David Yonkin, LCSW-R

Mental Wellness

Empathic — Intuitive — Creative.  Although I often refer to the therapy process as work, I also see it as play — sometimes the two merge and become indistinguishable.

My approach is creatively psychodynamic, meaning that as the many energies arise and reveal themselves in the work — such as sadness, anger, anxiety, and joy — we get to know one another, you and I.  From our careful and gentle intercommunication, we begin to relate. From this experience a real relationship arises, one that is  trusting and pro-active: it's alive and dynamic, for it changes as we learn and grow. This change is highly co-creative.

Although I have access to several formal models of treatment to draw upon, I often end up intuitively finding and selecting various aspects as informed by my direct experience of you. So "eclectic" might also describe the overall psychotherapeutic process of my work.

The idea is not to continue to fixate on fixing problems, but to work toward gaining a different way of looking at the difficulties, the blocks, the stuckness. Evolving to a new viewpoint, to a posture that raises the mind and its thinking above the habitual lower level mentality of existence, will reveal a new perspective that changes not only what we see, but what we feel. In fact, feelings are the most important part of the therapy experience: recognizing, accepting, discerning and utilizing them. They are our internal GPS system that are constantly bringing us important information about the state of our alignment with our inner self ... either we're feeling good, or less-than-good. We all want and ought to feel good. We can start by finding ways to feel better and move up the scale of positive thought, perception and action. As we expand, our inner world becomes larger, our sense of humor returns, and there is a return to alignment.

Because many come into therapy with chronic or increasing anxiety, and the depression that extends from it, I may utilize certain aspects of neuroscientific models involving the transformation of emotional memories. These models are fluid as the science continues to evolve. This helps restructure old, entrenched feelings in such a way that one can learn to make aware, conscious responses to present stressful situations, rather than unconscious reactions that only fan the flames of fear and worry. One of the more powerful foundation-building aspects of helping to neutralize worry is an easy level of meditation called "mindfulness" — I will help you learn how to use this simple tool and integrate it into everyday living.

The transformational process of psychotherapy is also what I call psychospiritual — regardless of one's personal spiritual/religious beliefs, or perhaps, in spite of them, the work may gradually reveal on some level — subtle or dramatic — that there is something beyond our mental/physical experience, an energy of great depth, beauty, and power. This something is also calmness, peacefulness, serenity.

Your work in the safe and confidential therapy space becomes very much like an ongoing experiment, which you then take out with you into the "real world" and practice and expand upon. This makes us like scientists, who seek, explore, find, discard, start over, and celebrate their discoveries. Then together we go over our findings, seeking adjustments and validate, refine, and strengthen the process. We discover that we can actually change our own body's chemistry simply by the way we use our thinking and feelings. Therefore one of the main goals is to discover one's "inner scientist" and develop a passionate curiosity about what's happened, what is happening, and what might happen.

Sessions are usually once-weekly for 45 minutes. Each client helps design the course of our work, including  goals, expectations, and periodic reviews. Before contracting to do this work, I like to meet with potential clients for an initial consultation, which includes a mental health intake and assessment for appropriateness and readiness. 

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