Grieving Gendered Selves: The Cycle of Death and Rebirth in the Gender Journey

Finding out who I am as a person is an unfolding journey that has taken me through the uncharted waters of gender, identity, sex, power, and privilege (Bornstein, 2013). During this process, I have felt trapped, stuck, confused, angry, overwhelmed, powerless, ashamed, despairing, and joyful. Similarly, my trans* clients have experienced waves of confusion, disorientation, anger, grief, sadness, loss, and …

Mindfulness Practices for Working with Fear and Trauma

Mindfulness practices can help us work with fear and trauma to cultivate safety, stability, and a sense of inner relationship. Because fear and trauma both involve turning away from present-moment experience, they present specific obstacles to life and mindfulness. Based on my own experience as a therapist, a meditator, and a survivor of trauma, I’ve put together some thoughts and …

Counselors and the LGBT fringe: My own perspective

I am a genderqueer and nonbinary therapist. I’m also bisexual/pansexual. I am writing this article to articulate my understanding of what’s hard about these identities, and what helps. Being genderqueer is hard because I almost never get read right. Outside of queer circles, most people will call me ‘man’ or ‘sir,’ which I find pretty irritating. Even when I present …

Self-Care, Resourcing, and Pleasant Events

©2017 Sasha Strong, M.A., www.brilliancycounseling.com Healing is hard work. Establishing safety, building healing relationships, going through unpleasant feelings and memories, and changing painful patterns all take a lot of energy. People need to create balance in their lives, so that there are plenty of chances to relax, resource, and have positive experiences. Rather than making recovery a 24/7 marathon project, …

Contemplative Psychotherapy

Contemplative psychotherapy is a counseling discipline that integrates Buddhist psychology and philosophy, Western developmental and humanistic psychology, and the contemplative insights of the world wisdom traditions. It includes mindfulness as a practice for both clients and therapists, but goes beyond mindfulness-based appraoches to incorporate the spiritual and existential insights of Buddhism and other wisdom traditions, including secular approaches to perceiving …

Brilliant Sanity

The basic premise or root teaching of contemplative psychotherapy is brilliant sanity: at the most fundamental level, we are basically awake and unconfused. Developing trust in this innate wisdom is the path of recovery and building a life worth living. Brilliant sanity is not something that needs to be created or obtained, but rather is an already-present reality in our …