We strive for emotional wellness when working with you. Emotional wellness isn’t just the absence of symptoms the same way that physical wellness isn’t merely the absence of disease. We’re not just working on getting you to feel better. Feeling better is a short-term fix.
We want to move beyond that and towards living a satisfying life where you feel connected with yourself and connected to others. Through long-term therapy with us, we aim to help you build self-awareness of your internal life such as thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations and strengthen your ability to use these feelings as a guide to effectively go through challenges and change.
Our therapy is non-diagnostic. Because every individual is unique, we do not make assumptions about how to approach treatment based solely on the DSM (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) category of symptoms or follow a prescribed treatment approach based on the box you’re fitted into.
Don’t get me wrong — a diagnosis is a helpful way to conceptualize different issues. It allows us to relate to others who might have similar challenges and it’s of course needed for insurance. At the same time, it can also be reductive and doesn’t account for the full complexity and individuality of each person.
Diagnoses tend to indicate that something is wrong with you, rather than validating that your suffering may make sense within the context of what has happened to you. Or, validating that the intensity of your feelings may be increased by the historical trauma your ancestors have experienced.
We understand that our society is set up in such a way that certain people are valued more than others. We live in a society founded on systemic oppression and racism and we want to be mindful of how oppression and all the “-isms” can impact your life and mental health.
As a practice, we know that we may not always get it right, but we aspire to help you process life experiences in the context of your unique intersectional identities. We strive to be educated about various backgrounds and identities and we will never assume your experiences or the nuances of your experience because everyone’s identity and worldview are unique.
More importantly, we are cognizant that the interpersonal therapeutic relationship reflects a social microcosm, where social and economic tensions, injustices, and misunderstandings might be brought into the relationship and inform the therapy process. Therapy itself can also be a colonized construct.
That is why we strive to be informed and educated on how to address our own internal biases through personal and professional growth. We recognize that you hold more than one identity at any time and work with you to navigate the complexities of living within intersectional identities. We invite you to bring all the nuanced and diverse parts of your identity to this process.
As therapists, we work to understand your individual experience of the world and how this informs what experiences you bring to therapy. We strive to be sensitive to the ways that our genders, racial-ethnic identities, countries of origin, sexuality, personal and family immigration histories, religions, abilities and body sizes can shape our inner thought and emotional life.
While we work primarily with a psychodynamic foundation, we have also been trained in various evidence-based therapies such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and will incorporate these techniques as suited.
Using a psychodynamic approach, we believe our past life experiences impact the choices we make in the present. The more we explore & understand ourselves, the better we can recognize and identify recurring themes in our life experiences, interpersonal relationships, thoughts, and feelings. When we begin to identify and understand self-defeating patterns that we fall into, we can examine and confront unresolved issues that are happening outside of your awareness. We can change the things that no longer serve us. And we can learn healthier ways to deal with these issues so that you can live a more fulfilling life.
You are the expert in your own life, while we are the experts in psychological theories and in helping you navigate this process. We follow your lead from session to session on what to explore while offering different routes of exploration, collaboratively exploring patterns that we may be hearing, and asking questions that help you understand yourself with different perspectives. As highly trained therapists, we work to guide you to find insight and solutions to problems that are keeping you from reaching your full potential. During a session we collaboratively do the work to lead you to the answers that are already inside of you.