Kris Wheeler Headshot

Approach to Treatment

The goal of psychotherapy is to help you learn about yourself so you can bring quality reflection to the choices you face. As your therapist I want to create a safe and respectful environment for you to share your concerns as openly as possible. My goal is to help you grow the space inside you for self-respect and compassion. Learning and change are not abstract possibilities, but rather immediate experience. I orient my attention to the here and now as we work in the room together.

The majority of my psychotherapy training has been psychoanalytic. Because my first career was in dance, specializing in the creative process of making dances, my interest in psychoanalysis and psychodynamic psychotherapy is based on the creative potential of our minds and spirit.

Let me explain more.

A general overview of treatment approaches would divide the field between work with the conscious mind and work with the unconscious. Working with the conscious mind - broadly speaking, a cognitive/behavioral approach - is practical work. It helps you become aware of thought patterns and choice moments which can support your consideration of alternative ways to think and behave. Work with the unconscious takes into account the fact that there are limitations to our awareness and that the complexity of being human is both interesting and awesome. This approach helps you develop a meaningful and respectful relationship to the forces at play within your internal world.

Learning to listen more deeply to yourself helps you develop a creative relationship with your internal life. Since we live both consciously and unconsciously, I am informed by both orientations. I have seen many people fall into despair when they can't muster the will to make changes they wish to make, and no-one has helped them work with the unconscious conflicts, fantasies and/or beliefs impacting their life. I believe that it is important to develop a creative relationship with the unconscious territories of our lives.

Some people imagine that a psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapy means the therapist is passive and silent. That is not how I work. I am active and responsive to what my clients bring to sessions.