Counseling in SLO

Your session may include an integrative blend of the following approaches:

Emotion Focused Therapy

Emotion focused therapy (EFT) is a non-pathologizing counseling approach that utilizes an understanding of the wisdom of emotions in order to access therapeutic change. This is a collaborative process where all feelings are respected as intelligent information. Emotions are like an internal guidance system that reveals your core needs, values, perceptions, and beliefs. Unpleasant emotions inform you about problems in your life that need to be solved, and they reveal a path of action to get your needs met. Ignoring feelings can suppress self-knowledge along with the motivation to take constructive action. It also leaves your needs unmet. The result of this is frustration, stress, and overwhelm. It may even contribute to a sense of hopelessness, withdraw, and depression. 

If you want to cultivate wellness, it is more effective to listen to the messages embedded in emotions. When feelings are attended to, they can teach you how to reduce stress, improve communication, and move towards living a more satisfying life. Emotions are not pathological disruptions that need to be conquered. They help you to understand yourself, connect with others, and adapt to the world around you. EFT can assist you in making sense of your emotional landscape. It aims to broaden the capacity to regulate challenging feelings, and it builds the skill of effective emotional expression.  

Emotions can be complex because the immediate feeling is not always what it seems. There are primary, secondary, and instrumental emotions, as well as adaptive and maladaptive ones. Your therapist will help you sort through these layers. Adaptive emotions directly reveal the truth of your authentic, core needs. Maladaptive emotions point to old wounds from the past that need to be healed and updated with new information. These are the wounds that keep you trapped in familiar, negative cycles.

EFT works to unwind maladaptive emotions and bring you into contact with healthy, adaptive ones. When you identify and bring awareness to your emotional experience, the brain begins to regulate. It also becomes possible to discover and experience new meaning and new narratives.  This is a key ingredient of transformational change. Your therapist is there as a guide who will walk alongside you as a co-navigator in this discovery.  

EFT counseling in SLO

Somatic Therapy

Somatic therapy is a body-centered psychotherapy approach that gives attention to physical feelings as part of the talk therapy process. Experiences are not only stored in the mind they are also stored in the body. This serves as a point of entry to unlock and release unprocessed emotions and memories. Psychotherapeutic gains can be accelerated by tapping into the wisdom of the body. The process may involve mindful tracking of sensations, posture, movement, facial expressions, gestures, and eye gaze positions. In Somatic therapy, the body is also considered as a source of information that holds untapped resources for healing. Somatic skills can be used locate calm, grounded, or neutral places in the body that help with emotional regulation. They can also be utilized to regulate the nervous system and shift out of the fight, flight, and freeze response. This counseling approach is useful for stress, anxiety, depression, grief, chronic pain, addiction, and release of old trauma. It can help free you from what is keeping you stuck and unable to fully engage in life.  It can be incorporated into emotion-focused therapy, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, and it is a core feature of brainspotting therapy. 

Parts Therapy

Parts work has roots in Gestalt and Internal Family Systems therapy.  However, it can be a powerful tool for many types of psychotherapy including emotion focused therapy, somatic therapy, and brainspotting. Parts therapy centers on the idea that every person’s psyche is comprised of different “parts.” Each part may have unique needs, desires, values, and beliefs. These parts operate both consciously and unconsciously to either help or harm us. Some parts represent contrary, regressed, or disowned aspects of the self. 

For example, one part of you may be motivated to pursue a certain goal, and another part of you may be anxious and afraid to take necessary steps to achieve it. The fearful part creates symptoms that block the motivated part from attaining the goal. Other parts represent lost and forgotten strengths that have been pushed aside. Parts therapy seeks to explore and befriend these various aspects in order to cultivate self-awareness, overcome obstacles, reclaim personal strengths, and re-integrate lost aspects of the self. This facilitates change by increasing your capacity for problem solving, and by creating more self-agency and choice. Parts therapy has the potential to bring you a renewed sense of aliveness and wholeness.

Counseling in SLO

Somatic & Parts Therapy Counseling in SLO

Grief Counseling in SLO

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)

MBCT incorporates mindful awareness and meditation practices into cognitive therapy. The aim is to help you break free of negative patterns by changing your relationship to difficult thoughts and emotions. MBCT cultivates the ability to move towards uncomfortable feelings with curiosity and observation, rather than staying stuck in activation or avoidance. Thoughts and emotions are never static. They rise and fall like waves on the ocean. You are not your thoughts and emotions. You are not the waves on the surface of the ocean. Your true self is more like the silent, unbounded nature of the bottom of ocean.

It is difficult to access this part of the self when you are being tossed about in the waves on the surface. MBCT can help you to tap into your inner stillness and respond flexibly to your emotional states, rather than becoming overwhelmed by them. When automatic responding is lessened, an enhanced sense of choice arises. This is how MBCT cultivates a sense of internal freedom and self-agency.  It is also an effective therapeutic counseling approach. Research shows that it can be as effective for depression as taking antidepressants. It is also proven to be helpful for anxiety disorders, mood disorders, chronic pain, and overall unhappiness. If you need in-person counseling in SLO, or by telehealth within California, please reach out for a free 15 min consultation.  

Integrative Counseling in SLO

Inner Wellspring Counseling