MODALITIES AND PRACTICES
Below are the modalities and practices that serve as the foundation of The Happiness Doctor’s perspective on how people heal, grow, and build a life they love— many of which are experienced in our personal coaching, workshops, courses, and seminars.
Positive Psychology, also known as the science of happiness, emphasizes our ability to focus and build on what’s positive. Rather than asking “What’s wrong?”, Positive Psychology asks “What’s right? What’s going well in your relationship, your job, and your life? And what can we build on?” Positive Psychology puts us in touch with the life experiences that have the ability to delight, inspire, and transform us from the inside out; the life experiences that make us human and that bring us together as humanity... everything from compassion, self-love, forgiveness, gratitude, perception, feeling, and intimate relationships to authenticity, vulnerability, spirituality, creativity, strengths, meaning, and purpose. As a foundational coaching tool, Positive Psychology makes the way for positive solutions to existing challenges, and helps put you in the driver’s seat of how you think, act, and live your life.
INTERNAL FAMILY SYSTEMS
Internal Family Systems (IFS) is a groundbreaking therapeutic model and technique that asserts that we all have many internal “parts”— some that are wounded parts, like hurt or shame, and other parts that try to control and protect us from experiencing the hurt of those wounded parts. Our goal is to develop a more trusting connection with our Self-energy (i.e., our core Self or wise heart) so that our wounded parts can be healed, and our controlling or protective parts learn that they don’t have to be as rigid or frantic as they are, allowing us to create more balance in our system so that we can be increasingly Self-led. IFS is commonly utilized in healing issues from the past, working towards wholeness and personal development, and also as a communication tool for couples or anyone seeking conflict resolution. For more information, please visit IFS Institute
INTERNAL FAMILY SYSTEMS
Mindfulness is a willingness to intentionally direct our awareness to our present-moment experience (i.e., thoughts, emotions, and sensations) as it actually is. Mindfulness asks us to pay attention and rather than judging our experience or reacting with habitual behavior, to bring a friendly curiosity to it instead. Where we may be tempted to try and change or fix what’s there, mindfulness invites us to observe our thoughts and accept our feelings, knowing that it is through this approach (in lieu of chasing and holding on) that change naturally happens. Mindfulness is commonly learned through meditation practice (sitting meditation, body scan, mindful yoga, etc) or any activity done consciously (mindful eating, walking, doing the dishes, etc), and when it comes to furthering happiness and healing, is an important component of many other modalities.
Self-compassion refers to a kind, balanced, understanding approach to our negative emotions, experiences, and setbacks that represents an alternative to self-criticism. Commonly described as the practice of treating yourself the way you would treat a friend who is having a hard time, self-compassion encourages us to soften our heart towards ourselves and genuinely care about ourselves. In so doing, self-compassion supports greater happiness, self-improvement, and change and less anxiety, stress, and shame. Because we can’t respond with compassion to our own struggles until we turn toward them with mindfulness, mindfulness is a natural component of self-compassion. Together, mindfulness and self-compassion enable us to cultivate arguably the most important relationship we have in this life (i.e., the one we have with ourselves) by encouraging a state of loving, connected presence during difficult moments in our lives. For more information, please visit the Center for Mindful Center for Mindful Self-Compassion
Somatic awareness is the practice of focused awareness, or the direct experience of life, through the body (soma means “body” in Greek). Our bodies hold information and have an intelligence that acts as a barometer of our truth. When faced with overwhelming psychological events, however, our bodies tend to repress our embodied experience, tensing up and storing unreleased sensations and emotions. Somatic awareness practice allows us to connect to deeper parts of ourselves and to listen to what the intelligence of the body may be telling us, becoming aware of sensations, emotions, and breath moment by moment. Combining somatic awareness practice with IFS, we can get curious about and learn the stories that our sensations or parts long to share with us, meet them with Self-energy, and thereby create a physical foundation for psychological and spiritual development.
INTUITIVE / EXPRESSIVE ARTS
Spontaneous expression— whether in the form of art, writing, music, dance, drama, storytelling— commonly represents a mirror of our inner world. It invites healing by helping us to witness, be with, express, and release our emotional pain. By connecting with our intuition and trusting what comes, we allow ourselves to utilize a source of inner connection that we all have when we’re not drowning it out with busyness and worry. Engaging the intuitive/expressive arts, you are invited to use your multiple senses to become aware of, and your nonverbal language of creativity, to process and express whatever your heart and soul need to express in order to make possible personal growth and transformation. The process of creation is where doors to happiness and healing are opened; the final result— whether expressed on paper or canvas, on the dance floor, or via spoken word— is merely a bonus.
INTUITIVE / EXPRESSIVE ARTS
Energy Medicine is based on the idea that human beings are composed of energy. Whether referred to as “dosha” in Ayurvedic medicine, “qi” or yin and yang in traditional Chinese medicine, chakras in ancient yogic traditions, and prana in India, this vital (or life) energy can become distorted or unbalanced, leaving energetic imprints from traumatic experiences and limiting beliefs we’ve acquired throughout the course of our lives. Not unlike acupuncture and herbal medicine, a broad range of energetics-based healing modalities focus on restoring the flow of life force energy, and bringing it back into mental, emotional, and spiritual balance, dissolving psychological conditioning (i.e., old, distorted patterns of thinking and behavior) and promoting integration, health, and well-being. Energy medicine typically uses touch or non-touch techniques and is great as a complement to conventional medicine and integrative care.
GENERATIONAL / ANCESTRAL HEALING
Early evidence of epigenetic inheritance of trauma suggests the existence of intergenerational transmission of patterns of thought and behavior, or the idea that a person’s experience may trigger subtle biological changes that alter the cells and behavior of their children and grandchildren. Generational or ancestral healing modalities propose that whether in the form of codependent relationships, unexplained and repeating cycles of sadness, or irrational fears, unworthiness, and other debilitating thought patterns, we are not locked into our family patterns, even if all of the ancestors who came before us experienced them. Through a combination of numerous aforementioned practices (e.g., internal family systems, somatic awareness, energy medicine), there is, it turns out, a way to navigate and dissolve the influence of the old in order to make way for the new.