Holistic Depth Psychotherapy - Nicole Ann Ditz, MA CMHC

Musings on the Metamorphosis of a Psychotherapist

The Pulsating Pupa Stage:

My promise to try to be of service to brokenhearted fellow beings, made at 16 years of age, became a gateway to my budding psycho-spiritual path, one which began to embrace the true meaning of the word "compassion": the sincere desire to help to alleviate another's suffering. I vowed to one day devote myself to caring for other people. I knew that I would engage in this calling in a much more humane and heartfelt fashion than what I had personally experienced. This promise started to infuse my being with a faint sense of purpose, hope and meaning. I slowly began to re- embody my own life. My outer weight came on readily with the help of appetite stimulating drugs. My accrual of a substantive internal sense of self would prove to be a much more grueling and drawn out process.

Baby bird

N Ditz

"The Buddhist word for compassion (karuna) means a clear intention or wish to help relieve the suffering of another person. Mindfulness is clearly not detached. It is not the removed, distanced, objective awareness of the scientist. It is warm, human awareness, a caring and understanding kind of awareness."

~ Thomas Bien
Wooded trail

Frida Kahlo

"Think....of the world that you carry inside you... only be attentive to what is rising within you, and place that above everything you perceive around you.… What is necessary, after all, is only this: solitude, vast inner solitude. To walk inside yourself and meet no one for hours -that is what you must be able to attain."

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

During my late adolescent and young adulthood years, I began to cultivate what would very gradually and subtly blossom over many years into an close knit connection with a cozy and consistent Inner Beloved Friend: a warm bedrock upon whom I could rely for comfort, stability and intuitive wisdom. This was nourished in part by immersing myself in the introspective world of psychological, philosophical and spiritual solitary contemplation. I devoured literature addressing existential-humanistic concerns as well as psychological and spiritual pathways toward transmuting suffering into insight, healing and higher states of awareness. I also closely studied and wrote about my own tendrils of consciousness and dreams as a means of trying to make sense of my emotional turbulence. Depression and anxiety certainly continued to be shadow companions who came along on this ride; however, they were slowly mellowing and easing into the hammock of my strengthening inner fretwork.

I step by slow-footed step became more and more familiar with my inner cottage garden of creeping and climbing thoughts, feelings and subjective perceptions. I started, in bits and pieces, to sometimes experience my insides shimmering like a warm, rooted, cradling presence: a safer space I could return to again and again to rest, retreat, ponder, dream, fantasize, and reflect. Proximity and time spent together is a known factor in creating and deepening relatedness. I was nurturing intimacy with myself. And I was beginning to grow invisibly, in private and protected interior gardens, a Self. This required leaving my family of origin during late adolescence and cutting off contact for several years in order to protect my insides from further emotional wounding and invasion.

Wooded trail

Terra Rathai

“Contemplate the workings of this world, listen to the words of the wise, and take all that is good as your own. With this as your base, open your own door to truth. Do not overlook the truth that is right before you… Learn from holy books and wise people. Everything-even mountains, rivers, plants and trees -should be your teacher.”

~ Morihei Ueshiba

The challenging psychological pilgrimage born in my childhood, kindled by my introspective nature and toughened in the harsh weather of my emotional pain, would prove to be a serious inspiration for my becoming a more authentic and self-aware human being as well as an empathic psychotherapist. It helped me to develop a keen capacity for witnessing subtle details in both my intrapsychic and external world. It encouraged me to deepen my understanding of the thicket of my mind, its twisting and tangling undergrowth. It provoked me to hybridize and refine my felt and conceptual insights into the human psyche. It tenderized me toward beginning to care about others, their psychological struggles. The arduous experiences of my youth and my chosen ways of relating to my psyche and coping with my own suffering were revealing themselves to be a useful hothouse for my growth as a soulful person.

Although I gravitated heavily toward solitary pursuits, I also began reaching out and exploring in the external world, intermingling with a rich variety of people and gathering the nectar of their knowledge. During my twenties, I immersed myself in the intriguing arboretum of academia, attaining undergraduate and graduate degrees in Psychology, English literature, and Clinical Mental Health Counseling. I became passionately absorbed in a veritable feeding frenzy of learning, studying many interrelated and cross pollinating disciplines encompassing a broad spectrum from the humanities to the sciences. Each field illuminated different aspects of the human condition, propagated my general and specialized knowledge, and richly irrigated my personal self-explorations.

In my free time between classes and internships, I would often run off with a close friend to various holistic institutes, eager to participate in a colorful, mixed border of workshops on psychological, sociopolitical and spiritual subjects ranging from feminist and men’s psychology to Jungian and transpersonal studies as well as classes on a variety of metaphysical topics. We were often the youngest participants: giddy, splashing in the wonder of our elders' knowledge and life experiences. I was infamous for inciting lively debates, challenging facilitators to reach beyond their and my own limited perceptions. This brought me both warm admiration and, on rare occasion, flustered annoyance. I couldn't help it. I had to keep pushing past the "please do not trespass gates" to explore wilder gardens beyond the manicured, heavily trodden zones.

Nicole Ann Ditz, MA CMHC, Holistic Depth Psychotherapist

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