How I Work

Let the beauty you love be what you do. There are a hundred ways to kneel and kiss the ground.”- Rumi

While the modality of therapy that I use may be one of many, I always offer non-judgmental presence, lovingkindness, mindfulness and compassion to my clients so that they  feel comfortable and safe with being all aspects of themselves, exploring their individual ways of growing and trying-on new ways of being.

Because what works for one person in therapy may not work for another, it is my experience that therapy is most helpful when client and therapist collaborate to craft therapy sessions that suit their individual needs and learning styles. Working together to learn what helps YOU to grow is key. Many psychotherapists are only trained in one or two modalities, which does not take into account different learning styles or a person’s unique needs. I am trained in a variety of diverse approaches for growth and healing and therefore bring a sufficient toolbag to my work. So, with some clients  I do only art therapy because this is the modality that best suits that individual.  With others, perhaps it is verbal therapy or  Hakomi that is the best fit. You and I can find the best method for you!

My diverse base of experience and knowledge comes from a foundation in Transpersonal Psychology, which  means many things and I’d be happy to talk to you more about it.  Most importantly, it means that I hold a strength-based and non-pathological approach to people and their challenges.  For example, I believe in the power of helping you to unearth or cultivate your strengths (even the ones you didn’t know you have) in order to help you meet your challenges. And, I will never judge your situation or challenges. Just as we have a night sky and daytime, we humans also have light and darkness.  Therefore, I don’t see my clients as problems,  a collection of wounds, or a cluster of diagnosis.’ Rather, I see problems and issues as obstacles to your inborn strengths and innate wisdom. Perhaps your challenges once served a helpful purpose in your life but now need to be integrated elsewhere, which is part of the reason they are screaming out. Let’s find the ways for those things to become integrated or released.

While not every modality is right for everyone, some of the modalities that I use are:

Hakomi

I am a Certified Hakomi Therapist (CHT). Hakomi is an experiential, gentle, mindfulness-based, body-centered therapy that through a process of “assisted self-discovery” can help you to slow down the noise in your mind in order to access the “felt sense” of what is happening inside of you in the present moment. Through loving presence and gently guiding/ following you into the wisdom that occurs in your body when the noise is turned down, I can help you to safely access images, sensations, feelings, or memories that contribute to what we call your core material; the beliefs, habits and physical ways of being that live right under our awareness and greatly shape much of who we are in the world.  Through the non-judgmental awareness of mindfulness, the Hakomi method can help bring these core experience into awareness so that you can fill in the missing pieces, integrate new ways of being into your immediate experience and live more fully as your truest self in your world.  As both a client and practitioner of Hakomi, I believe it to be an incredibly effective and beautiful form of  therapy.

Art Therapy

As a Registered and Board Certified Art Therapist I believe very much in the ways that line, shape, color, texture and the freedom in the creative process can be a language of expression both for people who are familiar with art and for those who have not picked-up an art supply in many years. Sometimes making art in and of itself is the healing. Other times, it is about specific art projects and materials that will help you move forward. Art, like words is a language and is an effective and satisfying way to express where words cannot and to release emotions in a non-threatening way.  Additionally, making art is often very enjoyable on multiple levels from the sensory experience to learning or becoming proficient in working with a variety of art materials and completing meaningful art projects.

Somatic Art Therapy/Embodied Creativity

I  blend the wisdom and healing inherent in Hakomi and Art Therapy into a therapeutic format that I call “Somatic Art Therapy” or “Embodied Creativity.” This approach combines aspects of Hakomi and the ability to study and learn from the rich images that come to us when we are in a state of mindfulness with engagement in the creative process of artmaking. This innovative practice continually results in deep, profound and gratifying healing for my clients.

Movement and your body

As is the language of art, so is movement a language. We speak volumes with our bodies whether through outward expression like dance or through more subtle cues like the way we hold our postures.  Some are comfortable with movement as a form of expression and therefore, our work is very based in this form of therapy. For others, movement work may be much more subtle as we invite inquiry and curiousity into habitual and non-habitual, subtle and obvious and conscious/unconscious ways that your body speaks.

Somatic Experiencing

I have completed both the Beginning and Intermediate training in Somatic Experiencing, or “S.E.” www.traumahealing.org
Somatic Experiencing is a very powerful and gentle body-centered modality for working with trauma. While the word “trauma” is quite loaded with meaning, the truth is, we ALL have experienced some sort of trauma, as trauma is a basic facet of being human. Trauma is what happens when ANY intense life event does not get released through the body/nervous system and psyche. Peter Levine, the founder of S.E. studied that animals in the wild rarely hold onto trauma in their body, despite the regularity of life-threats, whereas we humans seem to store these patterns in our bodies and minds. SE helps a person to gently release these traumas through working with the resilience and wisdom of the body and learning to regulate one’s nervous system.

Brainspotting

Brainspotting is an innovative method that works by identifying, processing and releasing core neuro-physiological sources of emotional/body pain, trauma, dissociation and other “stuck” challenging symptoms. It can also be used to deepen and anchor resources and strengths.   It is the next generation of brain-based therapy beyond  EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing). Brainspotting identifies and works with  eye positions that correspond with the issue of disturbance/trauma,  or strength and resource in tandem with listening to music/sounds that bi-laterally stimulate both the right and left hemispheres of the brain.

PACT (Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy)

I have completed one year of a two year training for PACT. PACT is a powerful and very effective therapy model for couples developed by Dr. Stan Tatkin, www.stantatkin.com. Dr. Tatkin wrote the books “Wired for Love” and “Love and War in Intimate Relationships.”  PACT’s  lively model for working with couples emphasizes developmental neuroscience, arousal regulation and attachment theory. What this means, is that the PACT model can help couples and individuals understand how the others’ brain works and therefore how we react in relationships. It looks at how we bond (or don’t) in relationships based on our early experiences with our primary caregivers and how those patterns affect our current relationships.

Gestalt

Gestalt is an expressive form of therapy that explores how you make contact with the world and create blocks to this contact. It invites full expression through the body, the voice or art of what is true in the present moment through a variety of expressive techniques. Gestalt helps you to see how you can take personal responsibility for areas in your life that are not working and helps you to see how you can change that.

Mindfulness Practices

I embrace what I call a contemplative, mindfulness approach in working with people. This may mean that I teach you mindfulness-based practices and meditation techniques, lead you in meditations, guided imagery, muscle relaxation, breathing techniques, somatic awareness or suggest books and other resources along these lines that we can integrate into our work together. I firmly believe that cultivating awareness of our patterns and limiting beliefs is the gateway toward freedom because upon having awareness, you can then make conscious choices about where to place your focus of attention. This is the essence of mindfulness. Mindfulness practices can help slow-down the noise of your mind so that you can feel and hear what is happening inside and experience more spaciousness, well-being and freedom in your life.

Dreamwork

I believe that our dreams, as Carl Jung said, “are the royal road to the unconscious.” Because dreams are rich in  imagery, I introduce techniques such as art, journaling, active imagination, and dream-dialoguing  to help you uncover the meaning and wisdom in your dreams.

Guided Shamanic work

I have trained in the practices of Core Shamanism and have an active shamanic journeying practice in my life. I believe that all people, regardless of your spiritual bent, have benevolent “helping spirits” and “guides” that are with us at all times.  When appropriate, during our sessions I can facilitate guided shamanic work with you in order to assist you to actively engage with your  helping spirits and/or guides  in order to receive wisdom and healing that can be applied in your life.

Neuropsychology

An official “brain-geek” I love learning about the brain and helping my clients understand some of what is happening for us during mental and emotional states such as in trauma or when we are feeling flooded with strong emotions.  I am fascinated and delighted by the ways in which various therapeutic techniques and mindfulness-based practices can change neural pathways in our brain (neuroplasticity) for the better so that we can  live more fulfilling lives and be free from habitual patterning.

In essence, my eclectic model of  therapy draws strands from many theories and maps and places your unique needs and personality at the center.  While holding a transpersonal context, I also use techniques and wisdom from person/client-centered psychology, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), Jungian psychology, psychosynthesis,  depth psychology,  existential psychology,  feminist/relational psychology, multicultural frameworks,  systems theory, the enneagram, the s/hero’s journey and more.  I am dedicated to continually augmenting my training in order to meet the needs of my clients. Feel free to ask me about any of the above modalities!

Contact me at 720.317.4647 or at merryl@merrylrothaus.com