Welcome

My practice focuses on the sources of shame, anxiety, depression, and trauma, and their impact on one's life and relationships. In therapy, we safely access the origins of these forces and disentangle present life from outdated ways of relating with other people or yourself.

  • Relational therapy is a psychodynamic approach using the real-time relationship between you and me to understand and dismantle dysfunctional patterns.

  • Somatic therapy works through the body to enable the nervous system, which has stored many of our unconscious patterns, to release these patterns and to self-regulate. 

My work is relational and somatic.

Therapy is not about fixing anything. It's about relaxing old patterns of thinking and of relating, which undermine resilience, creativity, and openness to deeper and more trusting relationships. You can find more information on therapy and my practice on this page and elsewhere on this site. 

 

This can be a challenging process. But it's worth it, because you discover what it's like to be at home and secure in yourself and with other people.

Areas of focus

I work with adults and teens 

of all genders, sexual orientations,

racial or ethnic identities,

online or in person,

focusing on:

  • Anxiety and the experiences of shame and inhibition

  • Relationship counseling at all stages and in whichever form your relationship is taking

  • Therapy for PTSD and developmental trauma

  • Mindfulness and the relationship between Buddhist practices and therapy

  • Attachment issues, including effects on personality structure and self-image

  • Therapy for adoptees and adoption-related issues

  • Counseling for life transitions, including grief and loss

  • Therapy for anger issues, particularly among those who are male-identified

  • Mindfulness practices for anxiety and developmental trauma

 
 

A bit on my philosophy 

Starting out on a practical note, it is important to me that therapy is available to everyone. Therefore, I offer therapy sessions both on a set fee and on a sliding scale. Please see the FAQ page for more information. 

 

I have an extensive background in mindfulness and academic training in evidence-based psychodynamic therapies, somatic therapy for PTSD and developmental trauma, anger management, and the relationship between Buddhist practice and psychotherapy. You can read more about my background as an academic, psychotherapist, Buddhist practitioner, attorney, musician, among other things here.

 

Moving on to my philosophical assumptions underlying therapy, I believe there is no part of any person that is unacceptable or needs to be hidden. The task of therapy is to help clients integrate disowned parts that otherwise can do harm to themselves and others. These disowned parts show up in a variety of ways, from shame and anxiety, to the fear of intimacy and anger, among others. Once these parts are integrated, it becomes natural to live more honestly and authentically.

 

Psychotherapy supports a clearer and stronger sense of who you are and what keeps you from being more confident and comfortable with yourself and in intimate relationships. It means gaining real insight into your values and what is limiting your ability to live openly and honestly according to those values.

 

Most of us have a past that includes trauma, grief, addiction, and anxiety. This includes collective and intergenerational experiences of social crisis, systemic violence and marginalization that all of us are part of. Most of us also struggle to understand what it means and feels like to be authentic and engaged in the life that includes all this. I work with clients to uncover meaningfulness, security, and sense of self that is inherent in them but that is tangled up with, and concealed under archaic structures of their psychology that are real but no longer serving them.

In short, therapy primarily supports you in fully accepting who you are. That may sounds simplistic in theory. In practice, however, when you stop being in conflict with yourself as you are, your growth and creativity develop quite naturally on their own. 

The therapies and theories that support the work have been shown clinically to heal trauma and generally make us more at ease, feel more real, resilient, and happier in life regardless of external conditions.

 
 
Image by Tony Pham

"I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence but it comes from within.
It is there all the time."

Anna Freud

*I am an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist (#119165), and am supported and supervised by Laura Rose, LMFT, License # 83808

415.562.7896

1919 Addison Street, Suite 301
Berkeley, CA 94704

©2020 by Brett Wheeler, Mindfulness and Somatic Therapy