Contemplative counseling is rooted in psychotherapy and Eastern Spiritual traditions, such as mindfulness, compassion towards self and others, acceptance, and staying in the present moment. Much like Internal Family Systems, which is also influenced by Buddhist practices and insights, contemplative counseling holds that we all have a wise Self within us; that wise Self may be masked, but it is ever present. When we can soften harmful behaviors, thoughts, beliefs, and ways of being in the world, we have more access to our wise Self. That wise core is there even in our most insane moments and underneath all of our dysfunctional behaviors, so we cultivate and enhance the wisdom rather than just focusing on what’s not working.
Because that wise core is present in each of us, when we are able to access our own deep and compassionate wisdom, we can more authentically connect with others and our own lives. We recognize that we are part of the Greater Something, and within that deeper connection we soften our loneliness and the illusion that we are separate and incomplete.