Can My Marriage Be Saved? (part 2)

After this willingness and awareness are present, the Denver marriage counseling process cultivates true communication. It is very easy for us, as human beings, to mindlessly get out of step with each other. This is the primary reason why the old bromide that "relationships are hard work" tends to be true. Unless we strive to communicate our ongoing, internal lives - unless we actively learn to make room for each others ongoing changes - things will naturally tend to derail and get out of balance. Regaining honest and compassionate communication takes a combination of trust, openness, and courage that many modern couples sometimes lose in the "day-to-day-ness" of their lives. As a marriage therapist in Denver, Dr. Wilson has seen many couples that have simply gotten into an unhealthy routine together. Their relationship goes on a kind of "automatic pilot," and without a conscious direction, eventually a crash of some kind takes place. Sometimes it feels m

Can My Teen Be Helped?

AMI provides adolescent psychotherapy to teens between the ages of 12 and 19. Dr. Wilson has a strong, long-time background in treating adolescent depression and anger, bipolar disorder, anxiety, OCD, and impulse disorders, borderline personality disorder, substance and alcohol abuse, and the effects of divorce, death, and/or emotional, sexual, and physical abuse. Dr. Parker Wilson has been an adolescent psychotherapist for many years. Dr. Wilson approaches the psychotherapy process with teens by using only the most effective and scientifically verified methodologies and techniques. For teens suffering from anxiety, OCD, and impulse disorders, Dr. Wilson utilizes exposure therapy and cognitive therapy. For teens suffering from depression and bipolar disorder, Dr. Wilson utilizes mindfulness based cognitive therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy. For adolescents suffering from borderline personality disorder, Dr. Wilson utilizes dialectical behavior therapy and mindfulness based cog

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (part 1)

What is happiness? Most of us mistakenly believe that the presence of transitory pleasure, and the absence of immediate pain, is genuine happiness. For instance, when we get a raise at work, and there is no obvious suffering present in our minds, we feel "happy." According to counseling psychologist Dr. Parker Wilson, this type of happiness is transitory and fleeting (e.g., two days later your happiness about the increase in your salary has somehow worn off a bit). What if true happiness and psychological flourishing are much more than simple fluctuations in our levels of transitory pleasure and pain? What if true happiness is not actually dependent on the external circumstances of our lives? Authentic happiness, or psychological flourishing, comes from learning to effectively work with your own mind. Modern mindfulness meditation techniques are the primary vehicle of learning to work with thought and emotion. Mindfulness based meditation is not necessarily a spiritual pract

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (part 2)

The second phase of AMI"s mindfulness based cognitive psychotherapy is the development of mental clarity and healthy behavior. Aristotle once said, "Men acquire a particular quality by constantly acting in a particular way… you become just by performing just actions, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave actions." This second stage is a deliberate and liberating process of examining the client"s major behavioral patterns and then asking, "Will this behavior pattern produce happiness, neutrality, or sorrow in my life?" Since all human behavior begins as thought and/or emotion, if a behavior is unhealthy it undoubtedly has unhealthy thoughts and emotions underneath it. For all the behavioral patterns that produce sorrow, the thoughts and emotions underlying those behaviors is sought out and analyzed. AMI"s psychology in Denver uses mindfulness meditation and a deep consideration of personal ethics to help the client culti

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (part 3)

To stop fighting a battle you can not win is intelligent. There is no escape from some suffering in this life. You will experience aging, sickness, and death. You will watch some people you love die. You will have your heart broken a few times. Someone or something will betray and violate you. Why walk around deeply believing that "this won"t happen to me" only to feel blind-sided, victimized, and enraged when it does? Better to conserve your resources, create awareness of reality as it is, and cultivate the positive mental qualities that will actually produce happiness and flourishing in your day to day life. At this point, psychology Denver has become established. In stage three, the client now has everything required to safely, skillfully, and effectively unpack all the twisted conflicts, unhealthy childhood lessons, abuses, traumas, addictions, losses, resentments, depressions, "closed-heartedness," and compulsions that have caused so much mental anguish a

The Point of Psychotherapy (part 1)

In the last century, Doctor Sigmund Freud was once asked what the point of psychoanalysis was. In essence, why should someone spend the time and the money necessary to engage in this process? Dr. Freud replied that the point of analysis was to make the patient psychologically tolerant of what was previously psychologically intolerable. This was a very wise answer on the part of Dr. Freud. I have found, over and over again, that my clients are plagued by those thoughts, emotions, judgments, opinions, perceptions, memories and beliefs that they find to be intolerable. It is this internal inability to abide with and explore their own minds that creates so much suffering. When we become "hooked" by an uncomfortable thought or emotion (i.e., helplessness, hopelessness, depression, loss, fear, etc), we usually seek an exit. We rationalize our discomfort, deny it, blame others for it, aggressively project it onto others or simply numb it out with food, drugs, gambling, sex, or alco

The Point of Psychotherapy (part 2)

This question is instructive: what has changed here - the car or the man? The car is still the same basic machine it was the day the man drove it off the lot. Aside from a flat tire and a bit of wear and tear, the car hasn"t changed much. The man"s perceptions and feelings about the car, however, have shifted radically. The problem is that the man viewed the car as a source of happiness and prestige, almost as if "happiness and prestige" inherently existed IN the car itself (like happiness was actually mixed into its metal and rubber). But the car is just a piece of machinery and has no inherent quality of "happiness" or "prestige" within it. Yet somehow (very subtly but very profoundly) the man believed (long before he bought it) that the car possessed these qualities; thus if he could own the car, then these qualities would become his qualities. Of course this unrealistic expectation could not be upheld for very long and, when reality came cra

What Is Suffering? Why Psychotherapy? (part 1)

In the fifth century before the common era, the Historical Buddha taught the world about the commonalities of human suffering. In essence, all human beings suffer in the same and in very predicable ways; such that no matter who you are, where you were born, when you were born, what God you worship or what culture you were raised in – if you are a human being, you will suffer in these ways: 1. Birth 2. Aging 3. Sickness 4. Death 5. Unfortunate Circumstances Beyond Your Control 6. Separation from People, Places, and Things You Desire 7. Impermanence It is useful to walk through these sufferings to make them more readily apparent to you. We begin, of course, with birth. All humans are born. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 250,000 people will be born this very day. All of us begin in the uterus, enveloped in warmth and darkness, with all of our needs being automatically met. We are then forced, through violent muscle contractions, into a world that is illuminated

What Is Suffering? Why Psychotherapy? (part 2)

Death is a classic and frequent topic of art and philosophy. Why? Because it is the most easily recognized universal human suffering. All humans die. Everyone who is born will die and this includes you. But, unless you commit suicide, the time and manner of your death are completely unknown to you. The impermanence of life, that fact that death can come at any time and in any way, is the frequent source of existential crisis in humans. Some people die in the womb, some die when they are children, some die as teenagers and young adults, some die when they are middle aged, and some die when they are elderly. According to the World Health Organization, over 200,000 people will die this very day all across the planet. Some will be the victims of crime, some will die in car and industrial accidents, some will die in war and some will die of natural causes (illness, old age, etc). We are all met with unfortunate circumstances beyond our control. For instance, have you ever lost a job that y

Working With Clinical Depression (part 1)

Most often people have an adversarial relationship with their depression. Once we see any hint of depression in our minds, we often become reactive and judgmental about why we are depressed. Sometimes our reactions to our depression (judging ourselves and self-medicating) often become more problematic than the depression itself. First, it should be clear from the start, not all depression is "pathological." In fact, there are perfectly appropriate times when human beings are supposed to feel depressed. Significant psychological trauma, the loss of loved ones, and the diagnosis of a terminal illness are among the legitimate reasons that human beings become depressed. In essence, depression is a natural part of our trauma and grief processing. Having said that, there are many people with a biological predisposition to clinical depression. For these people, depression is a reoccurring obstacle in their lives, making it tough to thrive and grow. This kind of clinical depression

Working With Clinical Depression (part 2)

Questions to Answer: What is your depression narrative? Do some writing about the story of your depression. How do you judge yourself for being depressed? Do you blame yourself, or do you project blame onto others, or both? How we internally react to our depression is also crucial. As a depression patient myself, I notice that I typically get reactive to my depressed moods. At the slightest hint of a depressed mood, I will typically tighten up and armor up. I think that depression means I am weak, that I cannot handle my life and my responsibilities – so I hate it. But my reactivity and hate (instead of helping) only fuels my depression, making it deeper and tougher to work with. Because this is true, working with depression is typically counter-intuitive. In essence, fighting depression doesn"t work. Depression will not be intimated or scared away. Getting mad at yourself and the world because you are depressed only deepens and strengthens the depression. This has the net effec

Can My Marriage Be Saved? (part 1)

Modern couples face a radically different world than their parents faced. Confronted with economic, family, social, and geo-political stressors that did not exist fifty years ago, modern couples must create meaning from an multi-layered, interdependent, complex, confusing, and always shifting reality. At times one partner may react to these stressors with depression and anger. The other partner may react to these stressors with anxiety and compulsivity. This being the case, it is very difficult for modern couples to keep their psychological balance while simultaneously continuing to evolve, both as individuals and as a team. As a marriage counselor in Denver, Dr. Wilson has noticed that couples tend to enter the process in one of three basic ways. First, some couples enter Denver couples counseling because they realize that their relationship is not as healthy as it could be. In essence, these couples are proactive in the face of their ongoing struggles and tensions. They want to cont