Whole Being Psychotherapy
About my practice
Welcome to my website -
It is my wish for you that therapy will bring you the profound gifts of healing and inner growth. We all need healing. Our society needs healing. Our planet needs healing. Life is constantly in flux, but the healing and internal resources we discover in therapy become our solid ground.
Entering therapy should feel like you are walking into a protected fortress, or a place of great refuge and rest. I want to assure you that your true self, and the truth of your experience in general, are welcome here. The world makes great demands on us to be someone or something in particular, and we are rarely in an atmosphere that allows us the freedom to not have to perform, be, or look a certain way.
As an integrative therapist, I am immersed in many psychological approaches, perspectives, modalities, and techniques, and you'll find a lot of information about these things on my website. This isn't to give you a headache, but to make sure that you feel informed and empowered. Integrative psychology done well is invested in the total care of you.
If we're going to engage ourselves in an activity of transformation, and one that truly impacts our brain, mind, and body, we have the right - and it's the therapist's obligation to be able to help us - to understand every aspect of the therapeutic process.
It is extremely important to understand that not all therapies and modalities of healing do the same thing, and that some of them can, at best, be ineffective, while others can actually harm clients because their unique situation was not understood. You really want to find the therapies that are particularly optimal for you.
In addition, my strong personal advice is that, regardless of the therapist and kind of therapy you choose, make sure that the therapist has a thorough understanding of trauma, the body, and the nervous system, in the context of doing therapy. Trauma is a powerful and often hidden thread that runs through many of the most common psychological issues, such as depression and anxiety, which is becoming more clear as the field of psychology develops its understanding of trauma and the brain.
Trauma can be easily misdiagnosed by therapists who are not deeply trauma-informed in their practice. The goal here is to both avoid engaging in any therapies that could be harmful to us in either the short or long-term, and, to choose the ones that will be most effective for us. This isn't mentioned to make you concerned, and it could very well not apply to you, but it's good information to have and can sometimes make a big difference.
Integrative psychology is, for me and and in the opinion of many psychotherapists, the most complete psychological view, because it is the view that is open and receptive to all other valid and effective psychotherapeutic knowledge and views. It doesn't favor one school of psychological thought or technique over another, or try to fit anybody into a single, narrow, predefined box. Integrative psychology values such principles as critical thinking, complexity, diversity, wholeness, autonomy, individuality, inclusion, and non-violence.
My own integrative understanding of psychology is certainly related to the diversity of influences that I was introduced to in my early life. I was born and lived in Philadelphia for 20 years which exposed me to many cultures and perspectives. Through my heritage, I am half-Jewish, and a quarter Protestant and Catholic. I was sent to Hebrew Sunday school, though my family was not religious, and we celebrated both Jewish and Christian holidays. My formal education consisted of 12 years at a Quaker school. Though this was not a religious school, Quaker values strongly permeated the culture, and the school also engaged in the core Quaker practice of “meeting for worship”.
The experience of “meeting for worship” was a profound one, and was my first introduction to a “contemplative practice”. The school would sit together in silence for 40 minutes, and students and teachers could stand up and speak to the community if they felt moved to do so. By “contemplative practice”, I mean a specific practice or way of engaging our experience to help us more directly connect with the truth of our inner experience. In this regard, psychotherapy is absolutely a contemplative practice.
Contemplative practice, or the contemplative mindset, would merge with my understanding of psychology some years later. If psychology really intends to liberate us from inner conflict and suffering, and to help us grow into more complete people, we need some of the wisdom that can be gained from contemplative practice. We see this increasingly taking place in the Western field of psychology. In our healing journey, we each need to find the psychologies, philosophies, and practices that resonate with our mind and heart. There are many!
There was something real and meaningful in the authenticity, silence, and intimacy of sitting together at this school. No dogma or belief system was pushed on me. I didn’t know it consciously at the time, but the experience of silence and stillness would become very important to me. One of the deepest needs of our time is to learn more about how to have a silent mind amidst the noise of our internal and external world. Both psychology and contemplative practice can aid us experiencing the different qualities of our inner nature, such as peacefulness, joy, clarity, aliveness, love, compassion, confidence, and so on.
Early on in life I had an existential crisis. Interestingly, the movement of existentialism, and reading some of the writers like Sartre and Camus clarified for me many of the thoughts and feelings I was having. Though I didn’t ultimately agree with their conclusions, it exposed for me that thought, or the process of thinking, couldn’t resolve all of the problems of life. It made me realize that I couldn’t think myself to wholeness, or to a life of meaning.
There’s a difference between “book knowledge” and “direct knowledge” – and we need both. Book knowledge is related to memory and thinking, whereas direct knowledge is related to actual, full-bodied experience. During this existential crisis which lasted for many years, I became aware that books, theories, and ideas were not enough for my own healing and learning process, and that I needed to directly experience, for myself, the deeper, intrinsic meaning that many books and writers point to.
Western psychology is a very rich field of science, and unfortunately much of this richness is not presented to us in our culture or education system. We’re usually presented a kind of psychotherapy that is often superficial, and which checks boxes for insurance companies that really don’t care about your wholeness. Psychology was never intended to be a commercial enterprise, or to be like going to a mechanic to get your car fixed. Mental health diagnoses can be useful at times, but they can also destroy our creative understanding of our own lives. Our problems can't be entirely reduced into simple categories such as, "depression", "anxiety", "PTSD", "addiction", and the like. These things are very real, but each of our inner worlds are full of meaning and complexity. Through therapy we can uncover this overall meaning, while also resolving our challenges.
Fortunately, I was introduced to the full depth and substance of the field of psychology, but it took some time. We can find the combination of “book knowledge” and “direct knowledge” operating in many of the various sub-fields of psychology, such as depth psychology, existential psychology, somatic psychology, and transpersonal psychology.
In my own practice, I’ve combined many of these sub-fields, and the overall result is a more “integrative” or holistic psychology. On my website, you can learn more about the different ways I approach psychotherapy, and some of the specific modalities that embody the principles of wholeness. While I have my own kinds of understanding, it is ultimately of the utmost importance for me to protect my client's autonomy and their individuality. I want to help you realize your unique potential.
Whole Being Psychotherapy is dedicated to the integration of psychology, somatic work, neuroscience, and the study of human potential. I am a registered psychotherapist in the state of Colorado, and I received my Master's Degree in Counseling from Regis University, in Denver, Colorado. I received my Bachelor's Degree in Contemplative Psychology with a concentration in Somatic Psychology, from Naropa University.