As far as we know, we are the most complex beings on the
planet. Our minds are actually several minds, working together. The
oldest part of our minds goes back millions of years.
Our minds can get into trouble in innocent and
well-meaning ways. Out of self protection, or the desire to protect
others, mistaken beliefs or feelings about the self can arise and can
take hold in parts of the mind that are difficult to access or to reason
with in an ordinary way.
Psychotherapy is a way of using the mind to heal the
mind. Its tools are the intellect and personalities of both people in
the therapeutic relationship, as well as the therapeutic relationship
itself. There are many worthwhile approaches to psychotherapy, but the
one thing that they all have in common is the open and non-judgmental
attitude of the therapist, and the importance of the therapeutic
My method of doing therapy is psychodynamic -- that
is, I believe that there are important aspects of our minds that are not
immediately available to our consciousness and our reason, and that
these aspects can influence large portions of our feelings, our
behavior, and our conscious thoughts — for better and for worse.
This approach to psychotherapy has gone in and out of popularity over
the years, although it is currently enjoying an upswing due to new
methods of research that are revealing the reality and importance of the
unconscious and its influence over our everyday behavior (an interesting
overview of some of this research can be found in the book Blink,
by Malcolm Gladwell).
How does psychodynamic psychotherapy work?
Psychodynamic psychotherapy is not an exact science. It is a slow process of
uncovering feelings, beliefs, and thoughts about ourselves and the world around
us. An especially important kind of unconscious material consists of
procedural memories. These are like scripts or programs that are
stored in the brain, instructing us what to expect in particular situations and
how to respond. For example, I might have a procedural memory related to getting
help, telling me that I must prove myself worthy in some way before I can expect
to be helped. It's probably accurate to say that all of our procedural memories
were useful to us at the time that they were laid down in our minds, but in
adult life many of our early procedural memories can become obstacles to our
growth. Correcting such mistaken beliefs is the task of psychotherapy.
Jay French LMHC, Psychotherapy | 927 N. Northlake Way, Seattle WA 98103 | Map and directions
Contact me: (206) 438-4673 | email@example.com
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