Our lives are often just the opposite of integration. Conflicts between our past and our present, as well as those resulting from gender and sexual orientation, race, and religion, among others, create dissonances that can be experienced as anxiety, depression, dissociation, and even despair. We may feel inadequate to deal with what is happening now, even though we believe that we should be able to. We spend time ruminating about our problems, which only create more worry, unhappiness, and rumination. Essentially we
- attach to emotions, ideas and things we like, and push away those we don't like. This attachment ties us to moments that have passed.
- react to what is happening in the present based on past reactions, thereby closing us to new possibilities, repeating mistakes, and staying trapped. This denies freedom of action.
- live our lives based on expectations on what we think should happen, rather than on the realities of our experience. Rather than having flexibility in our life choices, we become rigid, disappointed, and possibly frustrated, angry, or depressed.
Our response to the present is based on:
- Traumatic memories and responses that have nothing to do with present events.
- Trying to create intimacy in the present based on problematic childhood relationships with our families and peers.
Integral means whole, complete. Becoming integral and experiencing wholeness in one's life requires:
- Opening to whatever life presents without judgment, whether one wants it or not.
- Relating in the present moment to the past as something that was already experienced and finished. The past provides us with knowledge of how to respond to the present, but is not a rulebook for the present.
- Understanding the mind, body and spirit as being unified, but in a dynamic experience.
At Integral Psychotherapy, we use a mixture of therapies to help you develop the skills to "be here now" -- to be able to work with depression, anxiety, addictions, and other problems in ways that promote an integrated self, living in the moment, accepting the present while using one's understanding to create changes that promote healing.