Psychotherapy

and the

Creative Process

The human psyche is organized around a creative, solution-seeking impulse. The notion, therefore, that the word “artist” describes a member of a creative elite that functions apart from, if not somewhat above, the rest of the social order amounts to an unfortunate cultural bias of our times. That said, individuals whose lifestyles are defined by a personal involvement with creative processes (professional and aspiring actors, writers, musicians, visual artists, etc.) can and do share unique stressors and concerns.

In my experience, an individual’s chosen mode of artistic expression has an enormous bearing on his/her experience of life, affecting its every sphere - from the professional and social aspects of oneself down to the existential core. Over time, the psyche devoted to artistic processes is conditioned by and habituated to powerful sets of metaphors, images, and sensual experiences proffered by the chosen artistic medium. In exchange for its devotees’ allegiance to these experiences and symbols, the artistic life yields strong tonics - sensual delectation, empathy and complex insights into the human condition. Collaborations, meanwhile, can force dialogs and reckonings between the unconscious processes of participants, making for powerful relational alchemies. Even creative blocks offer opportunities for a new understanding of one’s psychic terrain. The overall discipline and presence of mind required to practice any art form necessarily deepens and expands consciousness.

These same features of the artistic life at times, however, require special attention, care, and guidance. An artist may find his or herself struggling, for example, with how to react when the existential (or social, professional, etc.) rendering of oneself is unsettled by a creative process - or vice versa. At other times, the limitations of an artistic medium - or of one’s ability to express his or her truth within a given medium - become all too painfully realized. Insights into the human condition can, at times, lead to empathy burnout, a kind of paralysis. And collaborations can heighten anxiety, throwing into sharp relief one’s less than optimal relational patterns and/ or difficulty communicating. Creative blocks, lapses in discipline, and distraction - each an important sub-process in the creative process - can, if not related to properly, numb and thwart one’s ability to sense into oneself for solutions.

Contemplative practice (sitting meditation), my attention to language, and a focus on the construction of meaningful internal narratives are central aspects of my therapeutic approach. The philosophical underpinnings of my approach are somatic and existential.

Is psychotherapy for me?

Possibly. People seek therapy for different reasons. Some begin therapy as a way of responding to unexpected changes in their lives, or two attenuate painful habits of the mind and body. Others seek to sort out the past and thereby learn to live more contentedly in the present. Others, meanwhile, begin therapy as a continuation of an already-established practice of self-exploration and personal growth. In each case, therapy can be helpful and effective.

Some of the concerns that bring people to therapy include:

What is Contemplative Psychotherapy?

Contemplative Psychotherapy is a psychotherapeutic approach that derives from two rootstocks: the world wisdom tradition of Buddhism and the rich offerings of Western Psychology, particularly the Existential-Humanistic school. From Buddhism comes the focus on mindfulness, awareness of oneself in the Here & Now, and a thorough understanding of the functioning of the mind in sanity and in confusion. From Western psychology come an attention to the relationship between therapist and client and an emphasis on the verbal articulation of one’s experience. Contemplative psychotherapy is based upon the premise that human consciousness is essentially creative and intelligent.

Can you describe, generally, the process of psychotherapy?

The process of psychotherapy defies easy generalizations. This is so because of at least two reasons. First, it varies widely depending on the personalities of both psychologist and client (and the particular concerns brought forward in the course of therapy). And, secondly, like many clinicians, I favor an eclectic approach that allows for the implementation of a variety of methods.

At its most basic level, psychotherapy is best described as a healthy, nurturing (i.e. therapeutic) relationship. As such, its goal is the compassionate attenuation of despair and confusion. That said, psychotherapy is a place to take refuge, a place to be heard and witnessed. But it’s also a partnership, a collaboration, and an inquiry. A meeting-place of learning and support. An incubator for new behaviors and perceptions. A protracted conversation wherein narratives are offered between clinician and client and new meaning is uncovered. Progress is a measurable thing and derives not only from the reduction of symptoms, but the generation of insights and application of them to one’s existence.

I tend to meet with my clients on a weekly basis, though for some it may be deemed more helpful or necessary to meet more or less frequently.

Do you work with couples or families?

Yes, in addition to individual psychotherapy, I also offer support for couples and families. Generally speaking, couples or family counseling are indicated when two or more people agree that the attention and insight of a compassionate yet objective "outsider" to the relationship might be of help. Couples therapy and family therapy are best thought of as shared spaces for people to talk comfortably and safely about what is and is not working, address the wounds their relationship has sustained, and learn better, more productive ways to be in relationship to one another. What unfolds in the shared space of couples therapy and family therapy is largely a product of both the therapeutic relationship and the particular concerns that are bringing people in for support.

I am interested in getting some support for my child. Can you describe play therapy?

Lacking the ability to verbally articulate their experiences, children best express themselves via a medium that is both primal and immediate - the idiom of play. It can therefore be beneficial, particularly during times of transition or duress, for caregivers to offer their child the opportunity to express himself or herself in the presence of a trusted, nonjudgmental adult outside of his or her family system. Thus, play therapy is a deep, healing relationship that allows children to circumvent verbal articulation as the primary mode of communication and thereby work toward a state of wholeness.

Play therapy clients range from five to eleven years of age. By making concurrent, content- based suggestions and interventions to parents/caregivers, I seek to insure that these young clients feel supported and understood not just in the context of therapy, but by their primary caregivers.

Do you accept insurance?

I currently do not participate with insurance panels. However, I will happily provide a receipt of service for those who wish to apply for reimbursement from their insurance companies. As not all carriers will provide coverage for non-participating providers (or there may be expectations such as a referral from a primary care physician), I strongly encourage my clients to speak with their insurance companies prior to scheduling their first appointment in order to understand their policies' provisions. My National Provider Number (NPI) for use in communicating with insurance providers about my practice is #1588938542.

While I understand that my billing practices will not fit every person’s needs, this model of care more readily insures that I am able to provide the highly personalized level of care in which I specialize. In my experience, this approach is most conducive to creating a safe, therapeutic environment. My transparent fee schedule means that my focus is given to individualized therapeutic services rather than negotiating treatment plans or collecting on contracts with insurance companies. Additional benefits of the self-pay model include the option of complete privacy for my patients’ medical information.

Is therapy confidential?

In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and a psychotherapist. Information is not disclosed without written permission. However, there are number of exceptions to this rule. Exceptions include:

Fees

For individual, couples, family counseling and play therapy, my fee is $100 per hour.

On occasion, I also provide services on a sliding scale basis.

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Email Jonathan

Phone: (828) 409-9765

390 Merrimon Ave ~ Asheville, NC 28801