The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.

Carl Rogers

Self-Actualization Therapy

A comprehensive model for healing and well-being
 

In my view, the shared goal of psychodynamic, depth therapy as well as existential-humanistic therapy, is self-actualization. Self-actualization encompasses the entire range of inner development, from the most basic healing and sanity of the psyche, to the goals of true self-knowledge, genuine relationships and fulfilling one's talents and calling in the world. 
 

1. Healing. The first urge of self-actualization is to deal with the unresolved suffering and habits that keep us alienated from ourselves. As we find the courage to face our pain, we find helpers and allies. We gain faith that we can heal.

 

Through therapy and other forms of healing, we make contact with more positive states of mind. These bring a stronger sense of love, calm and joy to our experience. We start to sense that these positive feelings are closer to our true self or nature. In time, we outgrow the old, alienated sense of existence for a more conscious and meaningful experience of life. 


2. The Authentic Self. As we heal, we start to hear the voice of our inner calling and inspirations -- the voice of who we could be and how we could live. By following the voice, we discover who we really are. Therapy can help us discern our main interests and talents, and forge a practical path to express these. As we get in touch with the authentic self, we can more easily create positive relationships and let go of relationships based on defensive patterns, codependence and drama. We can commit to honoring our highest good along with that of others. 

Perhaps you are in your twenties and struggling with heavy feelings or frustrating habits. Feeling confused about your relationships. Living and working without a clear purpose and direction for the future. I understand. My twenties were easily my most difficult decade.

In my twenties I spent a lot of time sifting through books, looking for answers. Therapy wasn't as common back then. I eventually found my way, and my thirties were better. But I wish that at age 30 I had the clarity and self-confidence I have now. Becoming a psychologist helped me get there. And now it allows me to share the gift of self-knowledge and empowerment with my clients. 


Perhaps you've heard "Relax, you have time. Your 30s are the new 20s!" So you continue with the same patterns and stick with things that aren't ideal for you. You put up with suffering and you put off getting help. 

I'm going to be straightforward: You do have some time -- and rushing doesn't work -- but you don't have all the time in the world. The inner and outer consequences of not knowing who you are, what you want to do (and with whom), and how to create a healthy, positive lifestyle only become more severe as you get older. 

 

The time to invest in real self-knowledge, relationship skills and a purpose-driven life is now.   

Many of my clients are men and women in their 20s or 30s. They've tried to figure things out on their own but that takes too long. So they come in each week for a relaxed, deep, and often quite funny talk about their inner and outer lives. And yes, their lives change radically for the better. 

 

Therapy works. Research over the last 100 years of psychotherapy indicates that if you feel comfortable with your psychotherapist, then therapy will most likely be very helpful and healing. Also, research shows that if you receive classical, psychodynamic therapy that fosters self-knowledge and empathic connection (the ability to be present and connected), then the benefits of therapy continue even years after therapy concludes. 

 

This is the gold standard of therapy. Classical, relational depth therapy addresses your whole being -- your values, family history, attachment style, key relationships and character structure. The container for this process is the most important factor. It's the empathic, professional connection between therapist and client.

 

Whether you come in for a few sessions or for ongoing therapy, it can be powerful. 

I remember how much I was helped by a therapist in Washington, DC I saw only twice. I still recall a few key phrases he said that helped me leave a bad relationship. And I certainly remember my two years of Jungian, psychodynamic therapy as the most transformative period of my life. 
 

Are you 35 or older? Great. Carl Jung said that life doesn't begin until age 40.

 

When I'm not working with young adults, I often treat mature adults who are working on wisdom, integration and life transitions. The tasks of midlife and maturity are entirely different from early adulthood. How you navigated your earlier years determines a lot, but there are also entirely new challenges and possibilities. No matter what age you are, I can help you become the empowered observer and courageous hero of your life. 

Getting Started

The first step is to call 650.851.1952 for a free phone consult and to schedule. During our first meeting I will ask some basic questions to start things off, and give you plenty of time to describe your concerns. I take the time to understand the whole picture. 

The greatest gift you can give to yourself and others is to live a self-actualized life.

Dr. Michael Damian