My fundamental orientation to counselling is existential. At its heart, this approach doesn’t distinguish between cognitions (thinking) and affect (emotions) and the somatic (body). Instead, it (and I) attempt to make contact with the whole of one’s being. After all, we don’t refer to ourselves as “human brains” or “human bodies” but as human beings. This is why talk therapy participates in healing the body, but it also explains why attention to the body can help heal what we generally call mental illness. And in the midst of it all, feelings are the endlessly rich source of information that help connect thinking to the body.
In this way, I don’t think of my practice as curative. Rather, I think of the movement that is achieved in therapy as-being-towards-authenticity: i.e., when one’s interior and exterior and thinking, feeling, and bodily experiences are in concert. The task of therapy, then, is simply to learn to speak in and with one’s own voice.
One of the great therapists of the last 50 years, Irvin Yalom, wrote that “the relationship is the therapy.” This is the cornerstone of my own thinking and practice.