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- Relationship and post-relationship issues with a particular focus on entrenched, repetitive non-functional patterns.
- Anxiety and depression as manifestations of life circumstances.
- Personal growth that is on the continuum from wound healling to the far reaches of human potential
- Integration of Mindfulness Meditation and process-oriented psychotherapy
Avraham Cohen, Ph. D., RCC, CCC holds the designations of Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC) with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors and Canadian Counsellor Certification (CCC) with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association. His office is at 16th and Granville.
Avraham's work with clients is holistic and individualized in ways that are most fitting for each person. He is noted for his ability to connect in just the right ways with clients. His ability to facilitate working through issues at an optimal pace is well known along with his innovative and creative ways of helping individuals to see things in new ways, and make changes that fit with their needs, circumstances, and life stage.
His particular areas of expertise are:
I have been in practice for over forty years. I was formerly Professor and the Associate-Director for a Full-Time Master in Counselling Program at a not-for-profit university. I am currently adjunct faculty at Adler University in Vancouver BC. I have published widely, including peer reviewed journal articles, book chapters, books, and general articles. The 2008 article, co-authored with my wife, Dr. Heesoon Bai, Suffering Loves and Needs Company: Buddhist and Daoist Perspectives on the Counsellor as Companion was published in the Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy and was awarded the Professional Article of the Year Award by the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association. I have presented regularly at national and international conferences. I was awarded the 2007-2008 BC Association of Clinical Counsellor's President's Award for Contributions to the Discipline of Counselling.
Please contact me to obtain copies of my books: Speaking of Teaching: Inclinations, Inspirations, and Innerworkings (Sense, 2012), Becoming Fully Human in Educational Environments: Relationship, Inner Life, and Learning. Vancouver BC: Writeroom Press (2015), and Speaking of Learning: Recollections, Revelations, and Realizations. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.
What I have discovered in my study of human experience is that we are, indeed, all very similar in some ways, and upon looking a little closer that we are all quite different. I have spent much time and energy investigating those sameness’ and differences in order to refine my approach with individuals and couples who come to see me. I have a broad background in various approaches to counselling work, but as the famous Swiss Psychologist, Carl Jung said, “When the doctor sits down with the patient, he must drop all his theories and discover the theory of that person who is before him.”
I believe that what I do with you must fit who you are in-the-moment, who I am , the current context, and your surrounding life circumstances. What this requires of me is that I be very capable of being fully present with you so that I can be with you in the way that makes the most sense. I do not believe that you should be forced to fit into a theory. I believe that the theory and practice that are applied must fit for you.
In truth though, I do not believe it’s about theory, but about the authentic meeting between the self you may have developed to survive in the world and your true nature, and how this can emerge through the process of what Martin Buber, called the I-Thou encounter, which is the authentic meeting between you and I. In the end, the life worth living is the fulfilled life and the most exciting path to be on is the one that leads towards an ever more fulfilling and whole life. I believe that problems are resolved and solved by discovering more and more of what our true nature is and clearing the way for its emergence and authentic expression.
I believe that the ‘encounter’ between you and I is substantial and leads to the development of a significant relationship that will allow you and I to work collaboratively towards the ends that make sense for you. I don’t believe you come to see me to have an ordinary conversation, rather to have the conversation that will make a difference to who and how you are in the significant aspects of your world, including your relationship with yourself, with those who are significant in your life, with your work, and with your play in the world.
Some Ideas about Relationship
Hard Heads and Soft Hearts: An Appeal to the Human
Years ago in a first year English literature course I learned the Idealists believed that when lovers were separated it was tragic and that the Romantics believed that in the same circumstances love was expanded. In relationship we seem to be still arguing in various ways which of a variety of “realities” is better.
I have seen those that I would characterize as “soft-hearted” torn to shreds by their apparently “hard-headed,” intimates. I have also seen these same soft-hearted individuals dismiss and ignore their so-called hard-headed intimates. What seems to be missing is acknowledgement that we lack the skills and, often, the will to talk across these divides, or even to recognize that there is a divide. In the end, the question as to which reality is true seems to create division and alienation.
I am suggesting that both realities have something to offer, but the capacity to speak the language that crosses the divide seems to be mostly missing with resultant isolation, loneliness, and bitterness. Actually, the word “both” in reference to these views is far too narrow. Looking more deeply into what the other and their intimate are saying invariably brings out the worst aspects of the otherness that exists even between those who are apparently the same. I am using the word language here in the broadest possible sense. I am really talking about the capacity to appreciate difference, not just in theory, but in the crucible of dialogue that can be very exciting, passionate, and difficult.
I appeal to both the soft hearted and the hard headed to be open to each other as human beings, and to find value in each other through a mutual search for inter-connection. In my work with couples I am looking with you for the personal and interpersonal guide posts that lead to fulfilling connection and moments of serenity within and together with important others.
I have been in private practice for over 20 years and in the field for over 30 years. I am a member of the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors and the Canadian Counselling Association. My doctoral dissertation has been published by Cambria Press (2009). The title is Gateway to the Dao-Field: Essays for the Awakening Educator. I have published widely and presented at national and international conferences.
I am an advocate for counselling as a support for dealing with personal and collective wounds, and for personal growth to reach towards optimal beingness and creativity. My advocacy stems from my own my own experience of long term benefits from counselling along with the benefits I have seen for others, including, of course, my clients.
I am a long time Mindfulness Meditation practitioner and I often weave meditation practice that is specifically geared to the unique needs of the individual into my work. I believe that such practice must be finely tuned to each individual and each moment. I have the view that if individuals could follow the initial instructions for meditation that they would already be advanced meditation practitioners. I see mindfulness practice as a way for individuals to pursue inner work on their own outside of the counselling hour and to further their own dreams of higher and expanded consciousness. My intention is to help you learn the essence of mindfulness practice; the development of awareness that is in the service of learning to observe and reflect on inner experience as opposed to reactively taking unconscious inappropriate action or marginalizing your own inner world experiences.
Development of such capacity can be very helpful for you, helpful in terms of learning to stay with uncomfortable or painful experience rather than acting out in some way that serves to avoid what is difficult and/or unknown in the inner world. This is in the service of learning your own process of experience and also in the service of learning how your inner world actually works. Such awareness opens up the possibility of choice about actions or non-actions and a greater sense of knowing of self, which can lead to a greater sense of wholeness, peace, and ease. Such transformation contributes to better therapeutic, collegial, and personal relationships for care givers and healthier, more productive, and rewarding life-styles for clients.
The development of mindfulness practice as a regular self-care activity helps shift the focus from fixing problems to the re-organizing and resurgence of the blocked healthy development of the person and the core sense of identity. As well, the regular practice itself and the learning from the struggle to develop this is supportive of the development of improved self-worth that grows out of the accomplishment of the practice development. This latter is not meant, and generally does not occur as what might be termed egoic self aggrandizement, but is experienced directly as a felt sense of knowing and a quiet feeling of confidence.
I am in an ongoing process of study, practice, teaching, research, and writing. I feel fortunate to be involved in these different but related activities, each of which I love, and which allows me to bring to my practice all my curiosity and interest about the human dimension, its fulfilment in life, and optimal possibility for you in your interest to live well.
2007-2008 British Columbia Association of Clinical Counsellors President’s Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Discipline of Counselling.
2008 Professional Article Award of the Canadian Counselling Association for an article co-authored with Dr. Heesoon Bai begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting. Suffering Loves and Needs Company: Daoist and Zen Perspectives on the Counsellor as Companion. Canadian Journal of Counselling. Vol.42:1, pp. 45-56.
2006-2007 Ted T. Aoki Prize for Outstanding Dissertation in Curriculum Studies. Attending to the inner experience of an educator: The human dimension in education. Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia.
Cohen, A. (2009). Gateway to the Dao-Field: Essays for the Awakening Educator. Amherst, NY: Cambria.
Cohen, A. (2008). Nurturing the community development dimension in groups as a pre-emptive intervention: Creating the containment field for groups; The disturber in group. Both in 101 Clinical interventions in group therapy edited by Scott Fehr. New York: Haworth Press.
Bai, H., & Cohen, A. (2007). Breathing Qi, following Dao: Transforming this violence-ridden world. In Eppert, C. and Wang, H., (Eds.) Cross-Cultural studies in curriculum: Eastern thought and educational insights (pp. 35-54). Mahweh, N.J: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Cohen, A. (2003). Chapter section, Process directed group work. In Introduction to group therapy: A practical guide for the future group leader (pp. 141-144) (2nd ed.) by Scott Fehr. New York: Haworth Press.
PEER REVIEWED PUBLICATIONS
Park, S., & Cohen, A. (2009). Exploring the Dao-Field: Practicing Alchemy and Philosophy in the Classroom. Journal of Transformative Education. http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/jted
Cohen, A., Bai, H., & Green L. (2008). An Experiment in Radical Pedagogy: Enactment of Deep Democracy in a Philosopher's Cafe. Radical Pedagogy, 9(2). radicalpedagogy.icaap.org/content/issue9_2/cohen_bai_green.htmlOctober 9, 2008, Radical Pedagogy Web site: http://radicalpedagogy.icaap.org/currentissue.php
Cohen, A. (2008). Following the breadcrumbs to the end of ultimate meaning. Antimatters, 2(3), 87-94. Retrieved September 1, 2008, from AntiMatters: An open-access e-journal Web site: http://anti-matters.org/0/main.htm
Cohen, A. (2008). We teach who we are and that is the problem (ch.3 from Cohen, A. (2009) Gateway to the Dao-Field: Essays for the Awakening Educattor. Youngstown, NY: Cambria). Antimatters, 2(3), 173-194. Retrieved September 1, 2008, from AntiMatters: An open-acess e-journal Web site: http://anti-matters.org/0/main.htm
Cohen, A., & Leggo, C. (2008). The Mentoring Relationship: A Poetic Perspective. International Journal of Whole Schooling, 3(2), 53-74. Retrieved July 30, 2008, from International Journal of Whole Schooling Web site: http://www.coe.wayne.edu/wholeschooling/Journal_of_Whole_Schooling/IJWSIndex.html
Cohen, A. & Bai, H. (2008). Suffering Loves and Needs Company: Daoist and Zen perspectives on the counsellor as companion. Canadian Journal of Counselling. Vol. 42:1, pp. 45-56. (Special Issue, “Accompanying the Suffering Person in Counselling and Psychotherapy")
Cohen, A. & Bai, H. (2007). Dao and Zen of teaching: Classroom as enlightenment field. Educational Insights, 11(3). [http://www.ccfi.educ.ubc.ca/publication/insights/v11n03/articles/bai/bai.html ]
Cohen, A. (2004, Fall/Winter). Dissociative Identity Disorder: Perspectives and alternatives. Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry: An International Journal of Critical Inquiry. Vol. 6 (3), pp. 217-230. New York: Springer.
Cohen, A. (2004). Working with a personal dream--on my own. Constructivism in the Human Sciences. Vol. 9 (2), pp. 49-58. Denton: TX.
Cohen, A. (2004). A process-directed approach to learning process-directed counselling skills. Canadian Journal of Counselling. Vol. 38 (3), pp. 152-164. Canadian Counselling Association. Ottawa, ON.