My Philosophy / Assumptions

Emotions

  • Emotions are not causes (although emotional reactions to emotions can create problems for people)
  • If we treat emotions as causes, we would not be able to figure out what causes (evokes) emotions
  • Emotions are part of life, and life situations generate emotions
  • Nothing, not even pills, will ever make your emotions go away
  • Diagnosing or labeling a problem doesn’t solve it
  • Everyone has suffering; no one is magically immune
  • Expressing vulnerability to our life challenges and shared experiences helps us connect to others
  • Extreme, intense, and severe emotions tend to get interfere with out ability to solve problems, act with self respect, and be present to the moment
  • Finding ways to manage intense moods helps us to be better versions of ourselves

Behavior Change

  • Feeling in control means having some predictability of how you are in different situations and contexts
  • Predictability and control help us know how to increase adaptive responses and decrease problematic reactions
  • Behavior is embedded in context and changes depending on circumstances
  • Knowing what impacts your behavior helps you be more in control of yourself
  • Being in control of yourself helps maintain self respect

Dysfunction and Function

  • Within dysfunction something is functioning
  • All behavior has some function no matter how extreme
  • Understanding how behavior functions helps people solve problematic behavior
  • Common functions of behavior include expression, communication, validation; influencing others, motivating action

Doing What Works Just Makes Sense

  • Knowing why you behave the way you do doesn’t necessarily decrease emotional pain
  • Since we can’t change the past we have to figure out the most adaptive way to live a fulfilling and meaningful life
  • Our history influences who we are, but doesn’t necessarily provide solutions on how to make the future better
  • Sometimes our history has set us up for ineffective means of coping (judging, complaining, entertaining, coercing, avoiding, arguing, threatening, escalating, antagonizing, generating hopelessness, proving pain), and people around us reinforce these behaviors as a means of survival
  • If there was one thing you could do to refrain from problematic behavior, would you be willing to do it?

I Won’t Use Jargon Or Judgmental Language To Give You Feedback

  • You deserve to get specific feedback and information about your life circumstances
  • Diagnosis or labels don’t help people feel better about themselves or know what to do
  • I discourage the use of judgmental jargon (axis problems, transferential objections, bipolar and borderline, manipulative or attention seeking, narcissistic or other swear words used to describe people)
  • You will also be expected to use nonjudgmental language about yourself and others
  • You should have an invested interest in doing something to improve your situation
  • We work together to improve your fundamental understanding of why you do what you do re: the actual influences on your behavior

Values And Culture

  • People come from very different life circumstances
  • Some cultures/ family histories influence or endorse certain ways of being
  • Finding our values within our circumstances helps us identify what is meaningful to us
  • Finding space to move towards our values despite things being difficult increases our quality of life
  • Flexible thinking and perspective taking may involve difficult conversations
  • Our systemic and family cultures don’t always value change

Best Treatments Usually Help With

  • Cognitive flexility (not getting stuck in being right, being flexible and open to seeing things from other perspectives, not castastrophizing or thinking the worst)
  • Emotion regulation (helping people manage and moderate intensity of experienced emotion)

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