Treatment is designed to be intense and short-term. In order to develop and practice a different way of relating, momentum is the key as the client will find himself working against a very ingrained way of being and relating.
Treatment is based on the latest research findings from developmental neuroscience, and focuses on the regulation of the stress response system prior to any cognitive intervention is utilized.
Treatment assists clients to integrate all aspects of their life by encouraging the weaving of a coherent and cohesive narrative of their life experiences. In order to achieve this, the People Systems Approach is relationally oriented (e.g., how can we leverage the person’s relationships to improve their functioning), and systemic in nature (e.g., how is the family dynamic affecting the person’s relationships). In the service of the above-mentioned approach, treatment utilizes cognitive behavioral, humanistic, existential, and psychodynamic therapeutic tools and interventions.
While people might seek psychotherapy services due to feeling stuck, hopeless, disappointed or sad, the People Systems Approach acknowledges and validates the challenges that brings people to psychotherapy while at the same time assists clients to focus on their strengths as a way to improve their functioning. It is the therapist’s bias that character is built through adversity, and out of pain and suffering a person can develop a sense of “earned security” (Roisman, et al., 2002) which could result in a sense of hope, freedom, fulfillment and peace along with loving relationships.
Treatment integrates insight & action. Even though I was trained in psychodynamic psychotherapy, a methodology which focuses on childhood dynamics, the People Systems Approach requires the quick mobilization of the insight obtained during therapy sessions through brain-based resilience coaching in order to develop new ways of relating with oneself and others.
Challenges originate in the context of relationships and therefore most likely heal in relationships. While the therapeutic relationship provided by the treatment is a good start, sustained healing comes when the client integrates a new narratives which is in opposition with her primitive narrative as the client engages with her significant relationships in a different way.
Treatment is designed to increase intrinsic motivation (Ryan & Deci, 2000) which is associated with higher outcomes of personal, familial, professional, spiritual, and societal outcomes.
Treatment focuses on the healing of primitive narratives by using memory reconsolidation to create a more objective & realistic narrative (i.e., a Relational Neuro-Narrative™).
Welcome to my site, and thank you for your interest in relational counseling. I hope you find the content of this site informative.
I use a “bio-psycho-social” approach by drawing on the latest research findings from diverse fields of knowledge including attachment theory; affective and developmental neuroscience; regulation theory, emotional intelligence; management and leadership science; human motivation (e.g., self-determination theory); applied psychology (social, developmental, personality); epigenetics; complex and developmental trauma; and the emerging field of interpersonal neurobiology developed by UCLA psychiatrist Daniel Siegel, MD (Siegel, 2012) to assist children, adolescents, adults, couples and their families take advantage of brain plasticity to reduce the challenges that motivated them to seek counseling while repairing and improving important relationships in their lives.
By encouraging the development of a “two-person psychology” (Schore, 2002) as a major component of treatment, I help my clients improve their view of themselves and of other people in their lives by facilitating the integration of information and processes that reside in different parts of the brain (e.g., right-left, upper-lower) while helping them weave a narrative of their life story which includes references to past and present, good and bad, success and failure, dependence and independence; and that welcomes the entire realm of human emotions (e.g., sadness, anger, happiness, shame, fear, empathy).
I help parents develop and implement relational parenting techniques by building and maintaining children's sense of security to increase their future life success (i.e., “the good life” [King, 2001]) through a continuous, strong, and trusting relationship while focusing on understanding the emotional content of their thoughts and behaviors.
Parenting techniques that have influenced my work include those developed by Daniel Hughes, PhD, creator of Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (Hughes, 2006; Hughes, 2009; Hughes, 2011; Hughes & Baylin, 2012; Baylin & Hughes, 2016); Daniel Siegel, MD, the creator of the Interpersonal Neurobiology Movement (Siegel, 2012); and Stanley Greenspan, MD, creator of the Floortime Approach (Greenspan & Benderly, 1997; Greenspan & Salmon, 1995; Greenspan & Salmon, 1993). My therapeutic approach has been influenced by the application of neuroscience findings to relational psychotherapy as explicated by the work of Allan Schore, PhD, who is a leading researcher in the field of developmental neuropsychology (Schore, 2012); and by the field of neuropsychotherapy which under the direction of Pieter Rossouw, PhD (Rossouw, 2014) operationalizes clinical and research findings to deliver neuroscience oriented interventions.
Special Research and Clinical Interests
My research interests include how environmental stress (i.e., adverse childhood experiences) affects the proper functioning of our major organic systems (e.g., stress response, neurological, endocrinological, metabolic, immunological, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal) across the lifespan and generations; and its influence on our individual and collective (i.e., societal) emotional, mental and physical well-being. In this area, I have been influenced by the epidemiological studies on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) whose initial phase was led by Robert Anda, MD and Vincent Felitti, MD from 1995 to 1997 at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego (Felitti et al., 1998).
In addition, I follow the academic research on how developmental differences between boys and girls affect pathways of normal development; how environmental stress affects learning, cognitions, and behaviors; and how environmental stress affects creativity, social innovation and leadership potential.
Finally, I have a special clinical interest in facilitating relationship repair and development between boys and their parents especially with their fathers through my Fathers and Sons Initiative.
- Baylin, J. & Hughes, D. A. (2016). The neurobiology of attachment focused therapy: Enhancing connection and trust in the treatment of children and adolescents (Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology). WW Norton & Company.
- Felitti, V. J., Anda, R. F., Nordenberg, D., Williamson, D. F., Spitz, A. M., Edwards, V., ... & Marks, J. S. (1998). Relationship of childhood abuse and household dysfunction to many of the leading causes of death in adults: The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study. American journal of preventive medicine, 14(4), 245-258.
- Greenspan, S. I., & Benderly, B. L. (1997). The growth of the mind and the endangered origins of intelligence. Reading, MA: Perseus Books.
- Greenspan, S. I., & Salmon, J. (1993). Playground Politics: Understanding the Emotional Life of Your School-Age Child. Reading, MA :Addison-Wesley Publishing Company.
- Greenspan, S. I., & Salmon, J. (1995). The Challenging Child: Understanding, Raising, and Enjoying the Five “Difficult" Types of Children. Reading, MA :Addison-Wesley Publishing Company.
- Hughes, D. A. (2006). Building the bonds of attachment: Awakening love in deeply troubled children. Jason Aronson.
- Hughes, D. A. (2009). Attachment-focused parenting: Effective strategies to care for children. WW Norton & Company.
- Hughes, D. A. (2011). Attachment-focused family therapy workbook. WW Norton & Company.
- Hughes, D. A., & Baylin, J. (2012). Brain-Based Parenting: The Neuroscience of Caregiving for Healthy Attachment (Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology). WW Norton & Company.
- King, L. A. (2001). The hard road to the good life: The happy, mature person. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 41(1), 51-72.
- Schore, A. N. (2012). The Science of the Art of Psychotherapy (Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology). WW Norton & Company.
- Rossouw, P. J. (2014). Neuropsychotherapy: Theoretical underpinnings and clinical applications. Brisbane, AUS: Mediros Pty Ltd.
- Roisman, G. I., Padrón, E., Sroufe, L. A., & Egeland, B. (2002). Earned–secure attachment status in retrospect and prospect. Child development, 73(4), 1204-1219.
- Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American psychologist, 55(1), 68.
- Schore, A. N. (2002). Advances in neuropsychoanalysis, attachment theory, and trauma research: Implications for self psychology. Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 22(3), 433-484.
- Siegel, D. J. (2012). The developing mind: How relationships and the brain interact to shape who we are. Guilford Publications.