Most peoples experiences with practices and workshops sit on a spectrum that tends to range somewhere from “meh.” to “woah, amazing!”. However sometimes, some of us can have an experience at the extreme ends of the spectrum. Therefore if you are indeed experiencing any kind of discomfort or psycho-emotional distress, this aftercare document is provided as a resource for all participants and offers some practices/actions you might want to look into if you experience any such kind of overwhelm. The document is also a good primer for people new to taking up practices.
Note: If you are experiencing a trauma reaction during or after a session, please reach out for help from a mental health professional and notify us as soon as you are able. We are currently vetting and building out our support team and will have more resources (therapists, coaches, etc…) listed as we continue our rollout.
Therapy, Coaching and Counseling – Principles and Framework for Personal Support
Many forms of therapy, coaching and counseling (referred to generally as “therapy”) have their origin in ancient wisdom practices like Stoicism. These can be powerful and useful tools for meaningful transformation and growth. However, they also have limitations, and should be undertaken within a broader framework and ecology of practices. Below are some important principles to consider when beginning to undertake a therapeutic practice.
A Truthful Worldview (leveled ontology and normativity): For Awaken to Meaning, the goal of therapy is oriented to the truth and greater pursuit of the Good – not just addressing specific trauma or complexes, or making life more pleasurable, but committing to an ongoing process of improvement in virtue, character, and life.
Seeking Transformation: Successful therapy depends on our capacity to transform our character, consciousness, and cognition, not simply to manage symptoms or order life around us. Mental health is not an isolated medical goal, but is connected to our fluency in other areas of life, including relationships, moral character, and meaning in life.
Exploring Depth: The therapeutic project involves a deep dive into our ways of thinking, believing, perceiving, and behaving. It recognizes that there are often conflicting parts of ourselves acting at cross-purposes. Effective therapy looks closely at these dynamics and their histories, with a view to understanding and gradually addressing them.
A Broader Ecology: Therapy is one practice of many, and cannot bear the full responsibility for our lives. It should always be situated in a broader array of actions – an ecology of practices – that connect us to our body, our thinking, our imagination, to our goals and actions, and to the people around us.
Versatile Modalities: It is important to seek competent expertise when undertaking a certain mode of therapy, and be willing to experiment and expose yourself to different options. It may take time to find the right fit between your needs and a certain tradition or mode of practice. You may need to toggle between modes, or combine techniques to avoid relying excessively on a single one.
Love and Challenge: Effective therapy has careful boundaries, but it is also rooted in genuine care and compassion. It provides a strong and supportive container, but it also poses difficult questions and uncomfortable observations. A strong inquiry is aspirational. It does not just seek explanation, but challenges a person to grow and improve, and become a better version of themselves.
Modes of Practice
There are many different kinds of therapeutic/coaching traditions and techniques, and many of them combine and overlap with one another. Some of these different modalities are listed below (not exhaustive).
Classic psychotherapy and psychoanalysis: Many classical models of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis help clients to integrate traumatic experiences, identify and adjust patterns of thought and behavior, and make meaningful improvements in their mental health and relationships.
Religious or vocational guidance: For those affiliated with a religious tradition, guidance and counseling offered by leaders in those traditions can provide a more meaningful alternative to secular models of therapy.
Philosophical counseling/existential therapy: This form of counseling uses philosophical reasoning, principles, and insights to help clients gain new perspective on social, personal, moral, and professional dilemmas.
Wisdom practice coaching: Specific coaching sessions can provide one-on-one tutoring and skill building for specific wisdom practices and forms of inquiry.
Group therapy/collective inquiries: Uses a social group setting as a container to help an individual raise awareness of their own inner processes or moods, or gain a better understanding of a significant issue in their life.
Self-analysis: Ongoing, regular practices of self-directed inquiry (i.e. through a journalling routine or other imaginal or movement exercises) can be a powerful companion to other practices; to maintain rigor and avoid self-deception, self-analysis should be undertaken in parallel with one-on-one therapeutic work, and/or a communal practice.
Finding a Therapist
Therapy can be expensive. Licensing is usually confined to a certain jurisdiction, which can mean that insurance coverage is not applicable outside that geographic area. It is important to inquire about these details before you begin, and to discuss any financial limitations with your prospective therapist so that these factors can be considered in the overall approach.
It is important to have patience, and some tolerance for trial and error. A good therapist will have training, knowledge and a coherent approach, but they will also be flexible and receptive to you, consider your therapeutic goals, and treat the process as an evolving collaboration.
More information coming soon
|Rick Repetti, PhD, is an APPA-certified Philosophical Counselor, a Professor of Philosophy at CUNY/Kingsborough, a multiple decades meditation and yoga instructor, and a widely recognized scholar on the philosophy of meditation, on autonomous agency (colloquially referred to as “free will”), and on how meditation can increase agency and transform our sense of self. He also has training and certifications in Gestalt psychotherapy, life coaching, and cognitive behavioral therapy.
In addition to his voluminous philosophical scholarship, Rick’s greatest joys involve teaching philosophy (which, for him, includes meditative and contemplative practices, yoga, etc.), bringing practical philosophy “to the people” (with such practices as Philosophical Midwifery, Philosophy Cafés, Socratic Dialogues, “Ask a Philosophical Counselor” events, Philosophical Fellowships, and related forms of “Deep Philosophy”), and making philosophically-informed meditation practices accessible to almost anyone.
Rick may be contacted directly for Philosophical Counseling at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please reference that you are coming from Awaken to Meaning for schedule prioritization, discounted rates, and a free initial consultation.
|Professor Gregg Henriques is Founder of UTOK (Unified Theory of Knowledge) and is deeply involved in John’s work, frequently featured on John’s channel, and his partner in the Cognitive Science Show.
Gregg is not just a talented big picture theorist, but he is also a clinician with decades of practice, both working directly with clients and supervising doctoral students in clinical psychology. He was trained by the father of cognitive therapy, Aaron T. Beck, and is an expert in character adjustment and psychological mindfulness, and he has authored over 450 essays on Psychology Today. He delivers coaching with an initial focus on developing a trusting relationship to generate a shared understanding of the client, their situation, problems and goals. From there he works with clients grounded in his decades of experience and the insights of UTOK, connected to a broad ecology of practices, to help them become oriented toward the alleviation of suffering and the cultivation of wise living.
Gregg may be contacted at email@example.com. Please reference that you are coming from Awakening to Meaning for schedule prioritization, discounted rates, and a free initial consultation.
|Justina Zatzman, MA, MSW, RSW is a practicing psychotherapist (registered with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers), a professor at Centennial College in Toronto (teaching cognitive development and trauma-informed practice to community educators), and a certified yoga instructor. She served on the Board of Directors of The Vervaeke Foundation from 2020 to 2022 and currently serves on the Board of Directors for Touching the Earth Mindfulness Ontario. She expresses her roots in the arts and her commitment to community development through collaborations with community arts organizations, whenever time allows.
At the centre of her approach to therapy is the belief that there is wisdom in our experience, if only we can relate to it with skill and attunement. She invites clients to come alive to that wisdom and allow it to transform how they navigate life.
Her approach to therapy is informed by a number of theoretical orientations. She has completed training in Internal Family Systems Therapy and serves as assistant faculty with the Internal Family Systems Counselling Association (IFSCA). She has also trained with Les Greenberg, the founder of Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT) and has Level 1 and 2 certifications as an EFT therapist. She has trained in Emotion-Focused Mindfulness Therapy (EFMT) with founder, Bill Gayner, and facilitates EFMT groups. She also draws from Person-Centered, Cognitive-Behavioural, Dialectical-Behavioural and Motivational Interviewing approaches to therapy, and tailors treatment to clients’ needs.
She specializes in working with trauma, grief, wounds and challenges around family and relationships, self-criticism, inner conflict, anger, shame, health concerns, life transitions, depression and/or anxiety, as well as the pursuit of deeper inner harmony and the translation of wisdom practices to congruent living.
Justina may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please reference that you are coming from Awakening to Meaning for schedule prioritization, access to sliding scale rates, and a free initial consultation.