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The Practice of Compassion

is a Shared Responsibility

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy is a form of analytic psychology similar to psychoanalysis in its depth, but different in its orientation and intensity. Psychoanalysis is more long-term and  intensive. Developed by Freud and more focused on unconscious motivation and conflict, psychoanalysis is n “archeological” dig into an individual’s early life and past to gain insight and mastery over current psychological difficulties in the areas of work and love. It is an extremely valuable treatment but not accessible or feasible for the majority of people to undergo. Psychodynamic psychotherapy is a more contemporary analytic approach, adapted to today’s busy lifestyles. It offers the possibility of real meaningful change for patients who make the commitment.

Psychodynamic psychotherapy is a “relational” process whereby the patient and the contemporary analyst or psychotherapist share the goal of developing insight and understanding into the effect of the patient’s past on the present. A “good fit’ between the patient and psychotherapist is vital to the outcome of the treatment. They embark upon a journey together. The work is a mindful and compassionate tracking of the many ways the past is re-enacted in the present, even in the “here and now” of the clinical session. 

I am a contemplative-based psychodynamic psychotherapist. My thinking borrows heavily from the work of contemporary analytic thinkers and the long-time practice of Buddhism philosophy and meditation. I have had the privilege of studying with exceptional analysts and Buddhist teachers for over forty years. As a seasoned clinician, I am dedicated to education and training. I have mentored and supervised many young psychotherapist-in-training in an integrative psychodynamic approach over many years. I value life-long learning, and what the Buddhists call beginner’s mind. To further my own learning, I am a candidate in the Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Program at the Denver Psychoanalytic Institute.

I bring the sensibility of “beginners mind” to the immediacy of my work. I am not the expert on my patients life, my patient is! You will notice, I use the word “patient” rather than “client” to identify those I work with in individual, couples or group therapy. Words are important, they are signifiers, as are their early root derivations. Naming experience is integral to the process of psychotherapy itself. I begin with the person who is walking from the waiting room into my office, the patient.

The derivation of the word patient comes from the Latin - patiens- someone who is suffering. When I say the word “patient,” I have a different internal response in my body than when I say the word “client.” The former evokes a slow poignancy, a kind of gravitas to the moment. I notice a feeling of concern, curiosity, compassion. Thoughts and questions related to the healing process arise. The latter word “client” feels more like a business transaction;  smart, savvy, forward moving, intentional. I want to be a client with my CPA, my lawyer, and my web designer. I want to be a patient under my doctor, my oncologist or my analyst’s care.

As a psychodynamic psychotherapist, I am am committed to the care of my patients, working to name and understand the suffering they are experiencing, and sometimes unconsciously creating. I am committed to creating an environment that strengthens the healing process. When a medical doctor works with a wounded patient, the intention is to alleviate suffering and to help facilitate healing. The psychotherapist works with invisible wounds: unresolved trauma, shame, depression, anxiety, relational difficulties, painful memories, destructive impulses. Psychological wounds, unlike physical wounds, are rarely visible. These hidden wounds are largely unconscious, impacting present behavior, cognition, perception, emotional regulation, functioning and personal agency.

Psychodynamic psychotherapy is a highly recommended form of treatment for individuals struggling with anxiety, depression and/or relationship difficulties. By meeting weekly, and engaging in authentic conversation, we can bring mindful non-judgmental awareness to your inner experience by working with the thoughts, feelings, assumptions, aspirations and needs that arise…and by noticing how you bring these dynamics into relationship. We explore how your past experience has an effect upon your current “here and now” experience.

By working together in individual psychodynamic psychotherapy, you are giving yourself the opportunity to strengthen internal self-awareness, cultivate self-compassion, and to observe and change the patterns and perceptions which may be getting in the way of living a richer, more meaningful life.

Increased self-awareness, combined with the cultivation of new skills and capacities allows you to make new choices in your present life, paving the way for a healthier future.

I would be honored to work with you. Let’s get started with an initial consultation to see whether we have a good fit.  

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