Holistic Depth Psychotherapy - Nicole Ann Ditz, MA CMHC


"She grunts to a halt
She must learn again to speak
Starting with I
Starting with We
Starting as the infant does
With her own true hunger
And pleasure
And rage."

~ Marge Piercy

Areas of Experience

Self-Actualization & Self Empowerment:

In addition to treating trauma and its myriad symptoms, I also have a great deal of experience in cultivating its related polarity self-actualization: the innate human drive for growth, awareness, fulfillment and wholeness. The latter is a construct embraced by existential-humanistic psychotherapists who deeply believe in the existence of an intrinsic human potential that can motivate each person to develop himself to his fullest capacity. This inborn life force energy may become extremely inhibited when the individual’s basic needs and self-esteem have been compromised by being buried under years of traumatic debris. The initial task is to liberate the person from the rubble of shame, fear and other remnants of torn heartedness and then nourish her natural tendency toward self- actualization. Thus, instead of limiting the healing process to a repair of broken parts and an amelioration of problems in living, I believe that the remediation of obvious symptoms is only the first leg of the journey.

A crucial aspect of my work with clients is helping them to establish a more positive, sturdy and embodied experience of self-worth and acceptance. This process of self-actualization includes the development of a realistic self-regard and dignity, the strengthening of an abiding sense of internal security and freedom, as well as the cultivation of a capacity to maturely express one's truths with others. The person begins to experience more of an internal locus of control such that appraisals of situations and decision making are grounded more in one's inner self (one's perceptions, needs and standards) rather than being based solely on external dictates. The goal is to establish an enhanced sense of connected autonomy, empowerment, awareness, and self-trust.

The concept of empowerment is an exceedingly complex one with multiple dimensions. These include the development of attributes such as self-knowledge, self-confidence, self-sufficiency, self-efficacy and self-trust. It implies competency in maintaining healthy self-care, a capacity for knowing and fulfilling one's needs, and an ability to cultivate stable emotional self-regulation and equanimity. Self-empowerment also involves the capacity to successfully negotiate adult tasks, responsibilities, relationships and social systems.


N Ditz

"O friend, understand.
The body is like the ocean,
rich with hidden treasures.
Open your innermost chamber
And light its lamp.
Within the body are gardens,
Rare flowers, peacocks;
the inner Music; Within the body a
Lake of bliss,
On it, the white soul-swans take their joy."

~ Mirabai

Self-empowerment means one is self-reflective and understands who one is as a person. A self-empowered person develops competency in strengthening and healing areas of weakness and trauma in one's self system while learning to value oneself as a person; An empowered individual is one who understands how to effectively and authentically communicate within intimate, social and work relationships. Empowerment includes the capacity for self-determination: One becomes an authority on knowing what one wants and needs and then cultivates the many skills psychologically, physically, mentally and interpersonally necessary for fulfilling one's needs, ambitions and desires. One feels entitled to formulate one's own opinions and to assert them in a manner conducive to being heard, respected, and understood.

Becoming self-empowered means accepting responsibility for one's own development and choices. Although the journey of self-actualization can inspire moments of feeling intense joy and expansive exhilaration, this process also involves a great deal of struggle, uncertainty and anxiety as old self-structures and defenses are slowly dismantled. The pathway toward wholeness is fraught with existential fears: "Who am I without my habitual ways of being?"; "Will others accept me when I am no longer taking care of their needs?"; "How can I discover new meanings for my life when the old purposes no longer sustain me?”; “Will I be strong enough to face terrifying periods of existential aloneness if I part ways with some of my current unhealthy relationships?"

Self-actualization requires a great deal of risk taking, letting go of habitual and restrictive (though often comfortable) belief systems, stepping into the unknown, bringing one's attention back over and over again to observing compassionately one's inner experience, and dedicating oneself day by day to the often strenuous process of change. This is a journey that demands immense courage and enduring determination. One must be willing to traverse many pitch dark passages of fear and discouragement when the past can seem like a cairn of haggard bones, repeatedly resurrecting as spooky and relentless obstacles that seem to prevent one’s forward movement.

Freedom from old painful patterns, contentment, happiness, and peace can sometimes feel like a mirage, beyond reach, unobtainable, or at least light years away. However, with steady work, former dysfunctional beliefs can be gradually replaced with new deeply rooted self-respect and determination to pursue a life that is self-affirming and self-nourishing. Slowly, a light seeps into the broken spaces. A hollowed out, fragile sense of self is reshaped into one radiant with internal strength, security and solid self-knowing. Clients often describe this as an inner felt sense that they are and will be "fine" regardless of arising external challenging circumstances. They feel safe and competent to fulfill their own needs whatever it takes.

Nicole Ann Ditz, MA CMHC, Holistic Depth Psychotherapist

Voice Mail: (401) 573-6396  Email: info@holisticdepththerapy.com

Serving Rhode Island and Southeastern Connecticut