Holistic Depth Psychotherapy - Nicole Ann Ditz, MA CMHC

Womand with birds

Fiona Kennedy

"How we feel about our own self, how well or little we know our own self, whether we feel alive inside, largely determine the quality of the time we spend alone, as well as the quality of the relationships we have with other people."

~ Stephanie Dowrick

Areas of Experience

Intimacy: Self & Other:

The majority of my clients start off and spend quite a bit of their journey with me learning how to feel comfortable in their own skin. Oftentimes childhood trauma leaves individuals completely bereft of internal safety, stability and wellbeing. They are rendered strangers in a scary internal landscape experienced as bleak, barren, and dangerous. Instead of feeling cozy pleasure and support in their inner nests, they may experience chronic anxiety, emptiness, despair and even intense self-loathing. People cope with their internal distress through a variety of means ranging from emotional shut down and dissociation, to cluttering their inner emptiness with compulsive distractions & addictions, to trying to create an empty imitation of self-worth by contorting themselves into what others want or expect them to be.

A secure sense of self needs to be built piece by piece first by carefully dismantling dysfunctional adaptations and strategies for coping with hurt, humiliation and fear that no longer serve the person. Secondly, the person is helped to internalize a secure attachment-based relationship in which they are seen, valued, understood, and mirrored accurately. This secure and supportive attachment relationship then slowly builds an inner felt sense of "I am here; I am solid; I am held; I am safe".

Many of my clients experience distress when they are alone as they lack a friendly inward presence that can self-soothe, energize and nourish them. A good number seek fulfillment, security and validation from other people who oftentimes fail to adequately meet these needs or even, in some cases, manipulate or abuse the person's vulnerability. One of the most important aspects of depth work is to help clients develop a benevolent internal adult presence within whom they can rest securely and be cared for competently, consistently and compassionately. Once they have achieved this, they can move on to developing mature and healthy relationships with others in which they experience and express their individuated, empowered selves in connection.

Panther and fox

"A relationship can be thought of as a 'space' or an energetic dynamic that is created between two or more people depending on where those individuals start from in themselves."

~ Richard Moss

A systems modality of psychotherapy that I find absolutely fascinating is group and couple's depth therapy. If you think about how intricate and multilayered an individual's singular psychological make-up is and then you add that person's intrapsychic world and interpersonal style to those of others, you create a very rich and synergistic field, in which each person affects the other(s) in multitudinous and multidirectional ways.

I have worked as a psychotherapist with couples continuously from my earliest graduate intern years until the present. A depth orientation to couple's work is so much more profound than merely teaching communication skills and examining interpersonal behaviors. It requires a substantial understanding of each individual's psychological dynamics as well as a deep appreciation for how these individual traits and processes interface with those of another human being, moment by moment. Each micro interaction between two people simultaneously impacts both parties individually and influences the creation of a "third entity"- the relationship. This relationship is constantly evolving into its own unique Being, one that both encompasses and yet transcends the particularities of each individual.

One of the most significant aspects of couple's therapy is teaching each individual to deeply recognize and take responsibility for his/her own internal dynamics as they unfold in the present moment. Secondly, each person must then learn to express his own subjectivity with the other in a manner that is respectful, clear and effective. Recognizing one's psychological interiority requires the person to understand her sub-selves (i.e. inner children) and witness how each aspect of self is currently perceiving and responding to the other's communications, both verbal and non-verbal. In addition to intimately knowing and expressing one's inner self, each person must also learn to simultaneously understand the other individual's complex and ever changing subjectivity.

A healthy, intimate, and growing relationship requires a balanced attention and honoring of each person's own individual needs and experiences while still nourishing and demonstrating a steady empathic attunement toward the other's feelings and desires. What a wildly meaningful and powerfully transformative meeting of multifaceted souls this relational journey can be!

Nicole Ann Ditz, MA CMHC, Holistic Depth Psychotherapist

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

Serving Rhode Island and Southeastern Connecticut