Welcome to
Full Circle Psychology
and the teachings of Yoga Nidra (iRest)

Therapy Styles and Background Information

With many years of experience practicing as a psychologist, the styles have become blended with who I am as a professional. What follows just gives some of the flavors that went into shaping who I am as a person and in my practice.

Subtle Depth Analytical Work (Psychodynamic Therapy)

This work is based on Intersubjective Analysis which is a progressive offshoot of Self Psychology. The approach comes out of a beautiful empathic understanding of everything we are dealing with in our lives and within ourselves. Every behavior, feeling and thought makes sense in the context of our life now and the past. This means that we can learn to understand ourselves in a whole new way without judgment and self-criticism. Once we have greater understanding of who we are and how we actually function then we are free to mature into more flexible people.

Empathy leads to an understanding from the inside which is very different from the critical judgment coming from the outside. Often we adopt this outside view and end up feeling bad about ourselves. This is not conducive to a joyous and confident life. Through empathy the therapist serves to help access and find words for your inner states that describe your reality. You begin to see how these states influence your perceptions. 
The states that are troublesome are the ones that are cut off or immature. One way they form is through lack of validation from people who matter during childhood which leads to self-doubt, lack of self-worth and self-loathing. Confused by doubt the child lacking the capacity to think clearly pushes part of itself aside and those parts fail to mature. These old immature states can cause a lot of trouble through symptoms or disturbances of some sort. When these immature aspects are understood, they mature and integrate and often  symptoms just drop away and you feel better.

During 7 years of personal analysis I developed empathy and sensitivity toward these subtle inner states.

Practical Solution Oriented Therapy

A component of therapy is straightforward solving of issues. Coming up with better ways of doing things, time management, prioritizing, de-cluttering your mind and life, improving relationships with your partner, children, friends, family or at your workplace. Clarifying what you want, defining your values, seeing how your life would improve by spending time on things that matter, how to deal with those issues that have been put aside for too long, and how to simplify and enrichen your existence overall through making some practical changes.

iRest (Integrative Restoration)

 iRest provides a
wonderful set of tools and map to orient by. You can use these to manage your life through the body, senses, breath, emotions, images, thoughts, beliefs, memories. iRest is used extensively with high anxiety states including PTSD, or to enhance ones spirituality or increase ones capacity to practice ones religious beliefs more calmly and deeply. It is a tool to train your brain to be more regulated, flexible and present which can help in all areas of life.

Please see the Integrative Restoration tab for more details

Marriage Partners and Committed Couples
Relationships are challenging and come with ever-recurring patterns, predictable arguments, needs that aren't met, hurts that create distance, times of hopelessness, the deep desire to be happy together and the frustration that happiness is so hard to come by.  Having difficulties in relationships is normal but there are things a couple can learn in order to feel closer. My work is partially based on increasing empathy in the couple and on the research findings by Dr. John Gottman who is a renowned marriage research expert. His research shows which qualities support and which undermine a relationship. My work is also informed by the Crucible Approach of Dr David Schnarch. I have attended several professional workshops and several weeklong intensive trainings. The Crucible challenges each partner in the couple to find the best in them in order to be able to face the part each plays in keeping the relationship stuck, in conflict, desire-less, unhappy and less than at its full potential.

Part of couple's work can be exploring the sexual relationship. I am not a certified sex therapist but have studied quite extensively on my own since sex is usually not separable from the marriage. You may discover that your difficulties are quite common and that there is nothing defective about you or wrong about your experiences. Sex is tied to complex relationship dynamics and is often influenced by circumstances. We will explore what you want and what it might take to get there.
Here my work is again influenced by the Crucible Approach of Dr. David Schnarch and his wife Dr Ruth Moorehouse who are leading sex therapists. Dr Schnarch has written "Passionate Marriage", "Intimacy and Desire" and "Resurrecting Sex ". The crucible work can be quite challenging as the couple faces the less desirable tendencies between them that keep them stuck and immature. There is good information, workshops and materials available on the Crucible website www.crucible4points.com or www.passionatemarriage.com

Pregnant and Postpartum Women

We explore the ups and downs of becoming and being a mother.  Pregnancy is a time to figure out as much as possible about yourself, your relationships and circumstances because your life is about to change in a wonderful and often challenging way.

Women sometimes don't feel about their babies the way they expected. Often this is complicated by a sense of inadequacy or guilt. Postpartum work addresses the depression, anxiety and confusion that can haunt a new mother.

Dream Tending

Dream Tending is an approach taught by Dr Stephen Aizenstadt at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Carpinteria, CA. I attended his 6 month training. Dream Tending is creative and relational. The dreamer relates to dream images instead of analyzing them. This can result in surprising insights and new understandings. Dream work is only for those who are interested and is not an essential component of therapy.
Dr Aizenstadt has written a book available on Amazon "Dream Tending: Awakening to the Healing Power of Dreams".

Background Information, Musings and Thoughts

What is therapy about?

Therapy is not just a technique. Mostly it is a relationship.

It means different things for different people and there is a range of opinions among professionals. What matters is that you are better able to deal with your life, that you feel yourself to be understood, that you feel good about having that special hour each week, that you begin to be able to deal with your problems, that your perspectives begin to shift and that you become more compassionate toward yourself and others.

Therapy ought to be flexible to meet your particular need at this time. It is both an art and a science. It is based on intuition, connection, the willingness to be spontaneous and especially the ability to be open to each person's own pace and direction for their own healing. It is also a science where thoughts and behaviors are predictable and a step by step treatment can be planned and learning occurs. 

Therapy touches a person in many ways all at once. It can address a practical concern, a crisis, a trauma, an ongoing nagging sense of dissatisfaction, mood swings, ever repeating patterns in your life that are frustrating, exasperating or even destructive. It helps sort out conflict or dissatisfaction between your partner and you, your children and you or it can address your sense of helplessness when you behave or think in ways that feel shameful. Therapy can explore existential and spiritual questions. 

We all see the world from our own interpretation of reality and base our lives on this interpretation. To have less anxiety, depression, addictions and to suffer less from the many other dilemmas of life, we need to understand how to shift our perceptions and interpretations into greater health. To be more engaged with life is an internal shift of attitude sometimes needing to lead to changes in ones external life as well. Therapy ought to free you from the burden of having to meet unrealistic expectations and thereby give you the chance to see and value who you actually are. Imagine never knowing who you are and never living your own life.  Imagine what living your true life would be like. 

As a person I have a great curiosity to discover the meaning of living and to grapple with the challenges of being alive in our culture at this time, being a wife and a mother. As a therapist I have the privilege to be with "an other" in a special way. I bear witness to our struggles, desires and wishes as human beings and how we avoid ourselves with distractions. I do not have it all figured out and have become comfortable knowing that it can't be figured out. The realness of life itself is much more powerful to me than the ideas we might have for what life ought to be. Who you are is also much more than what anyone might think you should be.

Hopefully therapy will help you learn how to welcome your experiences alone and with those you care about. That is what being more fully in life means. To welcome your life rather than letting it go by. In a strange way it is more about acceptance than change. Discernment is crucial. It is also imperative to learn to sense your own direction, to realize your responsibility in creating your life and the freedom and burden that comes from that. These are important skills to learn.

I do not see people in terms of pathology. Symptoms are a defense against distress, a perceived threat, or an expression of immature aspects of oneself that have not been recognized, accepted or understood.  Once understood the psychological state becomes integrated allowing the symptoms to subside. Other symptoms come from chemical imbalances and these can be managed with coping skills and/or medication and understanding. We are all limited and marked by being members of families and society. We can learn to find our way and flourish within the framework that we live in. Often what is seen as a burden, often what we try to change is really something that can be turned into a strength. To learn to accept some of our weaknesses and to refocus our energy on those aspects of life that we truly value leads to more happiness.

My Education, Training and other Experiences that prepared me as a Psychologist

I was awarded a BSc degree in Zoology at the Universtiy of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. I went on to complete an MA in Psychology (Wilderness/Transpersonal emphasis) at Sonoma State University in Rhonert Park, California. After several years of living, travel and performing all kinds of different work I committed to a career as a clinical psychologist and went back to earn a PhD in Clinical Psychology with  a depth perspective at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Carpinteria, CA. To become licensed I completed internships at a Psychiatric Hospital, a Community Counseling Center, Child Protective Services, County Mental Health and through supervised private practice. A significant part of my becoming a therapist was by engaging in my own therapy. During 7 years of Intersubjective Analysis I learned of subtle psychological states and how they affect us.

Another view I hold is one shaped by Yoga Nidra (the modern version is iRest which stand for Integrative Restoration). This is a very sophisticated psychological map of the human mind. It offers a practical way to experience ones psychological states and discern them from the larger underlying awareness. The practice teaches us how to be more aware through our senses in ordinary daily life. Often this is referred to as "being here now". By experiencing the difference between our thoughts and the underlying awareness the rigid conditioning that keeps us stuck in unhealthy habit patterns is undone. Yoga Nidra also greatly helps reduce daily stress, anxieties, worries, depression, anger, post traumatic stress, and sleep disturbances. It loosens our limited perception of life that creates all kinds of tensions and unhappiness and opens us to spontaneous and happier ways of being. We become more compassionate, kind and patient. I am a certified iRest/Yoga Nidra teacher. More information can be found at www.iRest.us

I also completed a 6 month training in Dream Tending at Pacifica Graduate Institute with Dr. Stephen Aizenstadt. In this training we learned to work with dreams in a relational way.

I was born in South Africa and came to the USA in 1994 during the exciting time when Mandela was elected as president. I lived north of Los Angeles for 10 years before moving to Moscow, Idaho. There I had a successful practice as a psychologist. In June 2008 I left Idaho, my practice and home to seek another way of life in Mexico. Journey into Self describes that experience in my life. Mexico turned out to be the wrong kind of a place for my family and myself to make a home. However, this experience has provided a rich learning for me about the many things that call us in life. After Mexico we settled in Redding, California
in February of 2009 and are very happy about our choice to be here.

I appreciate the mountains, walking and especially mountain streams. In the future I intend to lead day trips to Mount Lassen. There we can learn about ourselves and our place in life while being surrounded by nature.

 Mountain Stream in the Magalisberg, South Africa

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