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Besan Alhamwi, MA, PA

Psychologist Associate -Parenting Consultant

Individual and Couples

Psychotherapist Therapeutic Approach:

“Childhood is destiny”; over a hundred and fifty years ago psychoanalysis brought back this ancient belief to the light. Our ancestors understood the defining nature of early childhood intuitively, their wisdom came from three hundred thousand years of life on earth; massive accumulated knowledge transferred from one generation to the other. 

In the past decades, the world took a shift from this view, focusing on resiliency and brain plasticity. Although the importance of early childhood was not completely negated, brain plasticity meant that childhood does not necessarily leave a lasting imprint on us. The new science brought relief to parents who needed liberation from the guilt and responsibility of how their kids turned out to be.

The problem in resiliency is that it measures surviving, not thriving; unless you ended up dead or in prison you are considered resilient. Aren’t most of us resilient then?

Research kept accumulating, in various walks of science, supporting the theory of early childhood impact. Developmental psychology, neuroscience, studies on attachment, studies on trauma, abnormal psychology, forensic psychology, epigenetics and evolutionary psychology all were reaching parallel findings. Every inquiry about a puzzling mental illness, unexplainable disease, mysterious criminal mind, every philosophical debate about morality and identity, find their deeply rooted answers in early development; in childhood.

Despite the fact that these different scientific mediums are arriving to similar conclusions, the line between these findings is yet to be drawn. Not due to a lack of research, but to distorted deeply embedded beliefs about children: children are not full humans yet; they don’t feel pain as much, they don’t remember their first five years of life, they can’t make good choices, they should be trained and controlled by adults to survive; love spoils; harshness creates strong humans; independency should be taught; few tears wouldn’t hurt; toddlers are deemed to be horrible; teenagers have to be resentful.

Over ninety percent of our beliefs about children and child-rearing is wrong. We are doing it wrong as parents today, and it has been done wrongfully to us; the children of yesterday who grew up to find ourselves – for nontraumatic or overtly abusive reasons in many cases – struggling in the world.

Throughout my experience as a therapist who worked with children, adults and couples, from the simplest adjustment problems to the clinically diagnosed disorders, in peace and in war under life threatening circumstances, I have found that the health and illness of my clients was always traced back to their early relationship with their parents, to their very first years of life!

Our childhood irreversibly shapes who we are and how we, as adults, communicate with ourselves, the world and others. Everything we struggle with today, every disorder or trait that characterizes us started in our childhood as a defensive mechanism *, as an attempt to survive. The faults of early childhood cannot be just outgrown; they are not easily and automatically changeable, and if they were to change, they require serious and considerable intervention *.

I will embark on this journey with you, relying on the abundance of empirical research provided to us from neuroscience, developmental psychology, and attachment theory, AND the art and enchantment of psychodynamic therapy, meaning therapy, somatic therapy and inner child work. I work from a humanistic and existential frame, focusing on the relationship with the client as the main medium for instigating change and relief.  We will find together how you became who you are, and how you can become the human you want to be. 

Adult Therapy: 

With the holding presence of an empathetic and understanding therapist the client is able to dig deep into their childhood and past trauma to find repetitive themes and patterns that still play a role in their present. Together we identify the client’s attachment style and defensive mechanisms and how they manifest themselves now in ways that block the client’s growth. Humans are like their plant and animal cousins; they are naturally inclined to growth and wellness; they are equipped to aid in their own development and they intuitively seek wholesomeness. At some point in life this process gets hindered by less-than-optimal upbringing, unsupportive environments, coercion, neglect, conditional love and traumatic experiences. We remove these blocks together through building insight and allowing the powerful energy of natural growth to take hold again of the client’s life.

Couples Therapy:

With couples I use EFT (Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy), which identifies the attachment needs of each partner and how those needs swing in an unhealthy tango creating distance and disdain. When the couple are able to identify the problematic patterns with the help of the therapist, we start shifting the tango to a healthier dance, where both partners’ needs are acknowledged and taken care of. 

Parenting Consultations:

I enjoy working with parents on all aspects concerning the care of children ages 0 to adolescence. My approach is not mainstream, I focus on attachment parenting and I use the relationship between parents and child as the main tool for discipline. I encourage following the child’s lead and trusting them in taking control over their lives and bodies. No training of any type is necessary, nature already knows the way. 

Languages: English & Arabic