Philosophy of Therapy

"Little by little, one travels far.”
-JRR Tolkien


Therapy at a Glance:

Therapy can be difficult and frustrating, but, it can also be fun, interesting, and extraordinarily rewarding!!! Developing new insights, skills, and capacities can lead to wiser decision-making, coping with stress more effectively, and having stronger, more fulfilling, relationships. Therapy is a reliable vehicle for facilitating transformative changes in how a person thinks, feels, and relates to self, others, and even God. Psychotherapy literally means “soul healing.” At its best, psychotherapy is holistic ~ strengthening the mind, heart, body, and spirit. Greater love, joy, peace, wisdom, and purpose are some of the fruits of good therapy.

The following writing, is to help you get a sense of me and to offer a brief description of how I understand therapy as promoting healing, growth, and change. This is a simplified picture! What therapy will look like for you will of course depend upon you and your interests, needs, and specific situation, and how hard you are willing to work to bring about constructive change into your life. Each type of therapy that I provide (individual, couples, family, and group therapy) is different. That being said, my approach to healing is a form of depth psychology which seeks to bring about lasting change by increasing self awareness in the context of a life-giving therapeutic relationship or relationships (e.g., group therapy). Therefore, regardless of the type of therapy experienced, I view insight and relationship as 2 key-interwoven factors which support significant grow and change.


My real love is new understanding”-psychoanalyst, Heinz Kohut

In order to solve a problem, one must first understand it. “What’s the problem?” is often one of the first questions I will ask a client during our first meeting together. Identifying and working through the specific problems and issues which are hindering your life and relationships is generally what therapy is all about. Moreover, helping you to understand the underlying causes of your difficulties is essential. Unhealthy thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and relationship patterns tend to get repeated if they are not fully understood and worked through at a deep level. Gaining a deeper understanding of how your own mind works (i.e., figuring out what exactly is triggering unwanted symptoms like depression, anxiety, and conflict in relationships) will help you to feel and live better.


It’s the relationship that heals, the relationship that heals, the relationship that heals—my professional rosary”   –practicing psychiatrist, Irvin Yalom

Relationships which effect the most change are the ones in which we are "simultaneously deeply engaged, challenged, and supported."1 Through illuminating interactions with myself and/or other therapy participants you will learn more fully about what's holding you back from being able to relate more effectively with yourself and others. Relationships have a powerful way of activating what pains us, what we're afraid and conflicted about (e.g., competing feelings, thoughts, strong desires, wishes, needs.) Relationships which provide the security and freedom to really explore these deeper aspects of one's self are the meaningful relationships which heal. Moreover, cognitive insight alone, about one's particular psychology, is rarely enough to bring about lasting change. Simply being told that one's thoughts are irrational and one's behavior is self-defeating typically doesn't guarantee healthier thoughts and actions. In order to truly form healthier thoughts, feelings, and actions a new healthier model of relationship needs to be experienced and internalized. As a phenomenal psychology professor once shared with his psycholgy students, "A person will choose life when they are able to internalize a healthy relationship."

[1] Daniel J. Siegel and Marion F. Solomon (2003) Healing Trauma: Attachment, Mind, Body, Brain (p.232)


Clients Who Report the Most Progress Often:

  • Come to therapy consistently 1 or 2x per week
  • Value therapy as an important aspect of their lives
  • Use what they learn outside of therapy
  • Are as open and honest as possible about what’s truly bothering them
  • Assume personal responsibility when necessary
  • Are engaged in life and relationships outside of therapy

Contact Me:

Shannon Gilbride, MFT

(619) 849-0014

(619) 584-5644

170 Calle Magdalena
Encinitas, CA 92024

P.O. Box 217
Cardiff, CA 92007