Psychotherapy must remain an obstinate attempt of two people to arrive at a recovery of the wholeness of being human through the relationship between them.
My approach is based on my initial training in Counselling, Psychodynamic and Gestalt Therapy, Perinatal Psychology and over two decades of personal therapy with my teacher and supervisor, Psychotherapist, Andrew Feldmár, whose main influence is his teacher R.D.Laing. Auspiciously, my university thesis was in Psychiatry, precisely on R.D. Laing’s ideas, so it was a full circle moment, meeting Feldmár in 1996, after moving to Canada.
Given my extensive training in Yoga, my strength is working with the mind of the body. As an adjunct to the therapeutic process, I often offer meditation, subtle breathing practices, gentle embodied movement and body work.
As in Buddhist teaching, healing is not just our birth-right (Karma) but it could be our spiritual pursuit of freedom (Dharma) or otherwise an enslavement, endless suffering and existential death, just as Laing insinuates in a quote below. We can decide to pursue our freedom of choice or leave it up to faith.
Besides my ongoing counselling work, and under the supervision of my teacher and elder, I am practicing psychedelic therapy and post psychedelic integration, which benefits are coming into mainstream research after years of dormancy. I am one of the contributors for Manual For Psychedelic Guides, authorized by Mark Haden, Executive Director of MAPS Canada.
In simple words, I am an expert in being with ambiguity, helping clients relax, breathe freely and find their own agency and freedom to be.
To see details, look below.
I practice inclusion, so If after the initial session money is the only obstacle to continue counselling, the fees may be re-negotiated.
Madness need not be all breakdown. It may also be break-through. It is potential liberation and renewal as well as enslavement and existential death.
As in the lineage of my teacher Feldmár and Laing, my approach is rooted in social phenomenology, equal presence, moment-to-moment awareness, and the practice of non-harm, Ahimsa (Sanskrit: अहिंसा.)
Instead of treating mental illness diagnosis, I pay attention to the root of every mental disease which is trauma, held in the body memory, lingering within clients ambiguity and suffering, expressed in a relationship with oneself and others.
This relating can originate as early as our own conception, including the relationship of our parents, or, as politics and ethics passed down epigenetically though our ancestral line, culture or education.
The one common denominator of all the variety of mental illness described in DSM, is trauma.
~Judith Lewis Herman
Why social phenomenology versus medical models?
Known as a radical psychiatrist (as per Latin Radix – root), as well as a Yoga and meditation practitioner, R.D. Laing spoke of mental illness not as a medical problem, but a problem occurring in the way we relate to one another.
Therefore the issue is more ethical (how we treat each other) and political (distribution of power), rather than something being inherently wrong within.
Not that long ago, however, trauma (PTSD) is considered to be a brain disease and treated as such (lobotomy, electric shock therapy etc.). Observing this, Laing considered mental illness diagnosis as a dangerous disambiguation, and the DSM much like the Malleus Maleficarum, the detailed guide on Witch Hunt from1498 Where can one look for further research?
As an award winning medical journalist Robert Whitaker, specialized in mental illness research, he writes and speaks extensively on the futility of the medical approach to mental disease and its pervasive myth of chemical imbalance which fixing, as per Psychopharmacology, is offered on the chemical level. It is sobering to read about the side effects of these substances and their addictive quality, let alone the fact that mental health crisis is not being resolved, in fact, the statistics are showing rapid rise, inspire of its uses.
On the note of the chemical responses in the body, Hans Selye, Canadian Endocrinologist, left a large body of research, extensively showing how continuous, on-going and overpowering stress, eventually compromises the immune response and causes the body to get sick. However, he emphasizes how equally unhealthy is to have no stressors to work with. In other words, what is efficient is changing the stressors, rather than having no stress. In Martial arts, that would be equivalent to facing the opponent with vigour and confidence, rather than running away.
Mens sana in corpore sano. (Latin Proverb- Healthy mind exist in a healthy body.)
Helping my clients with their ambiguities in relating to oneself and others, I often make a suggestion to pursue a regular practice of any form of embodied movement or Martial arts, such as Ba Gwa Zhang, Chi Kung, Tai Chi and/or Yoga, which I practice and teach. Besides working on balanced body posture, stamina, agility and power, these practices stimulate the flow of energy through meridians. This provides many health benefits such as balance, coordination, agility, flexibility, reflexes as well as helping to release stress, enhance the elimination of waist and overall strengthen the immune systems.
What is, in this approach, the purpose of the mental and emotional healing process?
Laing used to say that, so called civilized humans are generally psycho-phobic, terrified of their mind, and their soul becoming alive.
Healing, as an embodiment process means befriending our Psyche (ψῡχή = psykhē/psūkhē), our Soul, which etymologically has the same Indo-European root to breathing, relaxing, being.
False self is for surviving. True self is for living and thriving.
As a therapist, educator and fighter against racial injustice and war, Resmaa Menekem shows how fear breeds fear, and as such it becomes unconsciously embedded in the bodily reactions, reinforced by dysfunctional family systems and institutions of power. It is up to all of us, particularly those that hold privilege and power, to fight against it.
For the Radical therapist, the purpose of healing may go as far as what Buddha called liberation, or perhaps emancipation (etymology: verb eman·ci·pate \i-ˈman(t)-sə-ˌpāt\. : to free (someone) from someone/control or power over.)
In the practice of Yoga, that I offer as an adjunct to counselling, healing leads to wholeness, and vice versa, wholeness leads to healing. For psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung, the deepest healing is the very pinnacle of spiritual experience, depicted as the Greek Hieros Gamos ( ἱερὸς γάμος,) a Sacred Marriage of our psyche, Soul (Anima) with the Spirit (Animus).
:*all prices will have additional 5% GST
No Refund, Exchange or Transfer of sessions.
Please note that a minimum of 48 hrs notice is required in writing, for changing or cancellation appointment, otherwise the full amount will be charged. The cause of missing an appointment is of no consequence. If you give me less than 48 hours notice, and I succeed in finding someone to take your appointment, your fee will be waived. this policy is not punitive; it is to cushion me from the vicissitudes of your life.
Disclaimer: The practices we offer are not meant to be medical services. If in doubt, please consult your medical practitioner.
My practice should not be construed as advocating for the use of psychedelic substances. I do not suggest, provide or administer such substances, but am present in my professional capacity and harm reduction. I do not assume any responsibility for any physical, psychological, legal or any other consequences from the use of these substances.
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