Jim Lehrman – Training, Mentoring, and Coaching in Practical Emotional Intelligence, Mindfulness, and Advanced Skills of Attention
Through offering guidance, training and support in becoming a better manager of moment-to-moment experience, I help people live more purposely, passionately, and effectively.
I work with people who are motivated towards developing deeper understanding and higher effectiveness for themselves; people less interested in the symptom-reductive focus of traditional psychotherapy and more interested in the character-building approach of learning to be bigger than their symptoms or bigger than their automatic responses to circumstances. This present-centered approach empowers my clients with tools to develop a more conscious relationship with themselves and a better understanding of the elements and mechanisms of how they put their experience together. The result is a life lived more graciously, fully, intimately, and responsively, moment by moment, and lived in more conscious alignment with one’s values.
While I have practiced psychotherapy professionally since 1974, I officially stopped offering psychotherapy in 2005. If you want psychotherapy please know that you need to look elsewhere since I am not licensed in any state and I do not have the proper credentials to get licensed.
Aside from concerns of credentialing and licensing, described more below, it’s important for you to know that I take an educational approach rather than a clinical one. I do not ascribe to the medical model when helping people address goals of actualization, even if the obstacles to their goals fit into a context of personal, interpersonal, or intrapersonal dysfunction or pathology. I utilize those obstacles as “grist for the mill”, using real life as the laboratory for discovery, development and integration. I do work with people who take medications but I do not supervise those medications. While I will let a client know if I think he or she would be better served by working with a clinically-based practitioner, I require clients to take responsibility for their own symptoms, needs, and choices.
While I have been trained as a psychotherapist, and worked as one for over 35 years, my focus is in offering training in the mechanics of experience. I help people develop skills toward living a life of power, passion, purpose, and fulfillment. I offer practical training in mindfulness and advanced skills of attention, the mechanics of managing your experience, and skills in communication, relationship, and other aspects of emotional intelligence.
Again, it is very important that you know I take an educational rather than psychological approach to helping my clients. My interest is in helping you develop through self-discovery rather than self-improvement. This may sound odd at first read but I consider self-discovery to be a deeper and more effective and sustainable path to improvement.
Academically, I do not have the degrees required for licensure in the field of psychology. I have had registration status rather than licensure in the past but my current state of residence (California) only allows people with a Masters in Family Counseling to practice as a licensed professional.
My credentials include extensive training both clinically and in research, teaching and lecturing in colleges and to professionals, private and institutional therapy practice, and providing clinical supervision to therapists and psychiatrists. Concurrent with this work, I have applied the same present-centered principles in management. I have been the director of Interface Foundation in Boston and Omega Institute in New York, and the resident director of Eikos Therapeutic Community in Boston. I have also done mediation internationally and consulted to numerous institutions and businesses on both coasts and abroad.
By entering into a professional relationship with you, I promise to provide you with the wisdom, perceptivity, perspective and tools that I have gained through extensive training, years of practice, and rich diversity of personal and professional experience. I will provide safe and responsive assistance to you in your growth process and I assure you safety, privacy, and confidentiality.
Read further if you would like a brief overview of the major influences of the work I do. My approach is not so much to work with these modalities as to work with you, utilizing the resources of these influences that I have integrated and that I apply in the context of a supportive and nurturing relationship. My approach offers challenge and, thus, appeals to people serious about acting on their desire for growth.
Clients tend to fit a certain profile: even though they may want help with limiting or destructive patterns of behavior or depression, anxiety, panic, grief, etc, they are mostly therapists themselves. Second to that population are professionals in the health or helping professions, students in those fields, or professionals in business – executives and entrepreneurs. The third population is composed of people who have spent much time in self-reflection and self-inquiry, either through effective therapy or through their own personal or spiritual work. In general, people who come to me are self reliant and value-oriented individuals who, while having problems or concerns they want to deal with, want to work on themselves and their problems in a way that helps them get BEYOND their psychology, opting for self discovery over self improvement as a means of getting bigger than anything that occurs in their experience.
Morita Therapy is an 85 year old purpose-centered, results-oriented therapy from Japan, based on principles of Zen Buddhism. It was created by Shoma Morita, a contemporary of Freud’s, and brought to America by David Reynolds, who has written eighteen books on the subject. Instead of working to reduce symptoms, Morita works to help people take action responsively in life regardless of symptoms or natural fears. Acceptance of what is allows for active responding to what needs doing. Dogmatic patterns of collapse are replaced with the flexibility to call upon courage and empowerment. Decisions become grounded in purpose rather than influenced by the fluid flow of feelings.
Whereas Morita is oriented to doing, Hakomi is oriented to being. Hakomi Therapy, created by Ron Kurtz, a spearhead of the present-centered psychotherapy movement, directs your attention to your in-the-moment experience of feelings and thoughts as a means to examine and reassess core beliefs. Core beliefs make up the underlying structure around which your experience, perceptions, judgments, attitudes, self-esteem, and actions unconsciously organize, in turn influencing and maintaining the flow of experience itself. We do this work in order to transform the way we organize all experience.
Mindfulness, a major tool in Hakomi, is attention to present experience. It is “simply noticing” what is so in your experience, without the addition of judging, analyzing or even understanding. It is different than “thinking about”. In using mindfulness, we create opportunities that allow the unconscious a clear chance to express and be seen, heard, and felt. We work with the interaction of belief and experience, of conscious and unconscious, of mind and body. We work to establish and enhance communication between parts of the whole. Acknowledging, accepting, allowing, being, responding. Through the work of Hakomi, strong emotions are sometimes felt and early memories come back with intensity and clarity. In mindfulness these experiences can be examined and used to free us from the painful unconscious compulsion to repeat them again and again.
Quantum Psychology, ingeniously created by Stephen Wolinsky, the psychospiritual author of over a dozen books synthesizing advaita yoga and western psychology, is a practical approach to becoming mindful of the relationship between your automatic responses and what triggers them, as well as the mechanism, itself, of those automatic responses. It offers a means to enable you to stay in your adult experience of what is in your present moment, and maintain rather than lose access to inner resources which your automatic responses cut you off from. You are able to notice the mechanism of your automatic response “trance” and exercise control over it. You are then able to respond more effectively, free of the emotional charge of past experiences.
In advanced work, Quantum Psychology delves experientially into the realm of emptiness, exploring and responding to the diverse ways we defend ourselves against it, paving the way to the spaciousness that comes from freely allowing emptiness to be experienced, and ego to be embraced from without.
On this level, my work is not about problem-solving whatsoever, but is used as a vehicle to practice locating yourself in the “never-changing background” from where the problems that flow through your “ever-changing foreground” can be seen from an expanded perspective. From here life takes on greater meaning and offers deeper joy.
Blending these approaches, along with pieces of other psychologies and modalities which have influenced me, the work I do pulls as well from my own theories, perspectives, purpose, and wealth of experiences. As your mentor, I want to help you have more of life, so my work is designed to help you build the attitudinal, cognitive, and practical resources to enable you to learn and grow from, as well as be effective in meeting what life sends your way.
My confidence in the effectiveness and breadth of application of what I do is based on seeing consistently positive and frequently exceptional results in my work over the last 35 years. The blending of Morita, Hakomi, Quantum and other influences, along with my own theoretical models is incredibly exciting work. Please consider developing a more conscious relationship with yourself by working with me for a guided exploration of at least a six weeks.
Working On The Phone
Since 1999, I have been working with my clients on the phone. Alternately, if you live close enough to do face-to-face sessions and choose to work with me that way, please know I have the confidence and credibility of having worked privately with people since 1972. But regardless of where you live, I invite you to consider exploring what we can do on the phone. Working on the phone with me is not for everyone, but clients do tell me that there are ways not being able to see me actually aids in deepening the focus and work. I also get tremendous feedback from clients that, surprising as this is, working with me on the phone is more experiential than work they’ve done in the past and that it’s also easier to integrate. I know from my own experience of working with clients this way that it is highly intimate, effective, and rewarding.
Copyright © Jim Lehrman, 2010, 2002, 1989. All rights reserved. No part of this informed consent form may be used or copied without the express permission of the author.