Shift Your Mood Therapy
In his psychotherapy practice, Rik synthesizes mindfulness and body awareness with insights from the neuroscience of happiness.
His Shift Your Mood Therapy utilizes the following discoveries:
- “Bad moods” result in physical tension.
- You can learn how to release the tension, and feel your mood shift.
- Then you’ll have a better sense of what you want to do next.
Learning how to shift your mood will help you release the emotional tension that keeps you locked in negative moods and unproductive behaviors, then shift to the source of your own love and inner wisdom.
Instead of getting stuck in the vortex of every negative event that’s ever happened, you can actually develop new, more positive neural pathways in your brain.
Despite whatever problems we’ve had in the past, I believe that we all have a core ability to get in touch with what’s really best for us. This gentle and mindful approach to body awareness often leads to:
A resolution that uniquely fits exactly what we need in each moment!
This nurtures the development and renewal of the following qualities in your life and relationships:
- Nurturing, and
Shift Your Mood Therapy
is an approach to personal growth that acknowledges and validates your strengths, not just what’s troubling you.
Some of my influences have included Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (commonly referred to as CBT); Gestalt; Emotional Intelligence and the Positive Psychology movement; extensive training in Hakomi, a form of Somatic Therapy; mindfulness-based approaches to stress and anxiety; and various meditation teachers, retreats, and practices.
I often use a focused approach to practical goals; however, some issues lend themselves to a more open-ended exploration, where you can reflect on your life and clarify what’s really important to you. There may not be an immediate problem to solve, but you’d like to get a clearer sense of how you’re feeling and what you want out of life. I’ve divided my approach to Shift Your Mood Therapy into the following sections:
- Practical Goals
- Overcoming Blocks
- Mindfulness and Shifting Your Mood
- Dealing with Ambivalence
- Repetition Compulsion
- Recovery from Self-Defeating Behavior
- Major Life Changes
- Creative Expression as a Tool for Growth
I like to start out with what brings you to therapy: What would you like to see different in your life? This focus on practical goals can help us keep track of our work together.
We’ll come up with some strategies to address your issues, including tasks you can work on during the week. If you’re able to follow through, that’s great!
Of course, change is not always that easy! Your attempts to change may stimulate unresolved thoughts and feelings from the past. Rather than punishing yourself for not following through, we try to discover what’s getting in your way.
Even Shift Your Mood Therapy involves making a connection between the past and the present. If you’re feeling blocked, we question whether some of the assumptions and conclusions you made when you were younger still make sense as an adult.
It’s helpful to think of the block, whatever it is, not as some internal enemy, but as a part of you that kept you safe in some way. It may be that as an adult, the conclusions you reached when you were younger no longer serve you. We can counter these negative beliefs with a more realistic assessment of your true abilities.
Anxiety and depression can also make it difficult to follow through on plans for change. Both of these conditions often respond well to cognitive therapy and many of the techniques of Positive Psychology, but if not, an evaluation by a psychiatrist can help determine whether medication might be a useful adjunct to therapy.
Finding a sense of purpose can also help overcome malaise by motivating a creative engagement with the world.
I like to use a form of focused attention, or mindfulness, to gain access to underlying issues. This awareness can help you make contact with images, sensations, emotions, or even core beliefs that continue to shape your present experience.
Mindfulness also enhances an awareness of our natural unfolding. At the same time, we develop a greater sense of choice about where we’d rather hang out: in our previous conditioning, or in the awareness of the present moment?
By challenging the usual stories we tell ourselves, mindfulness can be a valuable adjunct to cognitive therapy, as well as validating the assumptions of positive psychology.
Bringing awareness to the present moment with a gentle, curious, and nonjudgmental attention often stimulates a natural shift toward resolution, growth, and healing. This is also a basic assumption of Shift Your Mood Therapy: there’s a natural yearning for optimal growth and functioning.
Dealing with Ambivalence
Maybe you’re ambivalent about whether you really want to change! Rather than getting down on yourself, we can recognize the block’s protective function and acknowledge its legitimate concerns (such as: What am I getting myself into by taking on a new career, going back to school, or getting involved in another relationship?). Addressing these concerns may allow you to move forward.
Some people find themselves caught in the same pattern over and over again: like falling in love with someone who’s not emotionally available. We’ll look at where this pattern comes from: with this example, it may be an attempt to master a previous abandonment. Understanding this pattern doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be attracted to unavailable partners, but you’ll increase your ability to make a more conscious choice about whether to pursue them.
Recovery from Self-Defeating Behavior
After achieving a solid basis in recovery, you may want to gain more tools to manage your moods. When you stop using alcohol, drugs, sex, food, or debt to escape from feelings, your emotional life becomes much more accessible. You may feel worse before you feel better, so it helps to get re-acquainted with yourself when you’re no longer “self-medicating” to push feelings away.
There is much to be gained by integrating recovery with the insights from Shift Your Mood Therapy. We look at various strategies to reinforce your recovery, such as building on your strengths, expanding the moment between impulse and behavior, and reaching out for support.
Mindfulness can also assist recovery by helping you:
- Recognize the initial impulse
- Expand the moment between impulse and behavior
- Get in touch with underlying feelings; and
- Make healthier and more conscious choices.
Major Life Changes
With life-changing events, there may not be a particular problem to solve; you’re simply experiencing a significant shift in your life, and you’d like support to figure out what you want to do next.
Major losses, such as a break-up of a relationship, a job loss, a serious accident or illness, or the death of a significant person in your life can lead to a normal period of mourning. Such losses can also stimulate a re-evaluation of your current situation.
Good news can also be stressful–starting a new job or a new relationship, although exciting, often requires a lot of adjustments. A new phase of life, such as moving in together, getting married, midlife, or retirement, can lead to reconsidering your priorities.
Creative Expression as a Tool for Growth
We often think of creativity in terms of fine art, music, or literature. However, creative expression can also help facilitate the exploration of new interests and goals. Instead of judging your artistic talent, you can experiment with a sense of freedom, curiosity, and discovery.
Using guided imagery, spontaneous drawing, movement, and writing, you can unleash your imagination, get in touch with your deepest yearnings, and re-envision your future.
To schedule an appointment
with Rik, click on the Contact Rik, above!