In my experience, integrating multiple perspectives is more helpful than focusing narrowly on concepts of diagnosis, symptoms or technique (though these concepts are important and useful). Distress can result from disturbances in many areas – the mind, the brain, the body, relationships, even the culture and environment in which we live. When we face our distress with courage, we often discover areas that we didn’t realize needed attention; addressing those areas can lead to freedom and hope that previously had been elusive.
I make pragmatic use of medical psychiatry and many approaches to psychotherapy. I also find it helpful to draw on wisdom traditions—modern and ancient, eastern and western—which offer valuable observations about what leads to good mental health and well-being.
My approach includes collaborative development of a “mental wellness” plan that identifies things for people to do outside of the office that will empower them to maintain good mental health and well-being. Any good plan will have aspects that are challenging and will evolve over time.
People whose spiritual path, religious belief or tradition is an important source of meaning often find my approach a good fit. My work is not oriented to a specific spiritual or religious tradition, and I meet people where they are—I do not in any way impose a spiritual component when working with people who do not find spirituality meaningful.
Since there is much evidence for the value of such practices as meditation, yoga, tai chi and qi gong in improving mental health and well-being, I offer introductions based on my own training in these practices when appropriate. I also provide referrals to reputable local teachers.
The following perspectives or paradigms inform my work:
Interpersonal Neurobiology (IPNB). Grounded in neuroscience, IPNB starts with the observation that the mind, the brain and relationships are interrelated and dependent on one another in order to function well. Work informed by IPNB will always include attention to the workings of your mind, to the state of your brain, and to your relationships. A brief introduction to Interpersonal Neurobiology can be found here. (If you are using a phone to view this, please click here instead for the mobile site.)
Integrative Medicine (IM). One of the most established IM centers, the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine (AzCIM), defines Integrative Medicine as “healing-oriented medicine that takes account of the whole person, including all aspects of lifestyle. It emphasizes the therapeutic relationship between practitioner and patient, is informed by evidence, and makes use of all appropriate therapies.” AzCIM’s list of defining principles can be found here.
Ken Wilber’s Integral model. Integral theory combines as many perspectives and methodologies as possible to create a powerful framework for using diverse approaches in a disciplined and focused way that transcends being simply “eclectic.” With so many ways to address distress and enhance well-being, which way or ways will be most beneficial to you? Integral theory helps answer that question. An overview of the Integral model can be found here.
For more information, see the guiding principles page.