Counseling in SLO

Your session may include an integrative blend of approaches

Coherence Therapy

In this approach, problematic symptoms of psychological distress are viewed as adaptive strategies. In other words, your mental and emotional symptoms, behaviors, and states of mind are coherent according to your life context, your history, and your internal system. Unless there is an underlying disease or other organic, biological issue present, such symptoms can be seen as protective or adaptive attempts to solve a greater problem. 

People come to therapy because these “adaptive strategies” are not necessarily healthy and end up causing more long-term distress and problems. Most clients seek to heal and grow into healthier patterns of coping and experiencing life. Coherence therapy can help to identify and unwind the core, underlying emotional learnings that are at the root of unwanted symptoms. 

This approach harnesses the brain’s innate capacity for transformational change through an endogenous process know as memory reconsolidation. Old emotional learnings that have kept you stuck in problematic patterns can be dissolved and updated with new, healthier ways of being. Coherence therapy has the potential to facilitate deep, lasting shifts in symptoms.

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 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 and experience new meaning.  This is a key ingredient of transformational change. Your therapist serves as a process guide who will walk alongside you as a co-navigator in this discovery.  

Somatic Therapy

Somatic therapy is a body-centered approach that focuses on physical feelings as part of the psychotherapy process. Talk therapy is amplified and accelerated by tapping into the wisdom of the body. This is a point of entry to unlock and release unprocessed emotions and memories. Somatic therapy may involve mindful tracking of physical sensations, posture, movement, facial expressions, gestures, and eye positions. In this approach, the body is also considered as a source of information that holds untapped resources for healing. Somatic skills can be used to help with emotional regulation, and also to shift the nervous system out of the fight, flight, and freeze response.  Somatic therapy is useful for a range of issues and can be integrated into your overall therapy plan.  It is also a core feature of brainspotting therapy. 

Parts Therapy

Parts work can be a powerful tool in any therapy session. It 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 impede us in some way. Some parts represent contrary, regressed, or disowned aspects of the self. 

Parts therapy seeks to explore the various aspects of self in order to cultivate self-awareness, overcome obstacles, reclaim personal strengths, and re-integrate lost attributes. This facilitates change by increasing your capacity for problem solving and by creating more self-agency. Parts therapy has the potential to bring you a renewed sense of aliveness and wholeness.

Counseling in SLO

Grief Counseling in SLO

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy

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 lost 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. 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.  

Inner Wellspring Counseling