Relational Psychotherapy

E14B2D90-DED5-46B6-9334-C61636F7895DI have been attending workshops, reading literature, participating in consult groups and seeking individual consultation in relational psychotherapy for over 30 years. Dr. Paul Aikin, clinical psychologist in Davis, California has been my primary source of inspiration and learning. The main premise of relational psychotherapy is that the relationship between therapist and client is collaborative, intimate, and fluid. This dynamic relationship is the primary instrument of growth.

I come to our connection with a psychodynamic framework of object relations, attachment theory, learning theory, and developmental psychology that helps me frame your unique experience. It is not an intellectual approach that penetrates the heart , however, but the actual experience of being together with heightened focus, openness, and safety.

What you bring to the work is a willingness to open to your emotional pain in my presence, risking being seen in a deep and responsive way. Hopefully the burden of being all alone in your process will evolve into a sense of feeling supported and guided into realms of experience that will help you feel stronger and more self-accepting. What I bring to our work is a capacity to stay centered in the midst of strong emotional content or states of emptiness and anxiety. At the same time I tune into the pain that may not be fully expressed, but is desperate to be heard. I will share aspects of myself as they feel pertinent to your growth and will encourage you to bring up any issues between us that may compromise your sense of safety.

Over the years I have integrated the various cognitive theories I have learned into a developmental perspective on human experience. I keep in mind the optimum conditions we need at each stage of our evolution from infancy through adulthood . I understand how we are affected if our corresponding needs are not met as we go through these stages.

I explore with you the ways you may feel self-protective, deprived, lost, empty, neglected, yearning. Together we flesh out the experience of your childhood with the goal of discovering how you can care for yourself now. There is the work of uncovering what was missing, hurtful, and traumatic and aligning ourselves with the the pain and loss that lies within you. As you connect with feelings that were not safe to experience in your families, you develop a deeper sense of self. Compassion develops to soothe the pain. Self-acceptance emerges. It takes time to connect intimately with yourself and with me. It takes time to learn what you need, to grieve what you lost, to dedicate yourself to loving yourself on a daily basis, and to learn new experiences of self-care. I am very comfortable with this process of unfolding and dedicate myself to making sure you feel safe with me every step of the way.

Relational psychotherapy addresses the relationship you are having with yourself and with me. As we build a healthy alliance, you will grow new ways to see , nurture and protect yourself. There evolves a richness to your process that takes hold carefully in the beginning and emerges with a resiliency to face life no matter what the obstacles.