+ Psychotherapy Approach
My name is Shalyn (pronounced Sha - Leeen) and I have been exploring the psychological, spiritual, and philosophical questions of the human experience since I can remember. My own traumas made me increasingly sensitive to the suffering of other humans, animals and the planet and I became laser-focused on exploring the causes of suffering and different pathways to experience healing that I could share with others one day.
Over the past 9+ years, I have been studying and exploring from teachers within the tradition of Buddhism / Buddhist Psychology, Western Psychology, and Social Justice / Anti-Oppression frameworks. These teachers continue to guide my work and I am extremely grateful for their teachings (see below for how I integrate these traditions into my therapy approach). Other important teachers who have supported me along my journey of healing and integration have been human relationships and my relationship to the plants, trees, mountains, ocean, lakes and animals who have been my greatest sources of guidance and inspiration. I seek to honor the healing I have received from these teachers through passing on their wisdom and questions to those who are on their own paths of healing.
My own experiences of being a long-term client in psychotherapy with Western-trained Psychotherapists and spiritual teachers from all walks of life are also part of my journey and the lessons I have been honored to receive along the way.
CULTURAL BACKGROUND AND POSITIONALITY
I am a second-generation Sri Lankan - Sinhalese woman (pronouns: she/her) and eldest daughter of immigrants. My paternal side is Roman Catholic and my matrilineal side is Theravada Buddhist. Growing up between these two religious paths enabled me to respect, appreciate and embrace diverse spiritual and religious frameworks. I have since grown to explore (and continue to explore) the teachings of Mahayana Buddhism, Taoism, and the Himalayan Yogic tradition.
I have been engaged in a journey of learning to honor my ancestral roots and traditions while also exploring what it means to be a therapist who is a colonial-settler living and working on stolen land. I am continuously learning and un-learning colonial ways of being in the world in order to live in reciprocal relationships while decolonizing myself and my practice as much as possible.
I consider my approach to psychotherapy to be psychospiritual and decolonial; blending the perspectives of Western psychology with Eastern spiritual wisdom. From the Western Psychology perspective, my approach is influenced by Liberation Psychology, Somatic therapy, Trauma-Informed theory, Internal Family Systems, CBT, Narrative therapy, Psychoanalysis / Jungian Analysis. I also integrate spiritual understandings from Buddhism, Taoism, and Yoga.
My work involves supporting people by drawing on the following frameworks:
Liberation Psychology: As a mental health practitioner who is committed to social change, I use a Liberation Psychology framework to address the ways social dynamics embedded in power and oppression impact people's mental health and their relationships to their bodies, emotions, communities, spirit, and the Earth. I seek to address the multiple different social, cultural, and historical factors that impact people's mental health and the way these factors intersect with people's different social identities. I also use this framework to deconstruct unequal power imbalances within the therapeutic relationship.
Trauma-Informed (Judith Herman's Stages of Trauma Recovery Model & others): I support you with learning about how trauma can impact one's psychophysiology, thought patterns and beliefs about the self and relationships, and mental health issues. Through gaining greater awareness of how trauma may be impacting you, I intend to create space for self-compassion, self-acceptance and deeper awareness. From here, we can cultivate tools and resources to support you along your journey of trauma healing.
Mind-Body Connection (Somatics, Yoga philosophy, Polyvagal theory): Through learning to listen to the body's messages, we can work together to support you with leaning into understanding the meaning of these messages and how you can use them to shape your life choices. These approaches are used to support people with developing feelings of safety and connection to their bodies in ways that change the way they relate to themselves and other relationships.
Mindful Awareness (Buddhist framework of ''mindfulness'', CBT): Raising awareness of one's unconscious patterns of beliefs and feelings and how they influence how one engages in life choices and relationships. I believe awareness creates space and opportunity for change to take place.
Inner Listening (Internal Family Systems-informed): Learning to listen to the different parts or ''inner voices'' of the personality that shape how one perceives oneself and others. Through listening to these different parts, we can gain a greater understanding of our inner conflicts and develop tools for supporting different parts of us with working in harmony towards our intentions.
Self-Compassion (Compassion-focused therapy, Buddhist framework of compassion): By developing compassion for ourselves and others, we can support ourselves in our journeys of change and healing more effectively. Compassion creates space to challenge thoughts and feelings of shame by bringing in feelings of warmth and understanding towards the multiple different parts of ourselves (past and present selves).
Spiritual Connection (Jungian Analysis, Existential therapy, Multicultural therapy, Spiritual therapy): I support you with deepening a connection to your cultural, spiritual and ancestral lineages and/or with navigating the spiritual questions you currently are asking. Some of these spiritual-based questions may sound like: ''Who am I? What is the meaning of my life? How can I navigate my fears of death? How do I want to live my life?'' etc. I will support you with finding the answers that are already within you.