealing with concerns within the safety of a therapeutic alliance helps the client’s brain rewire itself which we refer to as neuroplasticity.
Given that therapy is a deeply personal and vulnerable process, I find creating a safe, nonjudgmental, authentic and caring relational environment that is conducive to experiential learning helps build the client’s confidence resulting in a deeper understanding of oneself. I find it imperative to emanate warmth, develop trust and respect with clients to build a strong therapeutic alliance. I help foster client’s strengths and resources by providing a therapeutic and nurturing environment that is conducive to healing and to clients in attaining their goals and realizing their fullest potential.
Operating from a personal growth model requires that I am client-centered, compassionate, collaborative and focus on client needs and utilize evidenced-based approaches that the research finds that will result in desired change. The goal is to empower clients by teaching them skills and strategies that will allow them to have victory over their concerns and to have a meaningful existence. The objective is to help clients to become proactive about their lives to improve their situation, feel satisfied, confident and establish a healthy interdependence in their relationships. It is my intention that clients leave therapy feeling a greater sense of self-love, self-worth and more confident to address their concerns because they have established a healthy mental and emotional frame of mind and have been equipped with effective life tools to cope with a challenging fast-paced technologically advanced and modernized world.