Background

What makes you a holistic therapist?

 

Working holistically means addressing the whole person by bringing mindfulness (noticing moment-to-moment experience), somatic (body-based) awareness, wellness and nutrition, and spirituality into the therapy when needed.

 

An interest in health led me to obtain a Graduate Certificate in Nutrition from Cornell and become a personal trainer. I also have experience with somatic therapy. This allows me to pay attention to the physiological and mental health.

 

Do you do your own personal growth work?

 

Yes. I've been doing personal growth work for a decade, developing my self so that I can fully appreciate and enjoy life without my issues and discomfort getting in the way.  

 

I see a therapist and I'm not confident in therapists who haven't done a great deal of personal therapy or are currently in therapy. 

 

I spend my free time in nature which has been essential to my growth. I practice mindfulness meditation, play several instruments, sing, and write. 

 

How does your personal work influence you as a therapist?

 

My development and academic training allow me to engage with people in a challenging yet compassionate way which accelerates their self-understanding and contentment. 

 

I'm excited about growth work, personally and professionally. When people work with me, they understand that and are encouraged to do what is necessary for their holistic healing. Facilitating growth and healing is my life's work.

 

What's Transpersonal and Existential-Humanistic therapy?

 

Therapists address beliefs, behaviors, emotions, etc. (personality) that might generate a life concern or issue with which the client arrives to therapy.  Transpersonal therapists are trained to look at the personality as well as beyond (trans) the personality (personal). 

 

This can involve spirituality, but for me it's more in the line of looking at existential givens in life, e.g. how to negotiate meaning, loneliness, freedom, and death.  These are parts of being human, parts of existence.  

Humanism is essentially putting the focus on relationships, which can mean presently exploring the relationship between therapist and client.  There is also an emphasis on empathy and respect from therapist to client, but good therapists incorporate these factors into their work. 

My therapeutic style is to be warm, direct, and open with my perspective.

 

I value authenticity in my personal relationships and believe that therapy benefits from a similar openness.  This allows for safety and mutual trust.

 

I focus on increasing your awareness of your motivations, thoughts, and feelings to reveal insight and more fulfilling, effective life choices.

Therapy Specialties

about me

Therapeutic approach

  • Psychodynamic

  • Gestalt

  • Internal Family Systems

  • Positive

Because personality types can explain and predict reactionary behavior/thoughts/emotions and beliefs/scripts, or why you do what you do, psychoanalytic personality theory and the Enneagram inform my approach.

  • Humanistic-Existential

  • Mindfulness

  • Buddhist & Taoist

  • Somatic

These psychological orientations influence my work:

  • Authentic communication
  • Creating fulfilling relationships
  • Confidence
  • Life purpose & adjusting to change
 
  • Self-esteem & shame
  • Attachment & relational issues
  • Stress, anxiety, & depression
 
  • Mindfulness & meditation
  • Health, fitness, & nutrition
  • Wilderness therapy

Education & certifications

  • Ph.D. Clinical Psychology, Saybrook University

  

  • M.A. in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology, John F. Kennedy University 

  

  • B.S. in Psychology, Sociology, Spanish, University of Kentucky

    

  • Graduate Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition, Cornell University

  

  • Personal Fitness Trainer, AFAA

  

  • Wilderness First Aid, NOLS

© 2012 - present by Justin McGahan, MA, PhD 

LMFT 98948

at Grateful Heart Holistic Counseling Center

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(510) 922-0304

 

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