Coastside Psych

I offer individual counseling, relationship
counseling and group psychotherapy.

Below is a brief description of each one.
There are many good reasons that people seek psychotherapy.
Perhaps they are in the midst of a difficult transition in their
lives?  Perhaps they are having some issues in one or more of
their important relationships?  They might be struggling with
some sort of substance or behavior that feels increasingly out
of control.  Maybe they want to understand themselves better.
Probably the most common reason that people come to
psychotherapy is that they just aren't feeling right. They are
depressed or anxious too much of the time.

When I work with anyone, I assume that they are coping the
best that they can, given the coping skills that they have
learned so far.  That is, if they could be living differently, and
still get their needs met, they would be.
Psychotherapy is about discovering who one truly is. To look
at one's self takes courage, a real desire to know the truth, and
a willingness to accept whatever is found. Learning what one's
real needs are, taking responsibility for getting those needs
met, and making intentional choices, is a big piece of the
healing process.    

I love to work with couples.  It is wonderful to help people who
have strayed far apart, feel safe with each other again.  In my
experience, it is usually fear that keep couples fighting or in a
power struggle.  In intimate relationships, it is very easy to get
triggered into old childhood patterns of relating, and to
experience your partner, the way that you might have
experienced a parent or another significant person from your
childhood.  Once this happens, your partner is no longer safe.  
If someone isn't feeling heard, taken seriously, or loved, it is
likely that they will respond to their partner from a defensive
I work with couples to help them heal their underlying wounds,
not just the surface conflicts.  Very often, couples will have the
same fight over and over for years.  This happens because
they get locked in roles (distancer, pursuer, addict, caretaker,
victim, perpetrator, etc….) and they don't know how to get out
of this pattern.  They can't change the dynamic until they
address the underlying issues.  Once that is done, change
happens naturally.

Working with others in a small group allows the participants to
explore issues that would not come up in an individual
context.  Groups offer more mirrors, more challenges, and
more opportunities for growth.  Our first group was the family
or environment that we had as a child.  It is likely that some of
the messages that we received about ourselves and other
people were distorted, based on the issues and fears of the
adults who were around us. Groups can be a wonderful way to
get more accurate reflection of who we are.  Also it is in
groups that we can realize that we are truly like others, that the
parts of ourselves that we fear the most, are really just like
other people.  Groups can be a helpful tool to break out of our
old family roles and limited social personas, to find out who
we really are underneath the mask that we wear in the world
Copyright Philippa Barr  2014  All Rights Reserved