In July 2017, after a year of living in the Wild Dog Valley, I will be starting a new psychotherapy practice in Melbourne. I thought I'd take the opportunity to reflect on how I work and why...
Wild Mind Psychotherapy
Q&A with Sean O'Carroll
What do you do?
I am a psychotherapist. I work with individuals to help them live more choice-fully, ethically, and wholeheartedly.
What kind of people do you work with?
I work with a wide array of people, from all walks of life. I do not currently work with children.
Psychotherapy does different things for different people. More often than not, clients who come to address a particular issue, persist with sessions after that issue has been resolved, as they find it a great way to improve their lives. Some people engage in psychotherapy as a practice, much like yoga or meditation - a way of working with the body, mind, and soul to find greater psychological flexibility, strength, adaptability, and insight. People often come to me wanting to work on some specific area of their experience, such as feeling lowly or depressed, improving relationships, exploring family issues, spiritual issues, work issues, or anxiety. Others come wanting to gain deeper self-knowledge, and to understand better some of the forces and events that give shape to their lives.
How do you work as a psychotherapist?
I work solely with individuals. I work holistically, which means that I see individual health as something that incorporates body, mind, soul, other people, community, and the planet. My work is informed by depth psychology, eco-psychology, existential therapy, relational therapies and arts-based therapies. In my work as a therapist I see myself as an ally to my clients as they make their way through life. I am someone who will listen and respond authentically and wholeheartedly. I help my clients to explore and understand their experience in greater depth, and ultimately work with them to create more fulfilled, authentic, and joyful lives.
The way the work unfolds is different in every case and depends on the client and our working relationship. With some clients the work will involve the use of art materials and other modalities in which I have trained. I do not diagnose mental illnesses. In general I find mental health labels unhelpful except in extreme cases. Most of the issues that most people bring to therapy are issues that all people will face in some form or other, at some point in their lives.
What is Wild Mind?
Wild Mind is the name I give to my work as a whole. The name Wild Mind is informed by the recognition that our minds have evolved in intimate relationship with the wild earth, and that a healthy and whole mind is one that is not cut off from the wilderness – within or without – but actively engages with that wilderness. Under this banner I also organise eco-psychology conferences, offer embodiment/movement workshops in Melbourne, and work in various ways to bring people and nature into deeper connection.
What is your background?
I have been studying and working in the field of psychotherapy since 2010. I have trained in many modalities including Gestalt Psychotherapy, Transpersonal Psychotherapy, Art Therapy and Experiential Therapy. I recently completed my Masters by Research in the field of eco-experiential therapy. My thesis was topic was: an inquiry into the experience of being alone with nature. I have lectured in both counselling and art therapy, and currently teach in the Bachelor of Arts Psychotherapy at the Ikon Institute.
I have two young sons and live with my partner and her two daughters. We divide our time between our home in Northcote and our block Wild Dog Valley, where we are working to re-wild sixty-five acres of pasture.