Jan Bergstrom, LMHC


When an individual comes to see me, I work with them to map out and understand their family of origin experience. The purpose of reviewing what happened is NOT to stay in the past, however to understand how those patterns or woundings show up in their present life and relationships. 

I also stress the importance of using breath, and finding resources for developing a centering, grounding, and mindful practice that supports their healing. I incorporate in all stages of their treatment these concepts that help in bringing the “functioning” self on-board.

I use Pia Mellody's model of working with co-dependence that looks at these states of immaturity in one of the five areas: Self Esteem (how were they valued), Boundaries (how were they protected physically and emotionally), Reality (how they were validated in their sense of self), Self Care and Interdependence (how they had their needs met or not), and Moderation (how limits were set and enforced in the family).

Everyone has damage in one if not all of these areas growing up.
After debriefing the client on how they adapted in their family of origin, the educating process begins. Teaching the Five Core Self Skills of loving the self, protecting the self (through use of internal boundaries), creating and knowing the self, taking care of the self interdependently, and containing and moderating the self, creates a foundational base that supports healing, growth and renewal.

In addition, another essential part of this process is to begin to understand how “parts of selves” were created to survive their family system. These parts of selves are wounded and adapted and these states show up in their adult lives currently. So the process of therapy begins by cultivating a more functional self to intervene with these states or re-parent them. Strengthening and growing a functional adult self is essential for successful relationships and a satisfying life.

Eventually through this process of therapy, clients realize that being healthy and relational is nothing you have, it is what you “do”. Living life fully and intimately comes from a commitment to this daily practice. This kind of mindful awareness and action results in more satisfaction, joy in one’s life, and encourages each individual to incorporate a “practice”.

Sometimes it is necessary for bottom up work, when cognitive understanding of one’s family of origin trauma is not sufficient to create change and healing. I recommend that client’s do an “intensive” workshop to help create awareness and growth through an experiential process of treatment. This workshop is “Healing Our Core Issues”. I conduct this workshop in my private practice on a regular basis. Please see my page on workshops for further information.

I also stress the importance of using breath, and developing a centering and grounding, mindful practice that supports healing and wholeness. I incorporate in all stages of treatment these concepts that help in bringing the “functioning” self on-board.

I offer 1 and 1 ½-hour sessions for individuals on a semi-monthly basis. I do see some clients on a weekly basis if they are struggling or feeling
de-stabilized. At times, due to distance, some clients choose to have a two or three hour-long session for intensive work on a monthly basis. I also offer video web conferencing sessions via Skype and phone sessions.

In between sessions, I recommend homework. Homework consists of journaling, reading books or listening to recommended CD's, attending appropriate workshops or groups that help support the new behavioral practice in their lives.

I've provided the ScienceDaily Mental Health News feed for additional information that might be of interest.
Photo Courtesy of africa,
"When I came to Jan for individual therapy I was in a very bad state: depressed, completely overwhelmed and feeling hopeless. I knew I had hit rock bottom and needed help to turn around my life situation.
Jan came highly recommended and
and I can truly say that
she has changed my life.

With her down to earth, personable yet highly professional approach, she helped me learn the tools I needed to see a brighter future. In a simple, logical way, she walked me through my past family history and helped me understand how the core issues from childhood affect my adult life and behavior today.

It all made sense and was 
easy to grasp. It is such a relief
to have discovered a practice, a way of 
living that will help guide me to a happier and more fulfilling life.  I am so grateful to Jan and know that she will always
be there for me."

Anna, Newton, MA
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