Chelsea Wakefield, PhD, LCSW - I am a psychotherapist, couples therapist, author, educator, and international workshop and retreat leader. Over the years, I have worked with individuals, couples, families, and organizations, and trained hundreds of clinical and spiritual guidance practitioners all over the US, and as far as Tao Fong Shan in Hong Kong. Currently I am employed by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, AR at the Psychiatric Research Institute, where I have a clinical practice providing couples therapy (link), teach post-graduate clinicians, and offer community workshops on relationships and the journey of individuation in connection. I continue to travel to conferences and organizations around the county to offer workshops and teach.
As clients evolve new understandings about how their histories have shaped who they are, they begin to explore who they might become and create new narratives about their lives. In doing this, clients experience a shift in their sense of identity, which allows them to interact with life more effectively and to respond from a different foundation. Am I directive or non-directive…. well, I tend to begin with an exploratory approach, listening deeply, often beyond the words as clients engage in self-discoveries and connect the dots of their experience. As insights occur, I will often more into a more structured mode where the client/couple and I co-create a roadmap that will integrate insights into real change. One of the comments I have heard over the years is, “My last therapist mostly listened to me, you have actually helped me to change.”
Over the years, I have played the role of therapist and guide to thousands of people thru my individual work, teaching, books, workshops and retreats. I believe that people are fundamentally creative, resourceful and whole, but adverse childhood experiences and adult challenges can inhibit a person’s capacity for experiencing the joy and fulfillment that come from a life deeply lived. Many people live scripts that were written by others and the malaise that results from this can lead to anxiety, depression, addictive behaviors, and into a doctor’s office where an increasing number of people are prescribed medications which only partially assuage the feelings of emptiness. While medications have been a miracle for many with serious mental illnesses, medication will never solve the anxiety and depression that is brought on by a lack of meaning.
None of us got through our early years without some limiting messages and experiences that interfere with living into our greatest potential. What is important is to clear the brambles in the path so that we can live more fully, love more deeply, develop undeveloped potentials, and establish a personal sense of meaning and purpose.
I support clients in developing new frames of thinking and relating, emotional intelligence, interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance, and other essential life skills. For clients interested in deeper discernment, I employ Jungian perspectives and include dream work as a means of accessing guidance and deep truths and directing a life from a center of personal truth that can hold.
Deep change requires a redefinition of self at the core level and is generally accompanied by some level of anxiety. Deep change is more than mere positive thinking or cognitive reframing- you know you have changed when you don’t have to think about it to make it happen. People in the process of change also experience “push back” from people in their lives who are accustomed to them behaving and responding in predictable old ways. Therapy provides support for this process of deep change.
The time we invest in healing wounds of the past, rewriting limiting life scripts, and becoming more consciously aware helps us to make more responsible, respectful choices in life. It determines the quality of our relationships. Our level of consciousness and presence benefits everyone around us, life partners, friends, co-workers, community and ultimately our world.
During graduate school I encountered the work of Carl Jung and felt an immediately affinity with his intersection of psychology and spirituality. I became deeply interested in the world of dreams, archetypes and the concept of individuation and entered Jungian analysis, which helped me integrate warring parts of my personality. I have continued my studies in Jungian psychology since that time. While I have studied extensively and employ other psychological approaches, my philosophical foundation is essentially Jungian because I believe in Jung’s concept of individuation. Individuation is the idea that each of us has a purpose for being here, an innate story to live, and that the psyche is in a constant state of evolution, continually seeking wholeness. I have also found that thinking archetypally has been helpful in my own life and in the lives of my clients. I also believe that doing one’s shadow work is a profound spiritual practice and is essential to a well-lived life. Life involves an ongoing process of discovery and growth, and our task is to align our outer lives with our deepest essence, the inner potential of who we were born to be.