Kris MARTIN, PHD
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Columbia University, 2003
Psychotherapy from a Psychologist’s Point of View
Psychotherapy, as I conceive of and practice it, is an active, interpersonally collaborative, evolving, growth-filled process through which one’s curiosity is stoked, self-awareness becomes keener and more astute, capacities are maximized and potentials fulfilled. I believe deeply in the healing power of honest, fearless, and compassionate self-reflection. It is foremost through doing the work of knowing and honoring one’s truth, I believe, that psychological, emotional, mental and spiritual suffering is relieved, that essential wisdom is gleaned, and that an on-going discovery of meaning in one’s life will naturally occur. As a psychologist, I am at once a humble, attuned, and engaged guide, a fellow traveler, and a rapt and eager observer of the discovery, growth, transformation, and healing that psychotherapy clients achieve.
A while back I heard an artist speak of the importance of “remembering forgotten histories.” This struck me as an apt metaphor for the essential element of many psychological treatments, truly knowing how we got here. And yes, we must also imagine unseen futures. But, of course, we must ideally do this remembering and imagining now, in this present moment in the service of cultivating our unique and personal resources, strengths and assets to cope with and effectively meet the strains and struggles that we face. All this in order to live life each day as fully, richly, meaningfully, and joyfully as we can.
Psychotherapy can be a long and winding process, is inevitably challenging, and is in ways rather mysterious (to me, at least), yet what it yields is quite often amazing and important. I am more grateful than I can express to the thousands of people I have met, treated, worked with, and gotten to know in my capacity as a psychologist for what they teach me about creativity, hope, love, forgiveness, courage, determination, resiliency, and the vast human capacity to bear great hardship. The ageless wisdom of the child and the dignified, courageous grace of the dying, it has been my honor to share such poignant experiences with many of my clients.
And so they teach me, and we each learn about life itself through the work that we do together. I am and each day intend to be a better person for the benefits bestowed upon me by my clients, and which I derive from the process of psychotherapy itself. Should we meet, I thank you in advance for what you will teach me.