Practices & Influences
ACT - Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
ACT, as the name implies, is an active therapy, directed toward living fully while accepting what is not within our control and committing to actions that are within our control to make life meaningful and fulfilling. “Be present, open up, and do what's important,” is the shorthand for the skills and perspectives offered in ACT, based on a thoroughly researched model of psychological flexibility. Mindfulness builds flexibility to stay present, even while our minds naturally tend to jump forward with worry or backward in rumination or regret. Willingness to feel emotions (acceptance) builds flexibility to escape traps of avoidance and reactivity. Mindfulness and acceptance are directed in service to acting in alignment with deeply held, freely chosen values.
With ACT informing our work together, here's what you can expect in a typical session:
We will discuss what is important to you, what you care about, what your values are. I'll ask about what you are doing to move toward your values and what gets in the way. We might practice mindfulness skills to shift how you relate and respond to painful thoughts and feelings so that they have less disruptive influences on your decisions and activities. We might sketch out a diagram of your experience and work toward understanding your behavioral patterns and exploring more effective ways of responding to what's happening around you (and within you). We might work on self-compassion. Meanwhile, I will be present, compassionate, and assuming that you have what it takes to get through the difficulties that life presents. And likely, sooner or later at some point, we'll have a laugh about our common human condition, appreciating both the creative power and the quirky pitfalls of having minds and bodies.
I've been practicing Zen meditation for 30 or more years. Sometimes I have a daily practice stretching for years at a time, and sometimes not. I believe the practice has had a profound effect on how I perceive the world and my sense of self in the world. I appreciate the freedom that comes from cultivating a noticing-mind that is not over-identified with the contents of the thinking-mind. Mindfulness is a hot topic in research and therapy these days; for me, it's a natural part of life; I teach mindfulness as a natural directing of attention. Buddhism also offers a wealth of psychological insight and wonderful metaphors and stories that can cast fresh light on current life experience. I don't promote Buddhism in any religious sense.
Other Important Influences
Restorative Justice; Joanna Macy; Miriam Dror; Undoing Racism (the People's Institute for Survival and Beyond); Collaborative Problem-Solving (Ross Greene); Clean Talk (communication skills--similar to NVC); Liberation Psychology; Prosocial Psychology; Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT); Nature connection.
Giving in to many requests for MP3 guided meditations--here are three variations to try.
Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor
MS in Community Mental Health
Southern New Hampshire University 2013
MA in Sustainable Communities (MLS)
Northern Arizona University 2001