Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
Joan Abraham, MA, LMFT
My name is Joan Abraham and I am a licensed psychotherapist in private practice in Santa Monica, California. I was raised in a rural area in California with acres of citrus groves and roads lined with giant Eucalyptus and shaggy Pepper trees. My memories of playing in the groves, climbing trees and galloping my horse through the hills are all rooted in nature and nature is at the heart of my work and continues to nourish and sustain me.
The poet Mary Oliver writes, “You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves." Throughout life, in addition to nature, I have also loved to experience and express myself through movement, music, voice and the arts. Fascinated with the idea that in the theater I could become more than one person, I studied acting. Character analysis led me to the psychology of Carl Jung and the exploration of the archetypes of the collective unconscious.
My work attunes to the “wisdom of the body,” the body/mind connection and embraces the use of dreams, creative self-expression and insight-oriented mindfulness. With 20 years of clinical experience, I am a Jungian analyst candidate at the C.G. Jung Study Center of Southern California and certified in Marion Woodman’s BodySoul Rhythms©. I received a BA in psychology from the University of California, Riverside and a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute where I also served as adjunct professor teaching courses in depth psychology, developmental psychology, and initiation, ritual and ceremony.
Except for the point, the still point
There would be no dance,
And there is only the dance.
~ T.S. Eliot
Insight-Oriented Depth Psychotherapy
The term psychotherapy is derived from the ancient Greek psyche, meaning “breath, spirit, soul,” and therapaeia, meaning “treatment, healing.” People often seek psychotherapy to reduce suffering and also improve relationships. Sometimes, even despite the best of intentions to live a more fulfilling life, year after year, there is a pull into the same coagulated patterns of perception and action.
Most models of psychotherapy try and alleviate symptoms of distress, such as depression, anxiety, or aggression, in order to bring relief and help people adapt to life's demands. While these are important goals of therapy, it is also important to understand what underlies the challenges we may face and how to better meet those challenges. In the same way that a good doctor not only treats, but looks for the underlying cause of physical symptoms, insight-oriented depth psychotherapy asks a person to consider, “Who am I at the deepest level?”
In physics the “ground state” of a system is the greatest stability and deepest repose. By consistently infusing the qualities of concentration, clarity and equanimity into ordinary experience, insight into the nature of things may emerge.
I work with people from many backgrounds who come to me for a variety of reasons. I believe that each person is unique, and view the therapeutic encounter as a deep and soulful collaboration. Together, we create an environment of trust where thoughts, feelings, images, fantasies and dreams can be fully expressed, explored and reflected upon with compassion.
My approach is inspired by the work of C.G. Jung, Marie-Louise von Franz, Edward F. Edinger, Marion Woodman and Shinzen Young.
There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action; and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. If you block it, it will never exist in any other medium and it will be lost.
— Martha Graham
The dream is a little hidden door in the innermost and most secret recesses of the soul.
~ C.G. Jung
Dreaming is a universal experience; everyone dreams although sometimes we don’t remember our dreams. Because dreams reveal a hidden reality within as well as the depths of human experience, Jungian analysis gives tremendous value to the healing potential of dreams. Dreams are impartial, unadulterated pictures of the state of our unconscious, undistorted by ego defenses, and offering rich opportunities for psychological insight and growth.
C. G. Jung analyzed over 80,000 dreams and discovered that dreams, mythology, and religious symbolism all come from the same place — the objective psyche, which he also called the collective unconscious. For this reason, even though we live in the 21st century our dreams can contain images and heroic narratives from ancient times.
Evidence suggests that dreams are manifestations of a guiding and ordering center of the greater personality Jung called the Self. Realization of this center occurs through a dialectical interplay between the individual ego and the unconscious Self. Dreamwork facilitates this process and when we begin paying attention to dreams, they often become more active in response. As we follow the thread, over a period of time the dreams present images, patterns, and themes that reflect unknown or unconscious aspects. Sometimes, even throughout life, beginning in childhood, dreams have occurred in recurring, disturbing and perplexing ways. This is because dreams reveal what is missing from our conscious perspective and, when understood symbolically, can provide insight that promotes psychological health and well-being.
Just as a burning fire inherently exudes heat, the unconscious inherently generates symbols. It is simply the nature of the unconscious to do so. As we learn to read those symbols we gain the ability to perceive the workings of the unconscious within us.
— Robert Johnson, Inner Work
We shall not cease from exploration,
and the end of all our exploring will
be to arrive where we started and
know the place for the first time...
~ T.S. Eliot
Joan Abraham, MA, MFT
610 Santa Monica Blvd, Suite 225
Santa Monica, CA 90405
My office is located in downtown Santa Monica, with ample public parking, and walking distance from the Metro Expo Line’s Downtown Santa Monica station.
Fees and Insurance
Fees are $125-$200 per 50 minute session.
Some insurance plans offer “out-of-network” benefits, which allow you to be reimbursed for a percentage of the fee. Because I am fully licensed in California, you may be eligible for reimburse-ment. Please check with your insurance company to determine whether or not you have benefits, if that is a factor in your decision.