My Approach

In our families of origin and our subsequent relationships, we all learned (and continue to learn) ways of relating to others that were once designed to keep ourselves safe -- free from neglect, abandonment, or abuse. Much of that early learning shows up in how we relate today.

 

As we discovered our emotions in childhood, we learned that some feelings were welcome with our caregivers and some were not; some helped us get our needs met and others were not lucrative or put us in danger. When I work with individuals, I look at the ways the body might be sending signals tin the form of emotion and the ways the mind is or is not listening to those signals. Together, we will work to discern what is true for you in the here and now and what is the result of habit in the form of unconscious organizing principles (the emotional convictions and conclusions we come to as a result of our early childhood experiences). Ultimately, it is when my thinking mind and feeling core are in alignment, that I am in my most empowered state. 

Relational Gestalt Practice, as developed by Dorothy Charles and derived from Gestalt Practice in the lineage of Richard Price, teaches me to more skillfully relate to my own emotions and encompasses the value - "I and thou, in the here and now." Working in this way is about reminding myself to stay in the present moment and notice where my behavior and reactions in the here and now might be connected to what happened in the past. With practice, I can relate to those important people in my life based on who they actually are, not based on how I might believe them to be as a result of my early learnings.

Such work involves a willingness to explore the patterns we've relied upon as a result of the systems in which we were brought up. Some of those ways of relating make up the essence of who I am today and others are less skillful and less conscious. By shining the light of awareness on those ways of relating, I create more choice for how I want to show up, become more self-directed, and have greater trust in what might happen as a result. With an open heart and open mind we can work together to learn to cultivate more compassion for how we each became, and continue to become, the people we are. 

 

© 2019 by April Seligman, Registered Associate Marriage & Family Therapist (License No. 111071)

Supervised by Tim Hartnett, LMFT (License No. 27228)