Approach and Philosophy
My deepest intention is to find ways to contribute to promoting greater personal and global, social and ecological, peace and justice.
My approach to counselling psychology is existential, humanistic, systemic, and transpersonal. My focus is on the universal human experiences of coming to terms with a search for meaning and purpose, the inevitability of loss, and the great potential for self-actualization, freedom, and fulfillment. I don’t view mental and emotional health through a lens of pathology where labels and diagnoses are applied; rather I see people’s feelings and behaviours arising in response to universal human needs and values and from the depths of one’s soul and/or family soul seeking resolution. I trust the wisdom of the body and feelings as important information. I respect the primacy of each person’s experience, for you are the expert on your own life and I am here as a guide and support on that journey.
A systemic view acknowledges that our so-called ‘individual’ experience is inextricably-linked to the larger context of our family of origin, ancestry, culture, and history.
From a Buddhist Psychology perspective, all events arise dependent upon innumerable causes and conditions, while the perspective of Systemic Constellations illuminate dimensions of these causes and conditions that are otherwise outside our predominant field of perceptions. Wholeness and wellbeing include not only mental, emotional, and physical health, but also a relationship to the sacred. For some, the sacred may include specific spiritual traditions, for others it simply means, that which is most important. For me, the sacred dimension of experience extends our perceptions beyond ourselves as separate individuals to recognize an underlying unity. Living with an awareness of such unity and acting in accord with it supports a deep sense of wholeness and wellbeing. I weave together four wisdom traditions in-addition-to my training in transpersonal counselling psychology. They include:
- Zen Buddhism/Buddhist Psychology
- Nonviolent Communication
- Systemic Constellations
- Wilderness-Based Rites of Passage
These four traditions are the most powerful means I have found for realizing an enlarged view of the self, others, and the world. Realizing such a radical shift in perspective is wisdom
It is what the wisdom traditions all teach. Such wisdom is accessible within ourselves, through our bodies, minds, and family systems, with the aids of techniques and practices for listening deeply. With such wisdom comes greater compassion for self, other, and the world. With such compassion comes joy, fulfillment, and peace of mind. Zen Buddhism and Buddhist Psychology include thousands-year old practices for cultivating mindfulness, developing insight, and understanding ethics and compassion. Nonviolent Communication is based, in part, on the perennial wisdom of the world’s spiritual traditions that honor the sanctity of all life and connects us to the singular life force within each of us. Systemic Constellations are based, in part, on the wisdom of indigenous practices of honoring family and ancestors and learning to listen to and trust the greater knowing field, a truly vast resource available to us all. Wilderness-Based Rites of Passage are based on the transcultural wisdom practices of communion with nature and deep reflection that bring both blessed solitude and deep connection with life force.
“To find and develop love you have to firmly commit yourself to love. And you have to have a way, a path, a practice, for cultivating love throughout your lifetime, come what may. Love isn’t just a feeling. It is an overarching attitude and spirit. It’s a way of life. It’s a daily activity. In my life I have cultivated love through a path of spiritual practice, a life of meditation and study and reflection. I think you also will need a path of spiritual practice. You also will need some kind of religious life if you are going to survive this difficult human journey with your heart intact and your love generous and bright.”
– Zoketsu Norman Fischer, Stanford University Class of 2014 Commencement
To learn more about the services I offer, follow the links below
Nonviolent Communication workshops & trainings for individuals and groups
Systemic Constellations workshops & private sessions for individuals and groups