a heartfelt psychotherapy practice serving San Diego & North County since 1983
 

Our Approach & Theoretical Influences

Through empathy, warmth, humor, and active participation we create an atmosphere of emotional safety in which you can explore and express your deepest and most personal concerns.

Relationship with Yourself

In order to make a lasting difference we work with you to heal and strengthen your relationship with yourself. This results in greater clarity and confidence.
Then when you are alone, instead of feeling empty, lonely or anxious you can have the experience of inner peace.

Healing Emotional Trauma

Many people carry the results of prior trauma. This can be a single event such as a physical injury or assault, or the cumulative effects of stress over time such as dealing with a chronically ill sibling or an alcoholic parent. Healing emotional trauma frees people to live more expressively, comfortably and securely. Symptoms of depression and anxiety often resolve. The specific methods we use for trauma resolution include:

  • Thought Field Therapy
  • Brainspotting Therapy
  • EMDR/neuro-affective Therapy
  • Expressive Arts Therapy
  • Adlerian early memories work
  • Healing visualizations
  • Emotionally Focused Therapy

Skill Building

We support you in learning specific skills which you can use for the rest of your life to facilitate your own growth. Some of the specific skills address:

  • Staying centered in yourself while interacting with others
  • Anger resolution
  • Anxiety reduction
  • Self-soothing and stress reduction
  • Focusing
  • Communicating with self and others
  • Keeping commitments with yourself
  • Self-forgiveness

Influences in Our Work

In our work with you, we use a variety of psycho-spiritual approaches that can bring about lasting change. These may include:

Person-Centered Therapy

This exceptional model provided our foundational training in Humanistic Psychology and still exerts a major influence on each of our approaches. It supports our deep trust that within each client lies the inner resources to handle unresolved issues. Our task is to help you access those resources through the various other modalities in which we are trained.

Spiritual Psychology

Spiritual Psychology is an approach to personal growth which integrates psychological perspectives with timeless spiritual principles and practices, such as forgiveness of self and others, compassion, Grace, and the power of intention in creating your life more purposefully.

This discipline goes beyond seeing people as "also having a spiritual side or spiritual dimension." Instead it acknowledges that we are in fact Souls, having human experiences. This perspective, far from seeing people through the lens of pathology, encourages us to embrace our challenges as the way in which our learning and expansion come about. This approach is nearly four decades in development at its origin, the University of Santa Monica, where Gordon and Alissa have collectively served as faculty for over thirty years. For further details, see universityofsantamonica.edu and for a real treat, read Loyalty to Your Soul, by Drs. Ron and Mary Hulnick.

Gestalt Therapy

Gestalt Therapy relies on the power of the present moment to direct the course of therapy. Following the flow of your present thoughts and feelings leads to the awareness of specific unfinished business with self and others. Once discovered, this unfinished business can be brought to closure. As closure occurs people often experience greater authenticity, less anxiety and more spontaneity.

Expressive Arts Therapies

Expressive Arts Therapies provide powerful ways of connecting with inner experience. The use of drawings, sand tray and metaphor provide opportunities for expressing and resolving thoughts and feelings that are deep and complex. Using symbols we bypass the rational mind and reveal to ourselves what is most true.

Neuro-affective Therapies: EMDR & Brainspotting

Current psychotherapy has developed through analytic, behavioral, cognitive-behavioral, humanistic, and spiritual progressions. Among the latest contributions are those which are psycho-physical in nature and have been influenced greatly from research in neurobiology, involving mechanisms such as brain waves, bilateral activation of both brain hemispheres, and de-arousal of the nervous system for people experiencing residual trauma, where one's alarms become overly activated. EMDR and Brainspotting are among these latest development which are actively used by many mental health professionals world wide.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing/ EMDR

EMDR was originally developed for the rapid and effective healing of emotional trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Another useful application of this powerful tool is strengthening the self which is accomplished by:

  • Developing inner resources such as courage, confidence, and mastery
  • Learning to better tolerate distressing situations and feelings
  • Learning to better receive compliments and to sustain positive feelings
  • Strengthening abilities to maintain connections with others

Brainspotting

"Brainspotting is based on the profound attunement of the therapist with the patient, finding a somatic cue and extinguishing it by down-regulating the amygdala. It isn't just PNS activation that is facilitated, it's homeostasis." Robert Scaer, MD, The Trauma Spectrum

A powerful form of healing emotional trauma, incorporating the body's physical and emotional signals, Brainspotting is, in the words of it's originator, Dr. David Grand, Manhatten psychotherapist and former EMDR Facilitator, a simultaneous form of diagnosis and treatment, enhanced with BioLateral sound, which is deep, direct, powerful yet focused and containing.

Brainspotting identifies activated eye positions designated as brainspots. Located through either one or both eyes, brainspots are observed from either the� inside window� of the client�s felt sense and/or the �outside window� of the client�s reflexive responses (i.e., blinks, eye twitches or wobbles, pupil dilation, quick breaths and subtle body shifts).

Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy

Born of extensive research on human bonding and emotional attachment needs, this empathy based model provides couples with the steps to break free of negative interactive cycles and to restore trust, closeness and intimacy. For full details, see the page "Couples Counseling" on this website.

Cognitive Therapy

Cognitive therapy supports the discovery and transformation of conscious and unconscious beliefs. These beliefs, often learned in childhood, have far reaching influences on choices and decisions throughout life. The cognitive model developed by Dr. Albert Ellis is our favorite.

Applied Psychology

Applied Psychology develops the abilities for organizing and implementing projects which turn dreams into practical realities. Time management skills, staying focused, and treating obstacles as keys to further learning and development are part of this discipline. Our training in Applied Psychology comes into play in our practice of therapy with some individuals and more particularly with Life Coaching.

 


“ Heartfelt therapy is one of the most enduring gifts you can give yourself.”

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Photography of Gordon and Alissa Meredith by Carl Studna Photography