The Buddhist psychotherapy approach is to hold the view that all people, whether they know it consciously or not, have inherent, fundamental value. More specifically, the nature of each human, in fact it is said to be true for all sentient beings, is sane. But that our fundamental sanity is often inaccessible to our immediate experience because of the confusion of our thoughts and emotions. The traditional Buddhist analogue is the sun covered by clouds. The sun, or basic sanity, is always there but on cloudy days, times of emotional upheaval or mental fixation, we don’t feel the sun’s warmth. Early childhood trauma, neglect, developmental delays, growing up in an addicted family system, are examples of how the habitual “cloudiness” of our experience is formed.
What does this mean in terms of approaching therapy? We never give up on anyone. We never believe that people can’t move towards greater wellness or sanity in their lives. The progress may be slower than hoped, but progress can be made.
What Techniques Do We Use?
There is no one-technique-fits-all. We use a number of different techniques depending on the presenting issues and preferences of the client. We use some form of talk therapy with all clients unless they have come specifically for neurofeedback therapy.
Under the umbrella of talk therapy techniques we use:
- Mindfulness Based Cognitive Behavioral techniques
- Trauma therapy techniques including body-centered psychotherapy and Somatic Experiencing
- Gestalt Therapy techniques
- Couples Therapy techniques
- IFS (Internalized Family Systems)
- 12 Step Model and Codependency
- Modern Psychoanalytic Group Therapy
- Process-Oriented Group Therapy
- Developmental Psychology
- Parts work techniques
For anxiety, depression, and complex trauma / PTSD we will recommend a combination of talk psychotherapy, combined with neurofeedback. Neurofeedback is a terrific add-on tool because it communicates directly with the part of the brain that is in charge of the stress response. Part of the treatment of anxiety is getting the brain to stop going into the fight/flight response. For depression, or the hypo-arousal response, the brain is in the freeze portion of the stress response. We have found neurofeedback is very helpful for shifting out of a stress response. Read more here.
We approach every individual as unique and tailor the therapy to fit the needs of the client, couple or family.