The central process for everyone is based on the idea that there exists a state of harmony we can cultivate between our unique nature and our day-to-day lifestyle, which ultimately leads to not just being symptom free, but thriving in this life.
When people first come to see me they are usually in deep pain and even crisis in their lives. For that reason my goal is first and foremost to help them find practical stability and symptom relief in order to maintain their basic capacity to function and manage their lives. In order to do so I have expertise in the use of medications as well as natural approaches such as botanical and nutritional treatments.
I believe that although problems can improve without medication, the use of medication can be a valuable adjunct in the appropriate situation – where natural approaches will not work expediently enough, to offer immediate stability in people’s lives, while not interfering with the more gradual process of true healing and recovery.
Most importantly, while some persons may have hereditary predispositions to illnesses such as depression or anxiety, this does not mean they have a ‘chemical imbalance’ , thus they do not automatically require lifelong use of psychoactive medications.
In addition to medication I have expertise in the following treatment
modalities. Not only are they safer, non-addictive and easier on the body, in many cases they work even better than medication:
- Herbal/Plant based treatments
- Nutritional supplements
Practicing Integrative Psychiatry means I also seek out others who have particular expertise in addressing my patients’ needs, and communicate well to work as a collaborative team. In addition to welcoming collaboration with your current health care providers, the following are some of the approaches I am trained to understand and will often work with on your behalf:
- Acupuncture/Chinese Medicine
- Naturopathy and Holistic Nutritionists
- Chiropractic Care
- Massage Therapy
- Energy Work
Hippocrates: “Natural Forces within us are the true healers of disease.”
The Integrative approach is also the start of a new process of understanding whereby we can cultivate true integration of all the parts of our life with who we are inside. Symptoms are only outward expressions of an underlying imbalance or disharmony and can even be healthy reactions to this imbalance in our lives. The best analogy is to a fever – when we have a fever it is not a disease in itself, rather the consequence of an underlying problem, and in fact it is the body’s vital and healthy immune system attempting to fight off the disease that we experience as the fever. What this means is that beyond just ‘managing’ your symptoms, we should be seeking to understand them and develop a long term plan based on this more holistic view of why emotional problems arise.
The central process for everyone is based on the idea that there exists a state of harmony we can cultivate between our unique nature and our day-to-day lifestyle, which ultimately leads to not just being symptom free, but thriving in this life. While each case is unique, for many people I work with this means ultimately being completely healed and not needing treatment – full recovery. For everyone I work with it means a growing capacity toward not only ‘managing’ symptoms, but feeling whole and realizing true fulfillment in life.
What this looks like is as follows:
- Learning what the Mind is – “a relational and embodied process that regulates the flow of energy and information” – and the necessary skills to harness this process more mindfully and with emotional equilibrium.
- Learning how the body stores vital emotional information and the skills to find better harmony between our emotions and our thoughts and beliefs.
- Understanding your unique temperament and genetic history and how to tailor your diet, environment and overall lifestyle to better thrive mentally and emotionally.
- Highlighting the importance of forming deep and meaningful connections and addressing any barriers people have in finding authentic, meaningful connections and a supportive community despite a modern world that now confronts us with distractions of all sorts.
- Valuing your spiritual life, what guides you and where you derive meaning and purpose and finding ways to live more in alignment with your unique self.
- Developing a plan to cultivate a lifestyle that supports the above principles.
However, I caution that this list is not suggestive of a pre-determined model that applies to everyone in the same way. Rather, what is important is that we each learn what is our own unique temperament and understand how these factors effect us in particular, and thus be educated and empowered to seek out a path that helps is find our own sense of harmony in our lives.
I believe that a strong therapeutic relationship can be a powerful setting for healing and cultivating lifestyle change. When it works psychotherapy supports people restoring their innate capacity to be resilient to stress, form meaningful relationships and feel whole again. Whether you are seeing somebody in our Center or already have a working relationship with a therapist, I prioritize regular communication so that all members of your team are working together on your behalf. In doing so I am guided by certain core principles and values that I advocate for in any psychotherapeutic treatment:
- 1. We are innately resilient, empowered and self reliant.
- 2. We are also innately relational and inter-dependent, and as such require to love and connection to be whole.
- 3. We require purpose and meaning for fulfillment, and are innately driven towards gratitude and a sense of service.
- 4. There is not separateness between the mind and body, and we cannot heal one without addressing the other.
- 5. We are not separate from our environment, and feeling whole depends on finding harmony and balance within our nervous system and within nature.
- 6. Nature is a healing force, as is connection and love and inner resilience.
- 7. Psychotherapy must honor each individual’s needs and should not be one driven by theory or the therapist’s preferences.
- 8. Properly identifying trauma is critical and often missed. Trauma does not respond well to traditional talk therapy, and instead requires a mind-body approach.
- 9. When working with children and adolescents, a priority should be made to actively involve parents, recognizing the greatest resilience comes from, above all else, working to foster a family’s own values and strengths in the development of their children’s well being.
- 10. In addition to treating underlying causes, psychotherapy should support people cultivating lifestyle changes and coping strategies