Psychotherapy in
Petaluma and San Rafael



Adult Psychotherapy

Do you often feel depressed or anxious? Have you experienced trauma, a difficult loss or an overwhelming life transition? Imagine what it would be like to reconnect with joy and a fulfilling sense of direction and purpose. Psychotherapy can help.

My approach to therapy with adults is grounded in my experience that we live our lives on a continuum that includes both the psychological and the spiritual dimensions of being. The challenges we face can occur anywhere along this spectrum. Often our challenges at one end of this range are interrelated with those we encounter at the other. I believe that our deepest longing as humans is to come to a lived understanding of our true nature that includes both our underlying universal nature and our unique and dynamic individual expression of that nature. Such an understanding, as it deepens, brings with it peace, harmony, joy, and empathy for others.

The best signposts on our path towards this understanding appear when we learn to attend deeply to what is naturally arising within us. My work with adult clients is focused on helping them to look, listen, and trust in this way. I use several therapeutic modalities in this process: cognitive therapy, sandplay therapy, art therapy, active imagination, mindfulness, and Integrative Restoration.

Cognitive therapy focuses on thoughts and emotions and the behaviors that come from them. With the therapist’s help, the client examines problematic beliefs and assumptions for their accuracy, working to bring them in line with the truths about the client’s life. Shifts in beliefs then impact emotional responses and behavior in a positive manner.

Sandplay therapy, art therapy, and active imagination are all imaginal psychotherapeutic modalities. Sandplay therapy makes the psyche visible. Sandplay therapy can help clients heal from inner conflicts and trauma through their creating of a series of miniature worlds using figures placed in sand. Art Therapy works in much the same way using different artistic media to create imagery. The activity of expressing the inner in an externalized way begins this transformative process. Active imagination is then used to consciously engage the dynamic nature of the emerging images. This process allows them to transmute in the direction of healing. Along the way the client works through constricting thoughts, beliefs, and emotions that emerge in the process.

In my work with adults I also employ the tools of mindfulness and Integrative Restoration (a.k.a. iRest or Yoga Nidra). Mindfulness practice involves the cultivation of the ability to attend clearly and non-judgmentally to present moment inner experience of mind and body and their relationship both to other persons and to the phenomenal world around us. It enhances the effectiveness of both cognitive and imaginal forms of therapy, by bringing clarity and deepened insight to the therapeutic process.

I use iRest or Yoga Nidra, a specific application of mindfulness, to work with especially challenging physical or emotional experiences as well as dysfunctional thought patterns. In iRest, the identified physical, emotional or cognitive challenge is experienced directly and in alternation with its opposite as identified by the client. This alternation helps to restore the natural underlying fluidity of experience and leads to a direct experiential understanding of awareness as the common denominator of all experience. Clients thus learn to perceive all their experiences as expressions of everpresent, dynamic, and healing awareness.

I like to call this eclectic approach contemplative psychotherapy. Other terms that are sometimes used include spiritually-oriented psychotherapy, spiritually-informed psychotherapy, or nondual psychotherapy. Contemplative psychotherapy draws on the traditions of Cognitive Therapy, Humanistic Psychology, Transpersonal Psychology, Jungian Psychology, Imaginal Psychology, and Archetypal Psychology, as well as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy. It also reflects my deep interest in Buddhist Psychology and practice.

Give me a call to discuss if this approach is right for you.