The word 'happiness' would lose its meaning if
it were not balanced by sadness.
-- C. G. Jung
At Alternative Solutions Center we believe in clients and therapists working together
as equal partners to address client concerns.
Our approach to therapy is primarily Deaf-centered and existential-humanistic in orientation. As the first psychotherapists to conceptualize a Deaf-centered framework of therapy and the first to establish a practice grounded in a Deaf-centered philosophy, we are conscious of how Deaf people's lives are shaped by their identities and experiences as members of a cultural and linguistic minority group. We place much emphasis on the relationship between the client and therapist. We encourage and support clients in becoming aware of their internal selves and recovering what they may have lost or forgotten about themselves. We focus on exploring clients' understanding and awareness of current problems or issues and supporting them in experimenting with alternative ways of behaving or acting. While we pay close attention to the here-and-now, we also look to the past when it may provide clarity to present-day issues. We also appreciate and make use of techniques from other theoretical orientations, such as dream analysis and desensitization.
We are mindful of each individual's uniqueness in background and life experience.
There are as many different kinds of people as there are stars in the sky. People are unique in race and ethnicity, spiritual beliefs and values, sexual orientations, educational backgrounds, interests and personalities. Deaf people, for example, may come from a Deaf or hearing family, from a signing or oral environment, from a Deaf school or a mainstream program. They may be late-deafened or hard-of-hearing. They may feel good about being Deaf or they may wish they were hearing; they may use assistive listening devices or they may not. As therapists, we are sensitive to how all of these factors shape individual lives. As much as possible, we refrain from labeling clients with mental health diagnoses, believing them to be limiting and even disabling. Labels are sweeping statements that imply clear causes and solutions and fall short of acknowledging the uniqueness of each individual.
In today's world, many challenges impact our lives.
We may find ourselves pulled in ten different directions at once, trying to meet the expectations of our families, friends, employers, and society, as well as our own expectations of ourselves. The stressors we encounter, along with endless distractions in our day-to-day lives, can lead us to experience a loss of self. When this happens, we become disconnected from our intrinsic qualities and our sense of who we are and where we are going. Adversity, or hard times, can also throw us off balance and cause us to lose our way in life. Over time, the weight of these stressors leads to anxiety, depression, compulsive behaviors, or health problems.
There is no getting around the fact that pain and suffering are part of life.
Death, the end of a relationship, physical pain, and trauma touch our lives in countless ways. In the midst of their ensuing sadness and despair, lies an opportunity for healing a part of ourselves. In accepting and moving through our emotional pain, in embracing each experience and moment, we become engaged in our lives and more conscious of our true selves. When we ignore our suffering and emptiness, we lose a chance to heal and become further disengaged from life. As the poet, Robert Frost wrote, "The best way out is always through." In a therapeutic sense, no words ring more true.
A lack of authenticity in one's life lies at the root of many internal conflicts,
overwhelming feelings of anguish or unhappiness, and nagging questions about the meaning of life.
Inauthenticity, or acting in ways that we do not really want to, occurs when we construct our lives around the expectations of others. This can have a negative impact on moods and feelings. People who are in unhappy relationships or miserable in their jobs are sometimes unable to express their true feelings. In their struggle to present an ideal image of their selves or their lives, they experience inauthenticity. Therapy can facilitate individuals' efforts to become more truthful or authentic, to broaden their perspective on themselves and the world around them, and to find direction in the choices they make in their lives.
Rather than moving on linear paths, our lives unfold as spirals.
Time after time, we come back to the same themes and issues in our lives, only at different stages of the journey. At Alternative Solutions Center, we believe that everyone possesses intuitive abilities and strengths than can be discovered and drawn upon to make changes that lead to more fulfilling and meaningful lives.
Copyright ©2005-2010 Alternative Solutions Center, LLC.
All rights reserved. Any reproduction in any format is expressly prohibited without written authorization from Alternative Solutions Center.