Presence Therapy is a therapy approach developed by John Howard, LPC, LMFT that focuses on inclusion, present-moment skill-building, and an existential framework for personal and relationship growth. Beginning in 2018, John saw a need for an approach to couples therapy that integrates the latest neuroscience-based methodologies while simplifying the actions and theory of the treating clinician. Based on his many years as a leading couples therapist and experience treating hundreds of couples, John recognized certain powerful methods that could be learned and practiced by other couples therapists. These methods include a focus on the relational dynamic in the present moment as a microcosm of larger relational patterns, dynamic and experiential skill-building to enhance implicit working systems, a truly collaborative process consisting of teamwork, joint responsibility and co-regulation, and a framework for individual maturing and growth through the relational process.
Partners practice being fully present with one another, tracking, and co-regulating. Evidence of skill needs to be shown, not just discussed. There is an emphasis on inviting care and being immediate in attending to misattunements.
Relationship health is defined in terms of integrity of connection resulting from psychological openness, flexibility and resilience that is inclusive of differences and diversity. A spiritual notion of finding unity in multiplicity is at the core of the model. The approach is accepting and inclusive of LGBTQ+ couples and non-traditional relationship lifestyles.
In terms of methodology, the therapist creates practice opportunities and role plays based on needed skill to address insecure behaviors. There is a focus on developing intimacy in the here and now, building implicit skill in the process. Presence Therapy is comprehensive and can serve as a hub of treatment in that it includes medical model diagnostics with interpersonal, systemic, neurobiologically-informed and experiential therapy. The self as well as the relationship is seen as an organism through which energy flows and can be observed, developing awareness that increases neuroceptive safety.
The model is willing to engage both personal and relational issues as needed, and refers and collaborates with additional specialists deemed helpful to the growth of partners.
Presence Therapy is taught in a seminar and study group format allowing clinicians to understand the theory and practice the methodology experientially. Registration occurs through Austin Professional Counseling. Please call our office to inquire about the training.