…and this is what it’s all about.
We are in the midst of transformative times. The realities of climate disruption, political and idealogical division, and their impact on our personal and collective lives has been intensifying. People are feeling the tensions, and experiences of hopelessness, anxiety and depression are rising. As I sit with clients weekly, regardless of the age, I witness the systemic impact and trickling down effect of these times on mental health and well-being. People are stressed by the ever so rapid pace of life, and yet they feel they don’t have enough “time” to meet all that is in front of them. Children and teenagers are expressing to me how they need a new vision…People want to depart from participating in systems that no longer sustain the planet and all the creations living with it; and most feel trapped within those systems…And yet, these times are full of potential for never before have we accomplished what we are seeing today in advancement of human capacity.
Having an Evolutionary approach in psychotherapy for me means being curious, analyzing, and staying informed on trends and changes in individuals, groups and societies and what is the potential of the human being in these particular times in terms of health, healing, and longevity, emotional, mental, and intelligence advancement. It also means looking around and seeing what these times are calling for in order to shape our behaviors to meet the needs. It requires that we pause get to know ourselves and get to feel where the pulse of evolution might be taking us; where we want to go and what we want to do with the trends. Because when we do that we build the capacity to move with the potential, and that brings about far reaching possibilities.
And here we come to the notion of: The Programming.
The Programming is the set of rules, morals, values, behaviors and relational experiences that have conditioned us from the moment we are born. It is the interaction with the external world. Our brains encode and retain all the associations we have formed within the social context we have participated in our immediate family, friend groups, education, work place and beyond. The programming comes from our socialization as a human being within our relational interactions, especially within these spheres of society:
Self, Gender, Race, Animals, Environment/Earth, Economy, Technology, Beyond: spiritual traditions, religion
As Evolution unfolds, each generation adds to-and modifies-The Programming. The Programming holds much weight in shaping our psychology. We are to a large extent conditioned by the specific cultural climate of our times.
But of course our experience of our self and the world is vastly mediated by our genes. Here we get into the field of Epigenetics. Epigenetics is the study of biological mechanisms that turn genes on and off. Epigenetics is everywhere, it makes us unique, and is reversible. What you eat, where you live, who and how you interact with others, when you sleep, how you exercise, stress–all of these can eventually cause chemical modifications around the genes that will turn those genes on or off as time passes. The Programming is a reflection of our human genome; Humans create their relational experience with the external world, which in turns, genetically impacts and shape how subsequent generations will also experience and impact the external world. A particular fascinating and relevant aspect for our conversation here is inherited epigenetic and behavioral consequence of stress and trauma across generations.
How does all of this connect with how I practice Psychotherapy?
Uniquely You; The potential, The meaningful.
When I sit with clients and do psychotherapy, we explore The Programming and how it lives within You and your unique story. I keep in mind and offer the perspective that how we take care of you in the moment has lasting effects on your health and well-being in terms of your epigenetics expression, and as a whole. When people become more conscious of the reality and impact of The Programming in their lives, more choices become available. it’s a sort of waking up. The most liberating impact of this exploration I witness in clients, is letting go of fear. People let go of the conditioned fear because they realize they have choices in how they are going to govern their own Life, what I call Self Governance. I coin this whole Psycho-Therapeutic process Upgrading, for it is literally what we do together; upgrade your mind to become more fluid, agile, and free of interference, freer of stress and anxiety, and uplifted out of depression. As we do so, it promotes and spreads health and vitality internally, and outwardly in your relations with others.
I believe in Neurodiversity. Neurodiversity is an approach to learning and mental health that views various neurological conditions (presentations) as the result of normal variations of the human genome. Neurodiversity views Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, OCD, Tourette’s, and other neurological conditions as natural human variations, rather than pathologies or disorders. Neurodiversity rejects the idea that neurological differences need to be, or can be, cured, instead believing them to be authentic forms of human diversity, self-expression, and being. However, our respective neurology, even if accepted as “normal” does get off balance, and causes challenges and disharmony that manifest as symptoms and behavioral challenges that need remediating.
In sitting with clients of all ages with various neurological presentations over the years, I have come to embrace the profound contributions that are brought into the world by Neurological Variation. Think of Greta Thunberg, the 16 year old Swedish Environmentalist who is on the Autistic Spectrum!
Clients appreciate when I relate to them outside the pathological model that is prevalent in Psychology. Rather than “fix” and try to fit into a normative model, we focus on making the best of the presentation within various environments; school, career, family, relationships; we find solutions. We explore how The Programming impacts the presenting neurology, and how to make the most of one’s wiring, with the idea that fluidity and plasticity are available to us. Clients often come to me stressed, anxious and exhausted because of getting the message that something is not right with them. In approaching various neurological presentations outside a pathological model, clients get to create a new narrative of themselves, and they excel.
Evolution is constantly occurring. Shifts and advancement in technologies are continually manifesting, demonstrating how humans keep on evolving their minds’ capacity to imagine and vision, and surpass what was once considered innovative. Yet, many do not question what those possibilities are in themselves. Here, within the model of Evolutionary Psychotherapy, we do, and create the Evolutionary Advancement of Your Unique Self. Come on over!