J. Patrick Mooney, Ph.D.
Salem Psychological Services
325 13th St. NE, Ste 502
Salem, OR 97301                (503) 581-2351

 Therapeutic Approach 

I have worked as a therapist in a variety of settings over 35 years.  I have been licensed as a psychologist over 25 years.  During this time span, I have learned or have been exposed to many approaches to doing therapy.  As a licensed professional, I’ve logged over 3000 supervised hours.  I borrow heavily from all of the life experiences I have had, as well as from formal exposure to the following therapeutic orientations:  humanistic-existential, cognitive-behavioral, interpersonal neurobiology, mindfulness, family systems, neuro-psychophysiological, neurolinguistic, and psychoanalytic approaches.
However, whatever frame of reference I bring “to the table”, I am most interested in understanding how you view your own life.  I try to respect all clients as individuals, who have had a set of unique challenges, barriers, and opportunities.  Each person I see brings his or her own learning and skill set to the art of managing and maneuvering through the maze of life.  All have had their personal teachers (i.e., parents, friends, religious leaders, spouses) and important influences, who have taught them the “ropes”.  Your experiences are valuable and are a part of your story.  I respect this and try to understand these influences the best that I am able.  

This interest in your personal story is especially important to my work doing both Narrative and Interpersonal Neurobiology Therapy¸ which have had a major influence upon the way I communicate and engage in therapy.  If you are seeing me for therapy, you or your family member has likely become “stuck” in some pattern of thought, feeling, or behavior.  Unfortunately, this problem pattern may now be internalized and seem to represent some essential “truth” about your identity, character, or nature.  Often the influential others, who had “recruited” you into this way of perceiving yourself, have faded from immediate memory so you may now just think, “I am the problem”.

Part of our work together will likely involve identifying the characteristics of the stuck problem pattern and learning the history of how this pattern took hold in your life.  We will try to identify the historical figures and events influencing this pattern of mind.  The goal will be to “deconstruct” the notion of “I am the problem” by bringing to light the external influences upon this way of thinking.  The goal of this approach is not to blame others for “your problem”, but to help you become unstuck. 

In becoming unstuck, you will also be free to identify your intentions, aspirations, and values regarding how you would prefer to live.  You may begin to remember other people throughout your life who gave support to this preferred way of living.  You may begin to recall distant experiences, which represented past efforts to engage life in this preferred way, but which did not get embedded into how you thought about yourself. 

Often the “problem saturated” way we perceive ourselves seems to be “hard wired”, so we stop believing in ourselves and our ability to manage the course of our lives.  This entrenched perception leaves out the influence of important others and events, which illuminate an alternative to the old problem story line about our identity.  Our therapy goal will be to identify your preferred way of living and to illuminate and enlarge the influence of others (i.e., internalized but unrecognized "protectors") who value this preference and support your alternative story of personal resilience, capability, and value.
Finally, although this discussion of therapy suggests how problem stories of your life may become “hard wired”, there are often underlying, parallel patterns of having a “stuck” nervous system.  Along with narrative and interpersonal neurobiology therapy, neurofeedback training can often loosen the influence of stuck electrical patterns expressed by the Central Nervous System.  By becoming free of the “constraints” of your Central Nervous System, you are often more free to choose the preferred ways of living I have described.





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