Wow, not only is it a new year, it's also a brand new decade. Quite an auspicious time to create new beginnings for ourselves.
On one hand, ss the ancient Greek philosopher said, no person steps in the same river twice- for each time it is a different river and they are a different person. Every single day, cells in our bodies die and are replaced with new ones. Every day, we experience new things that change us. We are always at new beginnings. It is the amazing Buddhist teachings about beginner's mind that help up to explore the newness and the beauty of each and every moment and everything in that moment.
On the other hand, it can help to explore and make use of milestones like dates, anniversaries- and the birth of new decades!
At Samadhi, we are launching something new for this decade. It is an association of therapists who share some very important values regarding therapy and spirituality.
Sadly, way too much therapy is conducted without a real plan in place- no specific idea of what the outcomes will be or how we will know the work is done. When I write a treatment plan with a client, I ask: "What will you be able to do or be when our work is completed?" If we aren't on the same page regarding where therapy is going, we will probably go in circles.
This leads me to another point. A lot of clients have been taught to respond to the above question with something like: "I won't be depressed or anxious, anymore." That is wonderful. Given my own experience with depression and anxiety, I would love for us all to not feel those things ever again. But let's borrow something called the tombstone metaphor from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). This metaphor asks us t explore what is it that you would want your tombstone to say about what your life stood for when your time comes? Here's an example of what your tombstone could say:
"Here lies Janie/Johnnie. She stopped feeling depressed."
How does that sound? Yeah... That's good, but is that what we want our whole lives to be about?
So what is it that you might want your tombstone to say? Let's try out something more inclusive and exciting!
"Here lies Janie. She overcame her fear so she could love with all her heart"
"Here lies Johnnie. He dedicated himself to becoming awake- to seeing the true nature of everything."
OK! Now were talking about something worth working towards, right? So, a meaningful treatment goal should be the same, It should be about living life in the way that we want rather than in overcoming some diagnosis.
This leads me to my third point. Way to much therapy is about chasing and treating symptoms.
Let's say I have a sinus infection. I go to my doc and I say "This hurts. I want it to stop," pointing at the area under my cheekbones. The doc will hopefully say something like, "Hey Seaghan, I am sorry that hurts. It sounds really painful. I'd love for you to be pain free." As a result, my doc might tell me to take some ibuprofen for the next three days. Much more importantly, though, my doc tells me that the underlying cause of my pain is bacteria that are causing inflammation. In order to fix the real cause, my doc writes me a prescription for an antibiotic. That is what will actually fix the problem. The pain is just a symptom. Without fixing the cause, the symptoms will keep occurring.
Psychotherapy is the same way. Way too much therapy chases symptoms without understanding the underlying causes. Believe it or not, almost everything we refer to as diagnoses or problems, are in fact symptoms. Depression. Panic. Phobias. OCD. Shame. Underperforming at school. Social Anxiety. Staying with abusive partners. Thinking we are weak, or stupid, or unloveable, or don't fit in, or can't do anything right. All of these things- as much as they are painful and problematic- are symptoms.
What are they symptoms of?
Everything, besides the apparently neurological symptoms of Schizophrenia or the biochemical causes of mania, is trauma.
That's where the therapists as Samadhi come in. We treat trauma. The sources of it- not the symptoms. We use a very fast and efficient method of processing trauma memories called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). Check out this video to learn more about EMDR.
And don't take my word for it. Check out this video of testimonials from clients.
So, make this the decade to transform your life! Contact one of us to start this amazing process. We are accepting new clients at Samadhi Therapy Associates, starting 2/3/20. https://www.samadhitherapyassociates.com/meet-us.
Happy New Years to us all.
May we all be happy and free.
May we all be well and free from harm.
May we all be loved and protected.
May we all grow and be peaceful.