Countless cartoons perpetuate the stereotype of a therapist taking notes while the patient is sitting, or lying on the couch, lost in thoughts about the past. But psychotherapy should not be a way to escape reality, or
to hide in the past. In fact, when psychanalysis started, it was perceived as revolutionary and disturbing. And psychotherapy still has the potential to be disruptive. I mean this in a good way: We want to face things that are difficult to face, in order to disrupt old, dysfunctional patterns.
We want to make the invisible patterns visible, so that we can change what is not appropriate. The purpose of this work is to reveal to you with startling immediacy the inner dynamics that are hidden from your awareness... to give you the kind of gut-level understanding that leads you to change... to release the energy that is needed to profoundly transform your life. In other words, instead of psychoanalysis, think of this process as proactive psychodynamics.
This is a process that engages your emotions and your creative side. The work we do is experiential. It's not about rehashing the same thing over
and over again, it's about finding a way to "get it" at a
deeper level, so that you can make the changes you need. As Galileo said: "You can't teach people anything; you can only help them find it in themselves."
We do not dwell on the past as a way to avoid present problems, nor do we ignore the past as if it didn't affect your life. Your "baggage" very much affects your present reality. This is why we can actually deal with the effects of the past while exploring what you're doing (or not doing) in the present. The liberating effect of this work is to disentangle the crossed strands of past "baggage" and present reality... so that you can live more fully in the present.
Change happens in the present moment. Proactive Change is about experiencing, in the present moment, the ways in which the past affects the present moment. It is about using this awareness to free yourself from the negative effects of the past, to live more fully in the present, and to plan more effectively for the future.
See also: Couples counseling | Anger | Stress
Beyond reactive: How to develop a proactive mindset
Body-centered psychotherapy: Integration of the mindful body