Authentic Alchemy x3 takes a nonpathological approach to healing. Most people come into counseling because ‘something’s wrong’ and it ‘needs to be fixed.’ While there is some truth to that, it is only one possibly way to look at the issues at hand. When we look at ourselves as if ‘something is wrong’ and ‘needs to be fixed,’ we are essentially saying that something is wrong with us. It’s been my experience that we are far too harsh with ourselves, far too willing to whip ourselves for ways of being in the world which may not be working. None of us get vulnerable or open up when we’re being judged. So, instead of just looking at what’s wrong, we also look at what’s right. Instead of just exploring depression, we also explore happiness.
A nonpathological approach is compassionate, loving, accepting, and welcoming. I work with clients to welcome all of themselves – both the comfortable and the uncomfortable parts of themselves. While each of us has issues or ways of being in the world that we’d like to change, even our most dysfunctional behaviors have some wisdom in them – we wouldn’t be doing them if they weren’t meeting some kind of need. We don’t name those behaviors as bad things to kill off because that only serves to create an internal war with the part of you that does the dysfunctional behavior and the part of you that wants to eradicate it – instead, you’ll learn to make friends with challenging parts and discover what need is trying to be met by the behavior. We can then look for alternative, more healthful ways of getting needs met so that you are more free to relinquish the dysfunctional behavior.
This approach takes into consideration that our psychological system is trying to help us in the only way it knows how. For example, if you’ve been traumatized and do not have great coping skill, you may start drinking to managing the traumatic responses. The impulse is a healthy one (to regulate emotional overstimulation) – it just has far too many negative consequences. If you had an abusive father, you may either develop rage and authority issues or have little personal power. Both of those behaviors are an attempt to get safety needs met, but they are also likely to interfere with other needs (success, autonomy, healthy relationship, etc.). I help people to learn ways to get their needs met that don’t have negative consequences.