About Me

My professional evolution…
(about me as a professional)

My coming into the field of psychotherapy and coming into my life has been an evolution. That’s to say that I had no idea that I even dreamt of practicing therapy. In fact, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life at all.

I was a Personal Trainer, motivating people to change their physical body, and get in shape. While I liked Personal Training, some part of me knew that there was more than creating a motivation for changing the “Physical body.” I didn’t really have the word “intuition” in my vocabulary back then, but it was my intuition that told me there still was more and, it gave me direction.

My intuition led me to massage therapy where intuitively (and at first, by accident), employed Hypnosis and breath-work while I was giving massages. I found that this combination these three evoked a lot of emotional responses from my clients–they didn’t just get a massage, they got an experience. This is when I got very interested in the Mind/Body/Spirit connection, and began studying psychoneuroimmunology (Mind/Body connection–how the psyche, the brain, and our immune systems work together). Now, I’m calling it the Mind/Body/Heart/Spirit connection, as sometimes we actually NEED to get out of our minds, and into our hearts, and sometimes out of our minds and into our bodies.

I studied and became certified in Hypnosis and found that I was a natural at it–I now moved from working with the physical body into the “Mental body.” It was during this time that I discovered, or “re-discovered,” psychology (I had taken some basic psychology course work at the University of Arizona way back when, and experienced the field of psychology to be too “statistical”). Then I found out the original meaning of Psychology.

Psychology means “study of the soul”
(“psyche” = soul and “ology” = study of)
[from Latin, from Greek psukhē breath, soul; related to Greek psukhein to breathe]

So, while I was using hypnotherapy and hypno-massage, I began my studies of psychology at the University of Santa Monica. USM helped me experience psychology from it’s original/literal meaning. Psychology wasn’t any longer about “statistics of behaviors” but about people and the person, the soul, and consciousness. At USM I realized that there’s a whole lot more to people than just our behaviors. I learned that people are whole and complete, and that I was, too (When I first heard that, I thought that was “crazy talk!”). But the truth is, my studies there truly formed the basis from which I work in therapy and in life…that we’re much more than we think we are. I got so much from them that I volunteered there for the next 8 years. I’m very grateful that I had the opportunity to learn and grow there.

A little more about me…

When we talk, you’ll find that I’m a very curious person. I’ll tell you that, too. I not only become very interested in my clients but in helping them find the answers within themselves. I attempt to provide a space where people feel comfortable and safe so that they can share about themselves.

I use human-centered, cognitive behavioral, and/or a psychodynamic approaches. When useful, I’ll draw upon Gestalt, Strategic, Structural, Solution Focused, Narrative therapy, Breathing & Movement techniques, Archetypal & Visualization strategies, and/or Inner Aspect work, again, when they are useful in helping you.

You see, it all depends on the person, and/or the situation. The foundation of my work, though, is acknowledging that we’re ALL experiencing what it is for each of us to be human…and more.

Me on the World Wide Web

Jim Michael
Psychology Today
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