I offer practice-based psychotherapy: I work with you to (re)discover, experience and cultivate specific habits (or practices) of mind to support you through life’s challenges, and deepen your connection to self and others.
The practices we develop together are centered on the principle of contact: through them, I support you to safely access, feel and understand how various layers and aspects of you – such as your identities, moods, feelings, states of mind, or bodily impulses and experiences – encounter and respond to each other and to others around you. Contact works towards clarity: it orients you more fully towards what is happening in a moment, what you most need and want, and what is available to you to help fulfill these. In doing so, contact also expands and deepens the places that you come to know and understand within you: it offers new ground from which to empathize and engage ethically with others.
Contact relies on many things, including specific ways of listening that I bring to our sessions, both to what happens in your stories, and to what happens for you as you tell them. I listen to the rhythms and tones of your voice, how ideas speed up or slow down, how your breath changes as your arms fold across your body. I also listen to the various internal “voices” that are speaking — the distinct moods and ways of experiencing life that go with the many selves to which we refer when we say “I”. I track how these “voices” amplify or mask each other at a moment in time, or beckon and release the other in succession. I pay attention to how they live in the body, showing us at every step of the way how to support you.
I ask about and invite us to explore these patterns as we put together a working idea of how they echo or complement each other within and across each dimension of the mind (including beliefs, narratives, comments the mind expresses), body (including body sensations, impulses, movements), emotions (stark, clear emotions as well as multilayered, shifting feelings) and relationships, as well as the systems, institutions or discourses that surround you.
We might then focus on how these echoes show up in a session, and here we might slow them down, notice more about them and begin to try different ways (or practices) of supporting or shifting them.
Some of the practices I have helped others to develop include
practices of interoception that help listen to what the body senses, experiences, is doing or trying to do in a moment to support you in times of worry, panic, sadness, grief or rage; as well as how the body expresses conflicts or dilemmas in your life, and can be called on to help resolve these
practices of language, imagery or metaphor in art, meditation or writing, to identify and describe the complex, shifting felt sense of things; to see and understand how this felt sense echoes and responds to external dynamics in relationships and in systems; and to locate what of this needs to shift and how
mindful tracking of different internal ‘voices’ (ways of orienting to self and others), how the ideas they hold and the stories they tend to tell are set in motion, how these voices and stories influence each other, how you feel, and what you are inclined to do or not do in a moment
relational mindfulness practices of attuning simultaneously to what is occurring moment to moment in your relationships with others- in conversation and in what their bodies too are communicating – at the same time as tracking what happens internally for you as these moments unfold
interpersonal somatics practices to help keep track of how the body experiences, expresses and responds to dynamics of power, safety, and vulnerability in relationships, and how to work with the body together with immediate interpersonal processes in order to shift things
To book a complimentary ½ hour initial consultation, contact me at michelebertrand (at) hushmail (dot) com.