Imagine a tree. What do you see in your mind’s eye? Branches, a trunk, limbs, maybe leaves and fruits. Or you might see a snow-covered pine tree, or a crown afire with the reds and oranges of fall. What you might not see is the roots, or the health of the tree, or its history.
The theory behind Total Context Therapy is that real understanding comes more easily when you take into consideration not just what you see on the surface—the branches, the trunk, the leaves—but the foundation of your unique situation—the roots, the history of the tree, its health.
What I believe as a psychologist is that insight and change come from understanding our roots. Total Context Therapy is a psychodynamically informed dialogue where we untangle the roots of who you are and how you want to be. In the process, you will practice a new way of thinking through your difficulties, and attain assertiveness skills, along with progressive movement.
Total Context is not a years-long process of multiple visits per week. Neither is it uncomfortable, painful rehashing of old mistakes or bad relationships. It’s dynamic because it is about you making different connections between your past and present, and taking steps based on what comes of that. In addition to providing insight, this therapy is skills-based.
“Developmental Therapy” is another aspect of Total Context. It is often true that even the most intelligent, active, and thoughtful people are held back by some intangible issues. Total Context helps end the rumination.
Developmental Therapy is also effective for people with trouble getting started in life. Career choice, independence from parents, activating a dating life, and gaining a mature self-concept are all deeply considered.
In 2009, Dr. Carla created Done With Drinking, a unique program designed around the individual. Unlike AA, Moderation Management or Smart Recovery, (abstinence and moderation-based programs in which Dr. Carla finds great merit), DWD is also a psychodynamically informed model. Its basis is a self-paced program of introspective writings and exercises.
Dr. Carla Payne
Founder, Clinical Psychologist
Evaluations & Counseling Services San Diego