Empathic listening, online or in person in Royan, France, for anxiety, depression, childhood trauma, addiction, moods and behaviors sometimes diagnosed as OCD, AVPD, ADHD, BPD, schizophrenia, etc.
Empathic listening is the main component of effective psychotherapy, as the research of pioneering psychotherapist Carl Rogers established. Rogers's work is studied by all student therapists as part of their introduction to their future work.
Frustrated with some aspects of your life? Not as happy as you want?
I'll help you recover your happiness. Try me, it's free!
What I do is listen with empathy, to make it easier for you to explore what is going on, what is bothering you, what feels satisfying and what doesn't. This helps find calm, it helps get clearer about your goals and how to achieve them.
As Carl Rogers    said:
I can testify that when you are in psychological distress and someone really hears you without passing judgment on you, without trying to take responsibility for you, without trying to mold you, it feels damn good!
When I have been listened to and when I have been heard, I am able to re-perceive my world in a new way and to go on. It is astonishing how elements that seem insoluble become soluble when someone listens, how confusions that seem irremediable turn into relatively clear flowing streams.
This is my experience too, and it's what I strive to provide to you. Using unconditional positive regard, and empathy, that I've been learning from Rogers as well as from his student Marshall Rosenberg  , and therapy models and methods by Pia Mellody   and Peter Levine  .
You can also hear all about my journey of discovering and healing my own childhood trauma, to know where my understanding of these issues comes from. I am convinced that sinking into extremes of hopelessness, helplessness, fear, confusion, and pain; and then hitting bottom, and then being lucky to find a way out and towards a solid inner peace, this experience and then drawing lessons from it, is very useful in order to understand and support others going through similar difficulties.
I don't think I could have learned that in any university or training program. What this means for you is that you'll be talking with someone who has been in a place similar to where you are, and who can have some idea of what challenges you are facing.
I only ask for payment if you are satisfied with the results you get.
It's similar to how I've been offering the software on this site since 1996 (my previous activity): you are free to download and use the software, and pay only after you are comfortable that you do benefit enough from it.
Also, you only pay what you are satisfied is fair. And however much of that you can afford. I'm confident this is an arrangement that works well in the end.
When I was struggling with overwhelming anxiety, I was scared of spending money on therapy that might turn out ineffective. Having gone through this experience is another reason why I offer my services without asking you to commit to paying.
If you prefer to pay for sessions traditionally, because it reduces fear of owing something, then we can do that too.
You can book sessions for a set time, days in advance, or check if I'm available in 10 minutes. Session length is whatever you need, that I can accommodate in the moment. We can convene for just a few minutes if you want, or an hour, or two. As long as it works for both of us. And you can stop whenever you want.
You can email me at the address below to get started. We can then use Skype, or WhatsApp, Google Hangouts, Discord, or meet.jit.si (which doesn't require sharing contact information), etc., to have audio or video conversations. Or text chat, if you prefer.
Pia Mellody's Model of Developmental Immaturity
The Pathways to Liberation Matrix
See the full chart here. I find it very useful to check where I can make progress.
Carl Rogers on loneliness
“When I take the gamble, the risk, of trying to share something that is very personal with another individual and it is not received and not understood, this is a very deflating and a very lonely experience. I have come to believe that such an experience makes some individuals psychotic. It causes them to give up hoping that anyone can understand them. Once they have lost that hope, then their own inner world, which becomes more and more bizarre, is the only place where they can live. They can no longer live in any shared human experience.
I can sympathize with them because I know that when I try to share some feeling aspect of myself which is private, precious, and tentative, and when this communication is met by evaluation, by reassurance, by distortion of my meaning, my very strong reaction is, “Oh, what’s the use!” At such a time, one knows what it is to be alone.
So, as you can readily see from what I have said thus far, a creative, active, sensitive, accurate, empathic, nonjudgmental listening is for me terribly important in a relationship. It is important for me to provide it; it has been extremely important, especially at certain times in my life, to receive it. I feel that I have grown within myself when I have provided it; I am very sure that I have grown and been released and enhanced when I have received this kind of listening” --Carl Rogers, A Way of Being.
Carl Rogers on what makes for effective therapy
“The first element could be called genuineness, realness, or congruence. The more the therapist is himself or herself in the relationship, putting up no professional front or personal facade, the greater is the likelihood that the client will change and grow in a constructive manner. This means that the therapist is openly being the feelings and attitudes that are flowing within at the moment. The term “transparent” catches the flavor of this condition: the therapist makes himself or herself transparent to the client; the client can see right through what the therapist is in the relationship; the client experiences no holding back on the part of the therapist. As for the therapist, what he or she is experiencing is available to awareness, can be lived in the relationship, and can be communicated, if appropriate. Thus, there is a close matching, or congruence, between what is being experienced at the gut level, what is present in awareness, and what is expressed to the client.
The second attitude of importance in creating a climate for change is acceptance, or caring, or prizing—what I have called “unconditional positive regard.” When the therapist is experiencing a positive, acceptant attitude toward whatever the client is at that moment, therapeutic movement or change is more likely to occur. The therapist is willing for the client to be whatever immediate feeling is going on—confusion, resentment, fear, anger, courage, love, or pride. Such caring on the part of the therapist is nonpossessive. The therapist prizes the client in a total rather than a conditional way.
The third facilitative aspect of the relationship is empathic understanding. This means that the therapist senses accurately the feelings and personal meanings that the client is experiencing and communicates this understanding to the client. When functioning best, the therapist is so much inside the private world of the other that he or she can clarify not only the meanings of which the client is aware but even those just below the level of awareness. This kind of sensitive, active listening is exceedingly rare in our lives. We think we listen, but very rarely do we listen with real understanding, true empathy. Yet listening, of this very special kind, is one of the most potent forces for change that I know.
How does this climate which I have just described bring about change? Briefly, as persons are accepted and prized, they tend to develop a more caring attitude toward themselves. As persons are empathically heard, it becomes possible for them to listen more accurately to the flow of inner experiencings. But as a person understands and prizes self, the self becomes more congruent with the experiencings. The person thus becomes more real, more genuine. These tendencies, the reciprocal of the therapist’s attitudes, enable the person to be a more effective growth-enhancer for himself or herself. There is a greater freedom to be the true, whole person.” --Carl Rogers, A Way of Being.
Carl Rogers on certification
“The third challenge I wish to raise, especially for clinical and social psychologists, is the radical possibility of sweeping away our procedures for professionalization. I know what heresy that idea is, what terror it strikes in the heart of the person who has struggled to become a “professional.” But I have seen the moves toward certification and licensure, the attempts to exclude charlatans, from a vantage point of many years, and it is my considered judgment that they fail in their aims. I helped the APA to form the ABEPP* (as it was then known) in 1947 when I was president of the APA. I was ambivalent about the move then. I wish now that I had taken a stand against it.
I am not in any way impugning the motives, the integrity, and the efforts of those who aim toward certification and all that follows from it. I sympathize deeply. I wish there were a way to separate the qualified from the unqualified, the competent worker from the opportunist, the exploiter, and the charlatan. But let’s look at a few facts. As soon as we set up criteria for certification—whether for clinical psychologists, for NTL group trainers, for marriage counselors, for psychiatrists, for psychoanalysts, or, as I heard the other day, for psychic healers—the first and greatest effect is to freeze the profession in a past image. This is an inevitable result. What can you use for examinations? Obviously, the questions and tests that have been used in the past decade or two. Who is wise enough to be an examiner? Obviously, the person who has ten or twenty years of experience and who therefore started his training fifteen to twenty-five years previously. I know how hard such groups try to update their criteria, but they are always several laps behind. So the certification procedure is always rooted in the rather distant past and defines the profession in those terms.
The second drawback I state sorrowfully: there are as many certified charlatans and exploiters of people as there are uncertified. If you had a good friend badly in need of therapeutic help, and I gave you the name of a therapist who was a Diplomate in Clinical Psychology, with no other information, would you send your friend to him? Of course not. You would want to know what he is like as a person and a therapist, recognizing that there are many with diplomas on their walls who are not fit to do therapy, lead a group, or help a marriage. Certification is not equivalent to competence.
The third drawback is that the urge toward professionalism builds up a rigid bureaucracy. I am not personally aware of such bureaucracy at the national level, but it certainly occurs frequently at the state level. Bureaucratic rules become a substitute for sound judgment. A person is disqualified because he has 150 hours of supervised therapy, while another is approved because he has the required 200. No attention is given to the effectiveness of either therapist, or the quality of his work, or even the quality of the supervision he received. Another person might be disqualified because his excellent psychological thesis was done in a graduate department that is not labeled “psychology.” I won’t multiply the examples. The bureaucrat is beginning to dominate the scene in ways that are all too familiar, setting the profession back enormously.
Then there is the other side of the coin. I think of the “hot-line” workers whom I have been privileged to know in recent years. Over the phone, they handle bad drug trips, incipient suicides, tangled love affairs, family discord, all kinds of personal problems. Most of these workers are college students or those just beyond this level, with minimal intensive “on-the-job” training. And I know that in many of these crisis situations they use a skill and judgment that would make a professional green with envy. They are completely “unqualified,” if we use conventional standards. But they are, by and large, both dedicated and competent.
I think also of my experience in groups, where the so-called naive member often has an inner wisdom in dealing with difficult individuals and situations which far outclasses that of myself or of any other professional facilitator. It is a sobering experience to observe this;. Or, when I think of the best leaders I know for dealing with groups of married couples, I think of a man and a woman, neither of whom has even the beginning of satisfactory paper credentials. Very well qualified people exist outside the fence of credentials.
But you may protest, “How are you going to stop the charlatans who exploit persons psychologically, often for great financial gain?” I respect this question, but I would point out that the person whose purpose is to exploit others can do so without calling himself a psychologist. Scientology (from which we might have learned some things, had we been less concerned about credentials) now goes its merry and profitable way as a religion! It is my considered judgment that tight professional standards do not, to more than a minimal degree, shut out the exploiters and the charlatans. If we concentrated on developing and giving outstanding personal help, individuals would come to us, rather than to con artists.
We must face the fact that in dealing with human beings, a certificate does not give much assurance of real qualification. If we were less arrogant, we might also learn much from the “uncertified” individual, who is sometimes unusually adept in the area of human relationships.
I am quite aware that the position I am taking has disadvantages and involves risks. But so does the path to certification and licensure. And I have slowly come to the conclusion that if we did away with “the expert,” “the certified professional,” “the licensed psychologist,” “we might open our profession to a breeze of fresh air, a surge of creativity, such as it has not known for years.
In every area—medicine, nursing, teaching, bricklaying, or carpentry—certification has tended to freeze and narrow the profession, has tied it to the past, has discouraged innovation. If we ask ourselves how the American physician acquired the image of being a dollar-seeking reactionary, a member of the tightest union in the country, opposed to all progress and change, and especially opposed to giving health care where it is most needed, there is little doubt that the American Medical Association has slowly, even though unintentionally, built that image in the public mind. Yet the primary initial purpose of the AMA was to certify and license qualified physicians and to protect the public against the quack. It hurts me to see psychology beginning to follow that same path.
The question I am humbly raising, in the face of what I am sure will be great shock and antagonism, is simply this: Can psychology find a new and better way? Is there some more creative method of bringing together those who need help and those who are truly excellent in offering helping relationships?
I do not have a final answer, but I would point to one suggestive principle, first enunciated for me by my colleague Richard Farson (personal communication, 1966): “The population which has the problem possesses the best resources for dealing with the problem.” This has been shown to be true in many areas. Drug addicts, or former drug addicts, are most successful in dealing with individuals who have drug problems; similarly, ex-alcoholics help alcoholics, ex-convicts help prisoners—all of them probably more effectively than professionals. But if we certify or otherwise give these individuals superior status as helpers, their helpfulness declines. They then become “professionals,” with all the exclusiveness and territoriality that mark the professional.
So, though I know it must sound horrendous, I would like to see all the energy we put into certification rules, qualifications, licensure legislation, and written and oral examinations rechanneled into assisting clinical psychologists, social psychologists, and group leaders to become so effective, so devoted to human welfare, that they would be chosen over those who are actually unqualified, whether or not they possess paper credentials.
As a supplement to guide the public, we might set up the equivalent of a Consumer Protective Service. If one complaint comes in about ineffective or unethical behavior, it might well be explained away. But if many complaints come in about an individual’s services to the public, then his name should be made available to the public, with the suggestion “Let the buyer beware.”
Meanwhile, let us develop our learning processes in psychology in such new ways that we are of significantly more service to the public than the “instant gurus,” the developers of new and untried fads, the exploiters who feed on a public obviously hungry to be dependent on someone who claims to have the answer to all human problems. When our own lasting helpfulness is clearly evident, then we will have no need for our elaborate machinery for certifying and licensing.” --Carl Rogers, A Way of Being.
Carl Rogers video
Marc Moini 2019