Paul Bracke, Ph.D.

Life offers us an immense array of potentially rich and satisfying possibilities. Living also confronts us with the profound question: How will I be most fully alive and actualize the person I can be. Being alive also confronts us with an array of formidable challenges. To meet these challenges we develop unique ways of viewing ourselves, others, and the world. We also develop personal strategies for being successful in the world. Unknowingly, the patterns of perceiving, thinking and acting that we develop in order to survive also stand in the way of our ultimate health, progress, and happiness.

Life Changing Psychotherapy
My approach to psychotherapy combines concepts, philosophy and strategies from both the existential-humanistic and cognitve-behavioral schools. During my 26 years of practice I have found this approach to consistently be very powerful in helping people make changes that are truly life changing. Life changing therapy enables us to become aware of how we are preventing ourselves from using our best resources to create the life we need and want and to become the person we hope to be – and to create more effective strategies for reaching these goals.

My work with individuals, couples and groups has consistently confirmed my core belief: We have the capacity to transform our selves, transcend our difficulties and create the life that we want. Life –changing psychotherapy activates our capacity to transform and transcend. The following are key elements of my approach.

Active Engagement, Support and Collaboration
Becoming aware of self – defeating patterns and developing more accurate and empowering beliefs requires that we develop a strong, honest, active and collaborative relationship.
My style and role is one of personal concern and active collaboration. Specifically, my role is to contribute active feedback, help in the exploring of what has not been seen or considered, illuminate patterns that are constricting and aid in the development of new strategies for improving emotional balance, confidence and key areas of living.

A Focus on the Present
While we are unquestionably influenced by our pasts, I firmly believe that the present is the most fertile point of reference and illumination of who we are and of the patterns that constrict us. The elements of our personal history that are most important are clearly reflected in how we are thinking, acting and living in the present. Only the present contains opportunities for becoming more self-aware and for growing and changing.

A Focus on Personal Perceptions, Beliefs and Life Strategies
The way in which we have learned to view ourselves, others and the world has a profound impact on our ability to be successful, have satisfying relationships and feel satisfied. Understanding how perceptions and personal beliefs are creating emotional distress and developing alternative and more accurate points of view and more effective attitudes is a primary goal my psychotherapy.

Concern and Goal Directed
An important initial step in my work with clients is to help identify and clarify the goals that will guide our work together. This involves clarifying the primary concerns that bring an individual to therapy. While the goals and concerns that direct our efforts often change as greater awareness and progress occurs, having a vision of the life that one wants is a powerful element that energizes and guides our work.