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The therapeutic process


Why does a person begin the therapeutic process?

Life can feel overwhelming or meaningless. When a person is confronted by a major crisis or suffers from anxiety, depression, guilt or grief, they may feel out of control or “lost at sea” and in need of someone to talk to in order to understand what is happening to them and explore options. Others, who experience a more general dissatisfaction with life, turn to therapy as a means of discovering how to live their life with more richness and vitality.

Therapy can help an individual first of all, to observe and listen to the parts of her or him/self that are feeling bad.  They may be parts that wish to please, or criticize (themselves or others), judge, or strive for success.  As well, there may be parts that compulsively indulge in alcohol, drugs, shopping, or food to excess.  Our parts may show up in dreams as an intruder or as the one driving the car too fast, or as abandoned, barely alive infants.  When we stop and listen to the different sides of the internal conflict, then there is a pause. In that space, we can shift our focus inside.  That process alone is the beginning of change because then we are not at the mercy of automatic  behaviours expressed by some of our parts. In this space, healing can begin.

What happens in during therapy?

In the safety of the therapy room, any problem can be unburdened. Working together, psychotherapist and client first focus upon the current conflict.  While my training was originally in the Jungian model, I have come to value and focus on the Internal Family Systems approach of working with our various inner parts-  In this style of therapy, the inner conflict is understood by listening to the parts that hold opposing points of view.  Rather than just listening to the part that can tell the story of our life, we can hear all sides of the situation.  The way the therapy works is explained more fully on another page entitled, “Working with Inner Parts.

How long does it take?

Most of my clients do ‘pieces of work’. In other words, they will come in for therapy on a regular basis, once a week, to work on some area of their life.  They may take a break, go back into their life, and return to therapy if something arises which inspires them to take a closer look.  So we will do another piece of therapy.  One of the aspects of ISF parts therapy is that the goal is for the client to discover their own inner ‘Self’ leadership.  The work of therapy is to relieve the constraints to this process.

The role of the therapist
“One frequently heard analogy for the role of the analytic therapist a role that claims authority about process but uncertainty about content, is that of the trailblazer or travel guide. If one is walking through an alien jungle, one needs to be with someone who knows how to traverse that terrain without running into danger or going in circles. But the guide does not need to know where the two parties will emerge from the wilderness; he or she has only the means to make the journey safe. ”             (Nancy McWilliams)

Nothing changes, Jung has suggested, unless you take yourself seriously.

If you would like further information I would be happy to discuss my approach with you.


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