MENTAL HEALTH PARTNERSHIP
Investing in Mental Health services for early educational environments is critical for the healthy growth and development of children, families, and teachers. We have an exciting initiative in the works with MN Mental Health Services for how we can integrate mental health services in early education.
MN MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES is a progressive, mindfulness-based practice operating outside of the medical model of mental health treatment. Our core beliefs are that people can think, feel, and solve their problems; you know what you need to do in order to heal; you are not dependent upon experts or psychotropic medications in order to function.
Lindsay Archer, LPCC, LADC incorporates physical movement into her therapy work. Lindsay provides the opportunity to have counseling in nature—rather than sitting in a stuffy office—in order to increase natural endorphins and serotonin within the body.
Movement therapy provides time to process different topics individuals are wanting to work on in therapy, while also moving your body. Incorporating movement during talk therapy allows your entire body to be engaged in what you are talking about. Movement, including running, can expand creativity in your thought process, improve learning ability, and can help you feel more empowered in your activities.
Movement therapy offers a unique twist on traditional talk therapy, but few counselors are providing this service. The truth is, people find it easier to talk about difficult things in their life while they are side-by-side with someone, rather than face-to-face. For others, sitting still for a session can seem daunting, so movement helps them feel calm. Some may feel that they aren’t able to run or they cannot run and talk at the same time. Each session is individualized to clients’ ability, and wants. For example, we may start with walking, or while running take breaks to walk, stretch, or sit and process their experience.
I have worked in mental health for 15 years, and I have experience working with diverse groups of people. I utilize a holistic approach in therapy and seek to understand each individual as a whole person. I use the information I gather with people to create achievable and maintainable goals. While movement therapy may be the modality of sessions often times, we will also be incorporating different tools customized to fit each individual’s goals. We can use meditation as another way to be attentive to physical feelings in the body and to witness emotions while letting go of thoughts or attachments to this. Research shows that seated meditation can reduce stress, improve emotional health, sleep, and enhance self-awareness. The practice of meditation will improve attention span and empathy, which consequentially generates kindness towards self and others. Meditation is a simple practice promoting concentrated attentive awareness as a proven benefit that can be done for as short or long as a person would like.
The theories I use in practice are primarily humanistic approaches. One of the primary ideas of humanistic theory is validating each person’s potential and experiences. I understand that each person is the expert of themselves, and I encourage self-exploration, self-awareness, and mindfulness to enhance each individual’s potential.
Andrew Archer, LICSW founded Minnesota Mental Health Services in 2017. He is a clinical social worker, writer, instructor, and national speaker. Andrew is the host of “The Subversive Therapist” podcast. He developed Zen Psychoanalysis, which is a fusion of psychodynamic theories of mind and Zen Buddhism. Through meditation and psycho-social analysis, the client develops executive control of their different states of mind (using the tools of Transactional Analysis). Andrew has also been a professor in various academic settings including the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
At best, conventional psychotherapy helps you adapt to a shitty situation with less symptoms. At worst, these therapies convince you that the problem is a defecit in your brain and/or can be deduced as a label such as major depression, ADHD, generalized anxiety disorder, etc. I don't really do "therapy". I'm a teacher and a student.
As a teacher, I'll teach you Transactional Analysis and a Zen form of meditation practice. As a student, I meet with you for one hour in our first meeting. We sit down in order for me to hear the story of your life. With you as the lead actor and narrator, your story is actually a fairytale you've come to believe is reality. Once we understand that the story you tell yourself (in Buddhism "delusion") and reality are light years away, we can then begin to learn together as teacher and as student.
What we will figure out is that we play psychological Games with people. Part of you knows that you are intentionally being an asshole in situations, but, lo and behold, despite this self-knowledge you continue to do this same pattern over and over again, anyway. Why do you keep doing that thing that causes people pain and anguish? Oh yeah, that's right, because you are a human being with a psyche that is dynamic or multiple. It is part of our human nature to be competitively selfish and self-destructive. Capitalism loves that part.
We all play Games, which were taught to us by our parents and these Games further the life Script. The Script is a blueprint for how to live your life. It answers three questions: who am I? What am I supposed to do? And, who are these other people?
Zen Psychoanalysis involves a step by step model for understanding psychological (internal) and relational/familial (external) experience. The method of development for Zen Psychoanalysis began in 2016 while studying the theory of mind presented in Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy. The dynamic notion of a mosaic or multiple mind, presented by IFS, resonated with me and with the psychotherapy clients I was working with. It countered the bio-chemical or brain-based models of “mental illness” presented by Western psychology and its default form of selfhood. Reading about IFS was liberating, because the conceptual model and language used for what it meant to be human, also included a rather scathing critique of American society.
The founder of Transactional Analysis, Eric Berne (1951), outlined a personality structure as well as transactional methods of combating passivity and optimizing an individual’s ability to regulate their own states of mind. The central features of Transactional Analysis are how one spends their time, how we enter into symbiotic relationships that result in passivity, and how we can develop social control. The three ego states of Transactional Analysis are Parent, Adult and Child. These three states are distinct, separate and autonomous. The three separate ego states make up the structure of the personality, which means there are essentially three different personalities in your head. To put it simply,each of us has a copied version of our parents' voices (Parent)in our heads as well as the one that feels like our own (Child), which was internally programmed.
Colloquially speaking, we have adapted the messages, influences, and behaviors of our culture within society (Parent) that is a judgmental, moralizing force. The patterned thoughts, feelings and behaviors of those who reared us are borrowed as the Parent. These influences and parameters of thinking and behaving are frequently in conflict with the thoughts, feelings and behavioral patterns encompassed by our childhood experiences (Child). The schizophrenia that all of us relate to is this: part of me wants (Child) to do X, while part of me thinks I “should” or part of me thinks I “shouldn’t” (Parent) do X. Adult ego state is the objective, authority of the psyche that is based on novel data. Adult is responsible and attractive while resolving internal and external conflicts. Access to Adult ego state is accessed via mindfulness practices such as meditation to "reality test".
Mindfulness is one guidepost along the Buddhist eightfold path, which is an ethical framework for the middle Way. The middle Way actualizes non-separation, interdependence, or co-dependent arising (impermanence and insubstantiality). The middle Way merges the chasm of hyper-individualism or egoism on one end and collectivism or sociocentrism on the other. Mindfulness is a tool for increasing your awareness, of awareness itself, in order to detach from ego. With mindfulness-based meditation one can identify, study and let go of the objects that manifest in the mind. A form of de-reflection. The constant acceptance of internal and external conditioning and the return to the present moment can lead to tranquility and concentration or a state Buddhism refers to as “emptiness.” The Buddhist notion of "emptiness" is analogous to the awareness of Adult ego state. Mindfulness-based meditation emphasizes a momentary non-judgmental detachment or acceptance of thoughts, emotions and bodily sensations, rather than operating in a default, autopilot setting (e.g., the judgmental Parent).