It may be too much to imagine loving or accepting yourself. I want to help you learn to tolerate yourself without needing to push away.
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA
Most of the wounding that brings us to therapy can be seen through the eyes of how we relate to others. And research shows that the relationship we develop with our therapist matters more than their specific therapeutic techniques. A tremendous amount of healing and growing (and challenge) can occur within the dynamics of our relationship. As a relational therapist, I will wonder how patterns in your relationship with others might be playing out between us and want to help bring those explorations consciously into our sessions.
Different ways therapeutic tools are useful for different clients. From mindfulness, to art therapy, to cognitive behavioral techniques, I go with what works. I don't believe there's one right way in.
A common theme that comes up in session with clients and in my own life is how do we cope with the vast unknown. My general world view is existential. Part of the work of therapy is helping you identify your coping strategies for life's unknowns and help you build your tolerance for sitting with it rather than running away.
The vast majority of adults (and many children) in the United States have some kind of disordered relationship to food and body. We're taught that the way we are isn't good enough and listening to our bodies' desires is dangerous. But many of us receive similar messages about all kinds of things. We're afraid to "take up space", use our voices, be free. Perhaps, your struggle with your body is a way you've learn to cope with not feeling good enough. We'll work together to understand the beliefs you hold about yourself and the world. We'll begin to bring these unconscious, automatic behaviors and reactions forward so you can choose other options. Over time, you'll feel more free and comfortable in your own skin. Depending on your needs, I may want to collaborate with a physician, Registered Dietician, and any other members of your care team.
A lot of white people, including myself, are beginning to come to terms with how our privilege has played out in our lives at the expense of people of color. And we're coming to terms with a history of violent oppression that is the legacy of whiteness. This is undeniably painful and can really mess with one's identity as "a good person". If you're going to engage in the hard work of unpacking this history and taking responsibility for dismantling racism, you're likely going to need support. It's natural to feel shame, to feel defensive, to want to disengage and go back to pretending racism isn't that bad. But we have to do better. Talking about it in therapy can help you stay engaged and have a space to be messy in the process.
Despite popular discourse on addiction, your substance use is not a black and white issue. You don't necessarily have a disease and your uncertainty about abstinence doesn't mean you're in denial. So take a deep breath. Together, we'll explore how your substance use has helped you and how it hurts. We'll work collaboratively to experiment with individualized strategies to reduce any problematic substance use or quit altogether, if that's what you want. Along the way, you'll develop healthier ways to cope. I offer a non-dogmatic space, where you can share your struggle without receiving ultimatums and prescriptions.