Core Values Guiding My Practice
Our pain is significant, it matters. In Buddhist philosophy, compassion is defined as a quivering heart in response to pain or suffering.
While pain can be a source of anger and separation, it can be a powerful teacher. Finding the right relationship to pain, both ours and that of others, is complex yet important. Pain can be manifested in many ways such as feeling fear, hurt, guilt, loneliness, and resentment. In addition, we can blame ourselves for seemingly being ineffectual in a world that requires so much.
Many individuals work toward showing compassion and support toward others, but too often neglect this kindness toward themselves. This tendency often becomes a painful roadblock in life. Individuals who function well, develop a sense of compassion for themselves and for those they encounter. I strive at helping others understand this balance of compassion toward self and others.
We are all wired for love and connection. Shame — the sense that we are unworthy – has become a pervasive part of our culture, our families and institutions. It is the number one thing that keeps people isolated and prevents us from feeling that deep sense of love and belonging.
My goal is to help others live wholehearted*, to grasp that we are all worthy of love and belonging. We do this by dismantling negative beliefs, and by cultivating courage, connection, and compassion to believe that who we are is enough.
*Brene Brown, a researcher of shame and vulnerability, coined this term referring to those individuals who are most resilient to shame, who believe in their worthiness.
All of our behaviors, no matter how dysfunctional or destructive, somehow make sense in light of our history and belief system. We engage in these behaviors even though they may not serve us well. It is important to respect an individual’s level of functioning and help them move toward a higher state of functioning. As an example, if it feels weak, scary, or overwhelming to feel emotion, we would work at making it safe and comfortable to feel these emotions. We learn how to move toward, manage, and make sense of messy emotions without being overwhelmed by them. There is no shame in being where you are.
Providing help with a minimal reliance on medication.
We are one of the most medicated cultures in history. Even though there is a growing body of evidence showing the lack of effectiveness of popular antidepressants, they are still being prescribed in alarming numbers. I work with a network of psychiatrists and other healthcare professionals who seek to keep medication to a minimum.