Method

Systemic thought, ecological thought

Systems theory and the Palo Alto group

The psyche is an ecosystem. In the understanding of the Palo Alto approach, our work as therapists is to weed out the obstacles that stand in the way of a healthy life balance.

Human suffering does not originate, nor reside, inside of our psyche, isolated from its environment. Rather, our suffering emerges from the interactions we have with our environment, when these relationships have become blocked for certain reasons. Just like a weed, suffering intrudes into a healthy patch of plants, taking over, and disturbing, that which is naturally healthy and resilient. Health is when nature does its work, in a continuous adaptive balance between the outside and the inside and in all our relations. As in permaculture, we understand how all the elements interact in a healthy balance, and we observe carefully in order to identify when one element becomes too dominating and prevents the other elements from thriving. In that case we intervene, like a farmer on the land, to recreate harmony and allow the natural intelligence of our minds and emotions to evolve together ecologically.

  • Palo Alto school of thought, fundamentally organic

  • Human suffering does not originate, nor reside, inside of our psyche, isolated from its environment

  • Health is when nature does its work, in a continuous adaptive balance between the outside and the inside and in all our relations

  • The therapist is there to help root out that which prevents this natural flow, this adaptability, this flexibility

The Palo Alto approach is fundamentally non-normative: the only notion of health that interests us is the ecological balance that is unique to each individual, in each person's life context, as it evolves and is continually creative. The energy of life simply wants to flow naturally, through the continuous elements of which it is composed. The therapist is there to help root out that which prevents this natural flow, this adaptability, this flexibility.

 Just like a weed, suffering intrudes into a healthy patch of plants, taking over, and disturbing, that which is naturally healthy and resilient.
Just like a weed, suffering intrudes into a healthy patch of plants, taking over, and disturbing, that which is naturally healthy and resilient.

Let's take a walk through the ecosystem of your mind