Understanding the EMERGE Counseling, Consultation, and Therapy process


Psychotherapy provides the time and space for people to explore thoughts and feelings and gain insight into the root causes of their problems and conflicts. Over time, clients can expect to see significant changes in day-to-day life, self-esteem, and self-awareness.

There are some cases in which it is clear within the first few sessions that you a patient may be dealing with a specific problem that can be resolved with just a few meetings. Whether you’re struggling to make a difficult decision, deciding whether to move across the country, or making plans for an aging parent, short-term counseling can be immensely helpful. In these cases, five to fifteen sessions is often enough to resolve the problem that brought you to counseling.

In other cases, the problem is more involved and has been troubling you for some time. Perhaps the problem is bringing up a conflict from your early childhood or resonating with a past trauma or unresolved loss. Maybe you’ve been feeling depressed or anxious for a few months. To explore and resolve these situations, short-term psychotherapy with once or twice weekly meetings for several months may be the treatment of choice.

When the issues involve the collisions we have in life regarding “sex and drugs and rock-n-roll,” we believe that comprehensive treatment using holistic, multidisciplinary approaches, is what has proven to work best.

People in Relationship

When the issues involve relationship negotiations, especially for relationships that fall outside “orthodox” notions, such as in polyamory and open relationships, it can be helpful to have one or all of the partners participate in therapy.

Are you having difficulty communicating without fighting? Has it been hard finding the right balance of togetherness and separateness? Is your sex life not what it used to be? Are you struggling with jealousy and trust or repeatedly find yourself discussing a past betrayal? In these situations and many others, relationship therapy together can be helpful.

Intimate relationships not only demand honesty and self-examination, they also inevitably bring forth unresolved issues from our families of origin. With couples or other relationship combinations, we facilitate productive conversations and conflict resolution by helping to resolve emotional wounds and encouraging the development of the skills necessary for satisfying and enriching relationships. In addition, we help combos to understand how their relationship has been shaped by each partner’s childhood experiences. With this understanding, couples often gain an increased sense of mastery and effectiveness in their relationship.

For some issues, a few sessions are enough. Other times, a longer commitment to psychotherapy is required. In most cases, we meet with combos once weekly. Depending on your particular problems and situation, we may agree to meet more or less often. Regardless, relationship therapy together can provide you with a safe space to discuss the difficulties in your combo and to develop hope as your relationship moves forward.

Family Dynamics

Is your child or adolescent struggling with academics or troublesome behavior? Has it been difficult to fully integrate a new member into your family? Are you struggling to care for an aging parent? Perhaps your family is simply experiencing too much conflict or a lack of intimacy. Is your child or adolescent struggling with academics or troublesome behavior or stigma? With these and other problems, family therapy can be helpful.

Because problems exist in a context larger than the individual, we often work with entire families. In family therapy, we help families to address the problems that inevitably arise as children grow, elders develop, and families change. Together, we improve communication, clarify boundaries, and create collaboration among family members. Family therapy is effective with a wide-range of problems, including difficulties with communication, relationship conflict, eating disorders, grief and loss, stigma, and many more.

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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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