PAIN IS THE CRACKING OF THE SHELL OF OUR UNDERSTANDING
Even in our sleep
Pain which cannot forget
Falls drop by drop upon the heart
Until in our own despair
Against our will
Through the awful grace of God
Therapy is about joy and pain, in equal measure. Lifelong pain is so woven into our nervous system, our musculature, and our hearts, that we take it for granted as the way things are. We survive, instead of thriving. We live in preverbal states of chronic shock, grief, melancholy, insecurity, agitation or dread, without knowing why. In individual therapy, we learn to tune into our bodies, our memories, our intuitions and our dreams in order to break free of self-imposed prisons constructed long ago. Most importantly, we do so in partnership. 'Aha' moments of piercing clarity occur in our body/mind, and always carry an emotional punch that can send us reeling. I will be there to catch you, so you don't fall. The intimacy of a psychotherapy experience is like none other: together we will painstakingly create new visions and roadmaps for your life, and new ways of being-with-others that reflect your truest self. Discovering, sharing and creating inner experience is an adventure unto itself. Therapy can be a lot like surfing: learning to balance at the edge of curiosity while riding the waves of feelings, especially preverbal feelings, until they begin to make sense. Other metaphors:
Children/Adolescents: I work with children 11 and up. Many relatively healthy youngsters see me briefly but periodically throughout junior high and high school, using me as a rudder to steady their sails as they navigate the turbulent waters ahead. These same youngsters often choose to work in a sustained fashion with me as seniors in high school to weather the stresses of college applications, and throughout college (if we have a good relationship already, we can use the phone quite productively). I have extensive experience working with very troubled children struggling with trauma, grief, despair, identity issues, panic and anxiety (see link to About Kathleen). Most of the parents who refer their youngsters to me are working/have worked in therapy themselves and are fully committed to the process of self-discovery for their children.
Young Adults The adolescent brain does not mature until the late 20's. Many of my patients learned to trust me when they were youngsters, and return to complete our work while they are in the process of making career choices, consolidating a sense of self, and getting ready to be on their own. Relationship, academic and self esteem issues figure prominently in the psychotherapy of young adults. My goal is to help them make informed decisions about this most sacred period of their lives: the decisions they make now will affect them for the rest of their lives. Most people in their teens have learned to form relationships based on proximity and association: classes, athletics, and clubs. Many choose a profession based on family tradition or aptitude, rather than potential for fulfillment. The knack of conscious choice for career trajectory, friendships, dating partners, and ultimately one's soulmate is one of the precious gifts of therapy work.
Adults Most therapy with my adult patients occurs in the hours between sessions! While we meet face to face once or twice weekly, the men and women I work with are hard at work outside the office reflecting on our latest interactions and discoveries. Although a crisis of some kind may spur you to make your first phone call to me, ultimately we end up focusing on your sense of self in love, work, solitude and play. Since many people initiate psychotherapy when they are besieged by anxiety and distress, self-soothing and self-compassion will be the cornerstone of your work with me. Many adults I see eventually also choose to join a therapy group at some point, because together the group and individual therapy are powerfully synergistic: i.e., they potentiate each other to highlight the work you are trying to accomplish while providing a unique safety net of other courageous men and women with emotional depth. Bottom line: everything you feel makes sense, and together we will strive to create a more meaningful life
We think we get over things.
We don't get over things.
Or say, we get over the measles
But not a broken heart.
We need to make that distinction.
The things that become part of our experience
Never become less a part of our experience.
How can I say it?
The way to get over a life is to die.
Short of that, you move with it,
Let the pain be pain,
Not in the hope that it will vanish
But in the faith that it will fit in,
Find its place in the shape of things
And be then not any less pain but true to form.
Because anything natural has an inherent shape
And will flow towards it.
And a life is as natural as a leaf.
That's what we're looking for:
Not the end of a thing but the shape of it.
Wisdom is seeing the shape of your life
Without obliterating, getting over, a single
Instant of it. (Anonymous)
Kathleen Adams, Ph.D.
3355 Bee Caves Road # 611
Austin, TX 78746
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