I believe that the most important factors in making changes are your willingness to try new things and to risk experiencing new or uncomfortable feelings. After that, research has shown that the most important factor will be the quality of your relationship with me. As with any other relationship, compatible belief systems are a factor. Here are some of my personal attitudes and beliefs:
- Perseverance usually pays off. And it helps to be lucky.
- Change can be hard work, and is an ongoing process. When it comes to behaviour, it’s generally accepted that both nature and nurture play a part. In my own therapy process, it was very helpful to identify origins of my behaviour (my nurture) and create new behaviour through new experiences. Therapy also helped me identify and accept my nature, and work with it, rather than against it. I discovered that as I had learned to disguise my true nature (often because of past shaming experiences and being told how I “should” be) I had grown increasingly unhappy. Now, I listen to my nature, make better choices and am happier in life. And I’m still working on it in certain areas.
- The mind is a powerful thing. Mindfulness, or awareness, is an important agent of change. (If I ignore a problem, will it go away?) And we don’t all have the same abilities or see the world in the same way. The mere fact that I can’t see auras doesn’t mean other people can’t.
- Emotions have no sense of time. We all carry some baggage from our childhood. One way to travel lighter is to sort through the baggage and see what you’re wanting to keep and what you’re willing to part with. Another is to pretend you’re someone else and claim it’s not your baggage.
- There are many paths. Each of us is unique in our experiences. Our thoughts, emotions and senses are all connected to each experience, so using any or all of those aspects can be helpful. There are many valid approaches, but one size does not fit all.
- Adults are grown-up children. As children, we depended more on others and now we depend more on ourselves, but our needs haven’t changed much. We still need to eat and sleep. Like children, adults need a balance of social time and alone time. As adults, we need opportunities to learn and grow and make choices and express ourselves. Adults need a balance of work and play. And adults need hugs too.
- We live at the aperture of the hourglass. There is only now, memories of the past, and fantasies of the future. The trick is to make the most of every moment.
- Much of life is perspective and perception. You may have heard the statement “perception is reality”. The good news is that perception can be improved, expanded, and changed to a high degree. And often there’s no “going back” from the new awareness. This can sometimes be a double-edged sword, however: with even a brief experience of something better, the present situation may be harder to tolerate.
- Communication is more than words. We’ve all experienced body language to some degree. Sometimes, show is better than tell. There are many ways to revisit the “crime scene” and express the truth of an experience.
- Honesty really is the best policy. The most important person to be fully honest with is yourself. And honesty, like paint, comes in a variety of colours and finishes. Honesty with others may depend on the context; the movie A Few Good Men included the line “You can’t handle the truth,” which applies more to some people than others. Most often, the question is not how much truth they can comfortably handle, but how much of the truth you can comfortably tell.
- There’s no such thing as “normal”. Of course, in the most general terms there are normals: two arms, two legs, a childhood, etc. But up close – where life really happens – there is no normal; there are only more-common and less-common experiences and qualities. Variety abounds.
- Sexuality is like food. More specifically, physical/sexual attraction and excitement are like food preferences. For example, some find tall people more attractive, and for others, a petite person captures their attention. The list of preferences and turn-ons is endless: long hair, short hair, blonde, brunette, slim, muscular, voluptuous, masculine, feminine, androgynous, male, female, intersex, breasts, legs, feet, specific/different locations, bare skin, specific clothing/costumes, objects, scenes, role play, and the list goes on. (See above, there’s no such thing as normal.)
- Love can’t count. Mutliple love is just as valid and natural a state for people as singular love. Of course, not all loves are created equal. And not all loves can be acted upon. And of course, juggling isn’t something everyone can do with the same skill and precision… it takes learning, dexterity, a keen sense of timing, and a lot of practice; even professional jugglers drop a ball occasionally.
- It’s a jungle out there. In established relationships, there are often challenges in communication, rhythm of desires, and many other dimensions. In the dating game, timing is everything. Everyone who is “on the market” is there for a reason. Often, it takes just one date to discover the reason; sometimes several dates; and sometimes months or years. And sometimes you just get lucky and meet the right person at the right time. But always, like the lottery, you can only win if you play the game. And “happily single” people face their own unique rewards and challenges.
- Trust is like a bridge. It takes a long time to build, and only a moment to destroy. It often takes many positive experiences to cancel the effects of one negative experience. In relationships, a significant breach of trust will often mean a permanent change to the essence of the relationship. Smaller, but chronic, breaches of trust can have an equally damaging effect in the long term.
My training includes more than four years at the Gestalt Institute of Toronto and many specialized courses on topics such as Sensory Awareness, Somatic Experiencing, Sexological Bodywork, Psychodramatic Bodywork and other trauma healing techniques.
I draw on this training and other therapuetic models and sources – including my own experiences and personal growth programs offered by the Human Awareness Institute, ICSS (Quodoushka) and others – to support your exploration of any “unfinished business” and help you facilitate the changes you want.