My Grounding

As a psychotherapist, I bring a wealth of training and life experience into the counseling setting. A primary source for the work I do is my more than 30 years of meditation and mindfulness practice. As an ordained Soto Zen priest in the Tenzan Keibun Daiosho and Houn Kobun Roshi lineages, my daily meditation practice is a source of grounding, clarity, flexibility, and playfulness in my life. I am a certified meditation instructor and I welcome the opportunity to bring this knowledge and experience into our interactions, although this is completely optional. I have a Masters Degree from Naropa University, in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology and a Masters Degree from the University of Colorado in Education. I worked as an educator for 20 years in Colorado, Mexico, and Costa Rica. I am a proud father of a beautiful son and committed partner to my beautiful wife.

I am passionate about relationships and working with couples and families within the relationship context to support change and secure functioning. I am fascinated by organisms and systems and bring this into all that I do in my work.

Therapeutically, my work draws from many places and influences.

• I consider myself a transpersonal therapist, which means that I work with each client as a whole human being from the basic ground of basic human goodness and worth. I am invested in tapping into and releasing your potential creating wholeness and clarity in your life. The transpersonal view takes into account all elements of being human: physical, physiological, energetic, psychological, relational, and spiritual. All of these realms are part of the exploration of you are and who you want to become. As such, I draw from psychoanalytic theory, humanist theory, existentialism, systems theory, my contemplative Zen practice to name a few.

A powerful source and practice for me as a human being and as a professional psychotherapist is working with grief, loss, and dying. My most impactful teachers have been my father Ronald West, my mother Marlies West, my Soto Zen teacher Roshi Hakubai Daishin, Roshi Joan Halifax, Frank Ostaseski, and the many divine and courageous beings I have the honor of supporting in their grieving process.

    • I am greatly inspired by the dynamic systems work of Stan Tatkin and his Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy, PACT (see PACT). *Another one of my primary sources is the work of Daniel Siegel. His uniting of brain neurology and mindfulness is groundbreaking and a cornerstone of my work. The Neurobiology of We is a developmental model based in modern attachment theory, which points to our primary caregiver (parents) relationships as the source of who we become and where to look for repair.