“No, you don’t have “multiple personalities” (probably). You just have a normal case of the human condition.”
~Dr. Michelle Álvarez

“Life is really confusing.”
~Julian, age 11 ½

The Honest Therapist

Hi. If you’ve landed here I bet, like Julian, you’re a bit uncertain about some things (even if you’re older than 12). You’re trying to figure life out. You don’t know what to do about your mood, or your stress, or your job, or your partner. Some days you don’t even know what you want; you have conflicting desires. Sometimes you think this, but other times you feel that. For instance, you scold yourself for taking on too much, but another part of you, the people-pleaser, seems to override you out of a fear of being disliked. Or you know it’s time to end that toxic relationship, but a voice inside you whispers that then you’ll be all alone. Which one should you listen to? You’re stuck.

No, you don’t have “multiple personalities” (probably) –you just have a bad case of the human condition. All of us have different sides of ourselves, different parts. The problem is when they don’t get along, or they want different things. Our goal here is to get them talking to each other and on the same page, making decisions together that make all the parts of you feel balanced and, well, happier.

In trying to reach this elusive sense of contentment and confidence, you’ve probably tried some things already, maybe a new partner, a new job, a move, a gym membership, group yoga classes, retail therapy, self-medication… Maybe you’ve even tried psychotherapy before. And some of those things may have helped –but not enough. Or maybe nothing has worked, and things have even gotten worse. Either way, you feel unfulfilled, worried, lost or –to use the clinical term– kinda meh. Like things should be, you know, better, easier. Despite your best efforts, you are not happy with your life. Let’s see what we (all of us –your parts and mine) can do about it. Teamwork!

The type of therapy I’m obsessed wi– er… talking about is called IFS –Internal Family Systems. It’s existential, it’s thinky and symbolic, but also somatic and body-centered. It’s neuroscientific and research-based, but also a little esoteric and woo… It goes back and talks with your “inner child.” (Does your inner child even know you’re all grown up now?) The family in question is the one that consists of all your different parts. This internal family works just like a real family system, with disagreements, different roles, alliances, protectiveness and loyalty –all the dynamics that exist in any group of people. So IFS is like doing family therapy with the people inside of you, getting them to listen to each other, helping them work out their stuff and learn to get along and work as a healthy unit. (You’re stuck with them; might as well.) The goal is NOT to all blend into one. That would be so weird if a whole family merged into one person. Plus, then you’d be all on your own instead of with your loving and supportive family. Are you up for trying family therapy but by yourself?

 

This is your one and only life*. Make it a good one.

*Well, maybe. Because reincarnation.

 

    

 

What don’t you like about your life, or about yourself? What do you wish was different? What do you want to change, but don’t know how to –or even what exactly it is? Perhaps even more importantly, what do you like about yourself and your life and want to keep the same or build upon?

To see whether we might be a good fit…

…reach out

Call me 828-82-PSYCH (828-827-7924)

or write me hello@drmichellealvarez.com

Dr. Michelle Álvarez

“The Asheville Therapist”

I wasn’t born in Asheville, but I got here as soon as I could.

I’m originally from Puerto Rico, and I spent most of my adult life living in New York City. But after visiting Asheville, like a lot of people, I was lured into moving here –and I’ve never looked back. It is a great place to live, among like-minded people, and it’s been a perfect place to build a practice that allows me to integrate all the things that I know can be transformative for a person –psychology, yoga, meditation, writing, playfulness, humor… A practice that doesn’t dismiss or disregard the things you value, but rather complements and enhances everything that you deem important for your physical, spiritual and mental health –your acupuncture, yoga, meditation, and spiritual practices, hiking, and whatever else you’re into.

It’s a transition, however, coming from the big city to this weird little town. I’m quite familiar with this process of acculturation and learning a new way of life, and have guided other “expats” through this adjustment, hence my moniker The Asheville Therapist. (I’m nowhere near delusional enough to call myself The Asheville Therapist!)

More of my story…

After more than 16 years of experience working as a psychologist, mostly in hospitals and health centers, but also in a woman’s prison and in the VA, I finally feel free to be able to offer a holistic method for healing that embraces all facets of your wellbeing and invites in everything that matters to you. An approach that works with your beliefs, your interests and your practices: TALKyoga©.

TALKyoga.

Almost as good as goat yoga!

TALKyoga works great with existential psychology, IFS, CBT, and all the other therapeutic approaches in my toolbox. It is especially powerful when we combine it with The Mandala of Happiness, a.k.a. The Mandala of Santosha©, a psych quiz I created that will reveal to you exactly what’s keeping you unhappy, and show what we need to do to change that. It’ll make you think, and may communicate some things you’ve known all along, on a subconscious level. If we decide to work together, it will even help show us the progress that we’re making in therapy, in a very obvious and visual way.

Want to know the exact reason you’re unhappy? Ask The Mandala of Happiness.

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