Some Of My Professional Interests
RELATIONSHIPS - How we come together with others. Couple communication patterns. Learning to value and respect differences. Sexual issues. Intimate relationship at its best can be a way to heal old wounds and move towards greater wholeness. I do relationship counseling with both couples and individuals who are seeking to better understand the place of intimate connection in their lives.
TRANSITIONS AND LIFE CYCLE CHANGES in individuals, couples, families, and groups. Life presents us with an ongoing series of transitions and course changes. Midlife is not the only time of life that confronts us with change!
DEPRESSION - The "Dark Night of the Soul," in which there seems to be no hope, can paradoxically represent both the loss of one's self and the path to re-finding it. See the wonderful article, "Depression and Soul Loss," by Jungian analyst and writer, John Ryan Haule. A wealth of information and links to helpful sites can be found at: Depression & Bipolar Support Alliance - be sure to check out the “Find support” page. There are a number of online depression support groups and resources listed at PsychCentral. While I don't strictly adhere to the medical model of psychological disorders which too often tries to reduce problems in living to diagnostic labels, it can be helpful to know that there is a description of what can seem like suffering that is uniquely yours. "A Blueprint When Feeling Blue: How A Mental Health Diagnosis Can Be Empowering" offers a helpful prospective on mental health treatment along with tips for finding help.
ANXIETY - Some degree of anxiety is essential to survival in a world where there are genuine dangers But constant worry about things that are unlikely to happen can be extremely debilitating. Anxiety disorders often coexist with depression: Anxiety and Depression--First Cousins, At Least. The Calm Clinic has a lot of useful information about anxiety, panic, and depression. Get Peace of Mind has helpful tips on finding inner peace.
ADULTS ABUSED OR NEGLECTED AS CHILDREN - especially how this impacts current intimate relationships. Many of the people I see in my practice have suffered greatly from wounds inflicted long ago that continue to affect their daily lives in a multitude of ways but often the connection is anything but obvious. Psychotherapy provides the opportunity to safely uncover and change one's relation to past trauma.
GENDER ISSUES in individuals and relationships, sexual orientation and identity; how we think about masculine and feminine. While I am not gay, I have successfully worked with many gay and lesbian individuals and couples. Having too many times seen the kind of damage that occurs when people whose sexual orientation is not that of the majority are denied rights that I am privileged to be able to take for granted, I fully support equal marriage rights.
MEN'S ISSUES - being male in a world where traditional gender roles are seemingly in continual flux can be a real challenge. See my articles, "Wildman to King: Another Look at Male Myth and Initiation," a different interpretation of the Grimms' tale on which Robert Bly based his bestselling book, Iron John, and "Impotent Rage and the Myth of Attis."
RELIGIOUS/SPIRITUAL ISSUES - I have an extensive background in the study of both Eastern and Western spiritual traditions, and have an deep appreciation for the important role religious belief and practice can play in one’s life. While it may not an explicit aspect of the work I do with those who consult me, I am always mindful of the inherent human need for connection with something greater than the personal self. For those who might want to do some exploring, I have created a Religious Studies and Spirituality Links page. Nielsen's Psychology of Religion Pages has lots of interesting material as also does the Virtual Religion Index. I have also written an essay on the relevance of the religious concepts of faith and doubt to the practice of psychotherapy.
FORMER MEMBERS OF FUNDAMENTALIST AND CULTIC GROUPS - As a former Seventh-day Adventist (see my autobiographical account: Leaving the Garden: On Being An Ex-Adventist with links to other material on Adventism), I have developed a special interest in working with former members of restrictive religious groups such as cults, fundamentalist churches, and other forms of authoritarian religion. I have helped many people gain a better understanding of their involvement with authoritarian groups ranging from Christian Fundamentalism to New Age groups, communes and secular organizations. Restrictive Religious Groups is a short essay about such groups. I also have a page with a number of links to Resources for Former Members of Restrictive Religious Groups. Psychological Issues of Former Members of Restrictive Religious Groups was originally written with Christian fundamentalism in mind, but should be helpful for anyone who has been involved with authoritarian religion.
MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS work in very demanding environments where they face very difficult situations that can take an emotional toll resulting in anxiety, sleep disturbance, substance abuse, depression, and suicidal ideation. Having several medical professionals in my family as well as having worked professionally with clients in the medical field I am very familar with the issues that can arise in the course of their work. Mental Health & Wellness as a Medical Professional offers resources for stressed physicans, nurses, paramedics, and other medical professionals.
MENTAL ILLNESS - While not a major aspect of my private practice, I have a great deal of experience working in treatment programs for those afflicted by severe and persistent mental illness. The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) has up to date information and resources reflecting a mainstream, primarily medical model perspective. Originally formed by parents and siblings of people suffering from major mental illness, NAMI is a very active and effective lobbying group for issues involving mental illness. Many years of working closely with people who have been labeled "mentally ill" has convinced me that we are very far from an adequate understanding of just what mental illness is and, despite many claims to the contrary, no one really has "the answer" as to how to best treat it. There are a great many often conflicting ideas, some seemingly far removed from what Western science regards as reality, about the nature of serious psychological disturbance. The Beyond Madness Webring lists sites with both mainstream and alternative perspectives on mental health issues.
JUNGIAN PSYCHOLOGY - Carl Jung's pioneering work has been very important in shaping the kind of work I do. See my articles listed above under MEN’S ISSUES for a Jungian approach to male psychology. There is lots of information on Jungian psychology available on the web. The C. G. Jung Page is an excellent place to begin.
CONTEMPORARY PSYCHOANALYTIC THEORY - While I am not formally trained as a psychoanalyst, I find recent developments in psychoanalytic thought fascinating and very helpful in graining a deeper understanding of what happens in the psyche. Psychoanalysis has come a long way since its founder, Sigmund Freud, began modern psychotherapy with the 1900 publication of his groundbreaking book, The Interpretation of Dreams. The past few decades have seen major revisions and revolutions in psychoanalytic theory, moving away from Freud's emphasis on instinctual drives and their frustration to a new understanding of the role of empathy and human relationship as key factors in shaping and healing the psyche. There are many diverse but also interestingly convergent threads in contemporary psychoanalytic thought, much of it prefigured in Jung's work which ironically, and frustratingly, continues to be mostly ignored by the psychoanalytic mainstream. Recently the hard science of brain research and contemporary psychoanalytic theory along with the age old wisdom of Buddhist mindfullness practice have been brought together in the work of people like Daniel Siegel and Allan Schore, in the new field of neuropsychoanalysis. This in combination with fascinating developments in attachment theory based on the work of John Bowlby as continued by a number of researchers has given new life to psychoanalysis.
Original Material ©2009 James C. Moyers
May be reproduced with source cited
N. California Spring Hills Photo © Jim Moyers