Our Mission & Philosophy

Our mission is education and frontline, culturally-knowledgeable, expert mental health, relationship, and substance abuse therapies for vulnerable and stigmatized populations.

FullSizeRender[3]_1We Affirm Healthy Sexuality

Sex-positive therapists embrace the idea that consensual sexual activities are fundamentally healthy and pleasurable.  While emphasizing personal responsibility between consenting adults, risk-awareness and risk-mitigation practices, and respect for individual limits and preferences, sex-positive therapists may support clients to explore their sexuality, experiment sexually and discover what works for them. Sex-positivity allows for and, in fact, celebrates sexual diversity, differing desires and relationships structures, different gender identities and expressions, and individual choices based on consent between or among partners.

At Emerge™, we work with people who identify as or are exploring lesbian, gay, bisexual, polysexual, pansexual, queer, and related orientations. We also work with those who identify as heterosexualWe work with people who are intersex, transgender, or otherwise gender non-conforming. We also work with people who are most comfortable with asexuality or who have chosen to put sex on the shelf for the moment. We are kink knowledgeable and kink friendly. We FullSizeRenderembrace a broad diversity of relationship expressions, including polyamory, non-monogamy, and monogamy. Our attitude is one of acceptance, embracing, and valuing of consensual human longings, desires and sexual behavior, rather than to categorize these things as pathologies. We recognize that by including and integrating all parts of ourselves, we can live more individually fulfilling and socially productive lives.

A word about trauma: It is our assessment that trauma can come from a belief that there is something wrong with what we desire in sex or intimacy, as well as from abusive or non-consensual experiences.  We believe that both of these types of trauma deserve understanding, validation and healing.

FullSizeRender[1]We work with many people who wonder if they are ill because their desires, longings or behaviors are perceived to be outside the “norm.” Our basic attitude is that it is up to each person to determine what is right for them and where are their limits. Knowing that for some, there can also be severe trauma history in the background, we take these situations seriously and offer support to seek safety first, and then examine and explore all facets. Our moral ground is based on informed consent, and our ethical standard about sexual actions and relationship structures is based not on what some normative “orthodoxy” declares, but on whether any of these reasonably cause permanent and irreparable harm to others.

Our Ethical Philosophy

Chad Tynan and Luke Adams embrace a standard of professional ethics in therapy that goes above and beyond the requirements of the American Association of MFTs and the California Association of MFTs. Luke Adams has worked since the 1970s in progressive movements for social change, and in the movement for the liberation of those considered by the dominant culture to be “heretics” about sex and gender. Chad Tynan was actively involved in building LGBTQ organizations at UCLA and in reaching out with networks around polyamory and kink in San Francisco. During their ongoing work, both men have continued to engage with mainstream scientific and epidemiological specialists. When they came to the calling of the study of the mind, and of efforts at healing and wholeness, they both saw the value of adopting pro-liberation therapeutic ethics as part of their work. Those ethics come with the following set of twelve basic principles as assumptions from which to work.

  1. Oppression sickness is a social disease and a spiritual malady. It directly correlates with increased individual illness in mind and body.
  2. A fully integrated analysis is necessary to understand oppression. One “-ism” isn’t more important than another “-ism.” They all play on each other.
  3. The processes and personas of the inner life (“intrapsychic”) and those of the experiences and exchanges between different people (“intersubjective”) depend upon each other—they are interdependent.
  4. Personal and social identities are interdependent.
  5. Personal and environmental identities are interdependent.
  6. Our perceptions and our reality are contingent, so distress and disease must be understood and treated within that systemic and holistic context.
  7. The therapeutic relationship strives to be egalitarian, even though the consultant and the client bring different expertise to the table.
  8. The protective container that separates private or group counseling from social education does not render social education non-therapeutic.
  9. The professional relationship of the consultant and the client must stay discretely distinct from their outside lives so that both may engage in their work in a safe container for healing.
  10. The perspectives of the marginalized, of the traumatized, and of the survivors of oppression or abuse demand to be highly valued.
  11. Appeasement of oppressive systems and actors directly exacerbates negative health outcomes in individuals.
  12. The personal is political.

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The environmental, transpersonal, and somatic (holistic psychotherapy) worldview: Humans are multidimensional sentient beings comprised of spirit, mind, and body, and the human being exists within an interactive contingent reality composed of systems and environments. Humans have awareness (consciousness) about their inner lives and their outer interactions, as well as sub-awareness (a subconscious which is not operating at the level of mindfulness), and a hidden awareness (unconscious buried material that impacts cognitions/feelings and behaviors, and which has an individual locus but is also connected to a collective locus). Humans, for good or ill (depending on their superconscious formations), act to meet their five great instincts, and they generally use agency to do so in either a pro-social ("productive orientation") or anti-social ("entropic orientation") manner.

The five great instincts:

1. To be part-of
2. To have power to achieve
3. To exercise liberty of individual agency
4. To play and relax.
5. To sustain one's survival

When a person or a relationship system recognizes dysfunction and seeks to -- or is made to seek to -- fix it, the environmental, transpersonal, and somatic worldview utilizes an approach based on fourth-order cybernetics.

The following are some of the better treatment techniques for mental and emotional health function concerns (apart from specific medication and touch interventions), and they all build on each other:

1) Experiential/Symbolic Therapy (authenticity and humane rapport; relatedness even in mentorship; collaboration, playfulness)
2) Object Relations Therapy and Control-Mastery Therapy (how did we developmentally get here and how do we master the tough parts?) plus Integrative Meaning Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (existential and values approaches)
3) Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, and Strategic Therapy (direct instruction, reality-testing, comparing internal and external logic to achieve reason, rolling with resistance, confronting irrationality)
4) Emotionally Focused Therapy (genuine and open feeling, relying on trusted team members, having healthy boundaries and attachments, more fulfilling experience of being part-of)
5) Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Bowen Family Therapy, (seeing the schemes, empowering "right-sized" self-esteem, challenging the scripts, writing new ones, mindfulness, distress tolerance, self-regulating of emotional reactions, strategic and deep/honest communicating, restructuring thought and feeling and action by using countervailing behaviors)
6) Gestalt Therapy (feel it rather than simply intellectualize it, look at somatic and work on them, consciously integrate the environment, the systems, and the internal compartments).
7) Solution-Focused (envision your ideal, reduce risk and harm to personally acceptable levels, build on strengths) Therapy

A good therapist who has a theoretical orientation that is environmental, transpersonal, and somatic, will integrate tools from all of these therapeutic techniques. The therapist will not be bound to the theory behind the techniques, but will conduct an integrative therapy based from within the environmental, somatic, and transpersonal (holistic psychotherapy) theoretical worldview. The therapist will act to help patients gain not only further expertise about themselves, but also to gain effective tools to live more fulfilling lives with more fulfilling relationships.
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