My work has changed from therapy to coaching. People who are stuck in depression and crippled by anxiety need more than just to talk about things.
My clients are pleasantly surprised when they find that my expertise is not based in telling them what to do (although I will introduce you to some great strategies) but that my expertise lies in helping you to use your own resources more effectively and to prevent self-sabotage.
I draw upon Coaching strategies, Coherence Therapy and the Internal Family Systems (IFS) approach. Coherence Therapy* was developed over the last 25 years by psychotherapists Bruce Ecker, LMFT and Laurel Hulley, MA. The guiding principle of Coherence Therapy is in seeing the coherence of the unconscious knowings, meanings and feelings that underlie and maintain the great majority of symptoms and problems presented by therapy clients.
It views that the client's current-day symptoms or problems were once a solution, for example a 28 year-old who has a weight problem has often long-forgotten when or why he or she first used eating as a source of comfort.
Coherence Therapy helps clients to map out deep and lasting change as the model and methods are based upon findings from the recent, major discovery of memory reconsolidation by neuroscientists. Reconsolidation is the only known neural mechanism that allows long-ingrained, learned emotional reactions actually to be erased, which was not thought possible for nearly a century until findings published in 1997-2000 showed otherwise.
Where other therapies help clients to use counteractive and extinction-like methods to combat their problems, their underlying neural pathways surrounding these problems are still fully intact even if successfully blocked through counteractive and extinction-like methods. The old response can therefore flare up again, and often does, causing clients to feel helpless or hopeless, doubting their ability to ever get better.
The clinical landscape changed fundamentally with neuroscientists' discovery of memory reconsolidation, a form of neuroplasticity that allows an emotional learning or schema stored in long-term implicit memory to be actually erased, not just overridden and suppressed, by the learning a preferred response. This means that long-term change is achieved because it is hard-wired in the brain. See an article by Ecker, B., Ticic, R., & Hulley, L., (2013). A Primer on memory reconsolidation and its psychotherapeutic use as a core process of profound change. The Neuropsychotherapist. 1, 82-99. here
*Sourced from http://www.coherencetherapy.org/
The Internal Family Systems Model* (IFS) is an evidence-based approach developed by Richard C. Schwartz. It views that individuals are made up of relatively discrete sub-personalities each with its own viewpoint and qualities. IFS uses family systems theory to understand how these collections of sub-personalities are organized. This does not mean that people have multiple personality disorder, rather that consciousness is composed of various "parts" or sub-personalities, each with its own perspective, interests, memories, agendas and viewpoints. A core tenet of IFS is that every part has a positive intent for the person, even if its actions or effects are counterproductive or cause dysfunction. Parts can have either "extreme roles" or healthy roles. IFS focuses on parts in extreme roles because they are in need of transformation through therapy.
IFS divides these parts into three types—managers, exiles, and firefighters.
Managers are parts with pre-emptive protective roles. They handle the way a person interacts with the external world to protect them from being hurt by others and try to prevent painful or traumatic feelings and experiences from flooding a person's awareness. Managers can restrict a person's ability to get close to others or follow their hopes and dreams due to being stuck in an ongoing defensive mode of being.
Exiles are parts that are in pain, shame, fear, or trauma, usually from childhood. Managers and firefighters try to exile these parts from consciousness, to prevent this pain from coming to the surface. Exlies just want to be healed.
Firefighters are parts that emerge when exiles break out and demand attention (because they want to be healed). These parts work to distract a person's attention from the hurt or shame experienced by the exile by leading them to engage in impulsive behaviors like overeating, drug use, violence, or having inappropriate sex. They can also distract from the pain by causing a person to focus excessively on more subtle activities such as overworking, over-medicating.
The actions of managers and fire-fighters can be very destructive, but because they work on the basis of ensuring survival, and often operate outside of conscious awareness, they can keep people in negative and destructive patterns for years.
The Power of Self
IFS sees people as being whole, underneath this collection of parts. Everyone has a true self or spiritual center, known as the Self to distinguish it from the parts. Even people whose experience is dominated by parts have access to this Self and its healing qualities of curiosity, connection, compassion, and calm.
IFS sees the clinician's job as helping the client to disentangle themselves from their parts and access the Self, which can then connect with each part and heal it, so that the parts can let go of their destructive roles and enter into a harmonious collaboration, led by the Self. IFS explicitly recognizes the spiritual nature of the Self, allowing the model to be helpful in spiritual development as well as psychological healing.
* Sourced from IFS wikipedia page.
By using IFS and Coherence Therapy I can help clients to draw upon their own inner resources to achieve lasting change, which is satisfying for both my clients and myself. To book an appointment please click on the link below or drop me a line, best wishes, Tim