Mark J Goodman: Mindfulness-Based, Heart Centered Psychotherapy
Hello and welcome to my website My name is Mark Goodman. I am a Seattle-based therapist specializing in mindfulness-based, body-oriented, compassion-centered psychotherapy. I am passionate about mindfulness and the power of mindfulness to transform people’s lives. I work with people who are looking for help with depression, anxiety, trauma, and relationship issues as well as people simply facing the existential questions of how to find meaningful and fulfillment in a human life. I work with individuals, couples and families with grown children. I am affirming and welcoming to all forms of neurodiversity and to all expressions of gender and sexual identity. If you are looking for support on your healing journey toward a more soulful and joyful life, this just might be the place.
It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work and when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey.
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
Meet Mark J Goodman
I am a white, cisgender, Jewish man (he/him). I was born in Massachusetts and moved to the Seattle area in the 1990’s. I am married and have two daughters. I acknowledge that I live and work on the unceded traditional, ancestral lands of the Coast Salish peoples, specifically the first people of Seattle, the Duwamish people, past and present and honor with deep gratitude the land and Duwamish tribe. I recognize the stewardship of this land by the Coast Salish people since time immemorial and the disruption of this work by colonialization.
I am a certified Hakomi therapist and Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the State of Washington where I have maintained a private practice for over 20 years. I was a faculty member at The Leadership Institute of Seattle (LIOS) program for 8 years in the MA degree program training future therapists, coaches, and consultants. I have also trained in and taught Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) classes in the community.
In the early years of his practice, I was a founding member of the Freedom Project whose stated mission was to help prisoners transition into peacemakers by bringing workshops on mindfulness and Nonviolent Communication (NVC) into Washington State Prisons.
I have a BA in English and American Literature from Brown University as well as a MAT (MA of Teaching) from Tufts University. I also earned my MA in Applied Behavioral Science from the LIOS program at Bastyr University.
Before I was a therapist, I taught 7th, 8th and 10th grade English in two different middle and high schools in New Jersey. From that experience I carry a deep love of literature, archetypes, myth, art, beauty, poetry, and anything, really, that helps us touch soul and the deeper, more invisible realms of human experience.
I also have developed through my own practice and sharing the practice with others, a deep appreciation for mindfulness and the capacity it has to help us live more authentically, consciously, and joyfully. I consider mindfulness the very center of my life and am always looking for ways of integrating mindfulness practices with psychotherapy.
The boundary to what we can accept is the boundary to our freedom.
Mindfulness and Focusing
Mindfulness is the very center of my approach and, actually, the very center of my life. Mindfulness is an ancient contemplative practice of meeting each moment with awareness, acceptance and non-judgment. It is a way cultivating a faith in the unfolding, organic processes of our aliveness. My 25 year practice of mindfulness through meditation and through just being more and more awake in my life has led to greater joy in my life, less reactivity, greater freedom, and deeper capacity to love and be loved.
Mindfulness provides the container in which good therapy and profound healing can happen. Most of my training and curiosities have been around how mindfulness can be used as a healing modality and a way of living a healthy, fulfilling and soulful life.
My most recent training has been an exploration of Eugene Gendlin’s FOCUSING. Gendlin worked alongside Carol Roger’s in the 1960’s and did research exploring what differentiated effective outcomes in therapy from ineffective ones. He found that the key factor was whether a client was actually in touch with the “felt sense” of their experience in a moment-to-moment way or whether they were just reporting on their life from a distance. The “felt sense” as he saw it was the murky edge of experience coming into being. He had this conviction that if a client could be in touch with the moment-to-moment felt sense of a problem or an experience, a place of stuckness and pain, then within that experience, frozen places could melt and flow and new life and new possibilities become apparent. The paradox of this way of working is that within the experience of the pain and stuckness is the tendrils of new life. Life wants to move forward if we can pay attention in a way that allows us to get out of the way and let life flow.
This work seems such a powerful adaptation of mindfulness and is the underpinnings of a lot of other body-mind modalities that I love and practice, whether that be Hakomi, Internal Family Systems, or any other body-oriented, experience-near practices I work with. I would say that mindfulness and FOCUSING are the lineages of practice that inform all the other ways I practice. There is an inherent assumption in these practices that life processes are wise and if I, as the therapist, can approach a person without an agenda and trust the wisdom of life, then life processes know how to heal and move toward wholeness. My job is to create a container so those processes can do what they know to do. As the poet, Mary Oliver says in her beautiful poem Wild Geese, I need to “Let the soft animal of the body love what it loves.”
Below is a description of Hakomi, one of the ways I apply mindfulness to therapy. With any modality I use, I am guided by the idea that the map is not the territory and all these modalities are beautiful and useful maps but I never want the map to be in the way of what is actually happening in the arising moment in front of me. Therapy is a mysterious, alive, improvisational dance with life and with my client and I want to be available for that dance at all times.
Hakomi is a mindfulness-based, body-oriented psychotherapy. Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to our moment to moment experience in a non-judgmental way; it is a way of listening to our experience and being connected to ourselves and to our lives. The idea here is that much of our suffering is a result of unconscious beliefs and habits. Hakomi is a way of gently accessing those unconscious habits of mind and behavior, bringing them into conscious awareness, so they can be known and modified.
A Hakomi therapist listens and observes very closely your non-verbal behavior, such as tone of voice, gestures, postures, facial expressions and micro-movements. The body is the doorway into the unconscious so in this way the therapist can get to know how your unconscious is controlling your behavior and beliefs. From these observations the therapist can come up with little experiments, often a simple movement or a statement, that are done while the client is in a mindful state. In this way, very gently, unconscious material, beliefs, memories, and feelings, can be uncovered, accessed and worked with.
Sessions move from everyday conversations to doing these little experiments in mindfulness where a client gets to study themselves, doing internal self-exploration, paying attention to body sensations and emotional mind states. Hakomi is experiential in the sense that we are not talking about something or intellectually analyzing something, but we are accessing an actual experience, a wound, a limiting belief systems and in accessing it we come to know it consciously. This allows for the possibility of more freedom and choice. These internal, unconscious habit patterns can be known and different choices can then be made. Thus, unhealthy and unhelpful beliefs that have run our lives unconsciously can then be challenged, changed and healed.
In Hakomi, unlike other forms of therapy, there is much more sitting in silence, going inside, listening internally, noticing a response to something, being curious and surprised. It is not an ordinary conversation, but a way of working to help a client know their experience on a more and more intimate basis. Hakomi takes place in a compassionate and loving environment because such a container creates the safety for mindfulness and for vulnerable wounds and mind states to emerge. Thus, Hakomi is a nourishing therapy and creates the possibility for missing experiences, experiences that the client did not get while growing up and experiences that might be needed for healing and wholeness to be found.
All Appointments are $170.00 for a 60 minute session. I am not on any insurance panels but can provide with with a monthly superbill for out of network reimbursement. You will have to check with your insurance perovider to see what kind of out of network coverage they offer for psychotherapy.
I believe our pain is a gift. A terrible gift, but a gift, nonetheless. Suffering arises when we see it as otherwise, when we hide from our pain and hide our pain from others. This kind of thinking and acting leads to separation from others and from our deepest essence. Counseling and healing are about approaching these cut off parts of ourselves and re-membering them, making space for them in our bodies and in our lives. As we heal we stop running from these parts of ourselves and learn to integrate them.
Thus, much of my work is about creating a safe enough space for you to compassionately welcome all of yourself back into your heart, even the parts of you that you find ugly or painful or difficult. It is counter-intuitive, but it is in turning toward the parts of ourselves that we have been avoiding that creates healing and the possibility of change. Integration, wholeness and lasting change can only happen when the parts of you that you have sent into exile find a home and a place to belong within you.
I consider myself a mindfulness-based therapist meaning I focus on what is happening for you in the present moment. It will be our ability to have an authentic human-to-human connection in the present moment while in the therapy session that will allow for healing. As your therapist I will invite you to learn to be more in the present moment, which is where you can access your own wisdom and answers and where the stuck places from the past can be resolved.
In all if this I am informed by the best practices of Western Psychology as well as the ancient contemplative practices of the East. Eastern practices emphasize a radical acceptance of our actual experience, the way things are, and ending the war we often have with each unfolding moment. In coming to open to and accept each moment as it is, we begin to develop more self-compassion, clarity of mind, acceptance and a greater capacity to handle with lightness and curiosity the challenges of our changing lives.
I have had extensive training in Nonviolent Communication (NVC)™, Mindfulness Meditation, Family Systems Theory, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR--Based on the work and research of Jon Kabat-Zinn), Internal Family Systems, and Self-Relations therapy based on the work and writings of Stephen Gilligan, a student of Milton Erickson. I also have experience and familiarity with and deep respect for 12 step recovery work. My most recent training has been a 2 year immersion in learning Hakomi as well as a deep dive into the work of Eugene Gendlin and Focusing.
NVC & Couples Therapy
Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is a model of communication that empowers us to speak and listen in a way that is most likely to inspire compassion and to keep us connected to our own and each other's basic humanity. It is a language that helps us stay in touch with the natural compassion at the core of the human heart. It was developed by Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D, who was a student of Carl Rogers, and has been taught all over the world for the past thirty years.
My couples work is deeply informed by my experience and practice of NVC. More and more I am seeing that if people can find a way of connecting and really hearing and understanding one another, then any conflict, however big, can be resolved. And I am seeing that if people cannot find a way of meeting heart-to-heart and connecting then any conflict, no matter how small, will result in separation and pain. My work as a couples therapist ia about helping people remove the barriers that get in the way of connecting in this way and supporting people to stay in the fire of difficult conversations long enough so that such a heart connection can be formed.
As people in relationship, we are often threatened by our differences. I am seeing that when people stay in these conversations about difference then the relationship grows strong enough to tolerate such difference and intimacy and closeness deepen. I am always struck by both the sacredness of such work and the courage of my clients to do this work.
As a former English teacher and poet, I also have a passion for words. I was drawn to NVC because it was a way of using words and communication to transform our relationship with self and others, a way of remaking the world through remaking language. I am passionate about finding different ways of meeting differences, whether the differences are between people, communities or nations, or whether the differences and conflicts exist in our very own hearts.
I provide mindfulness-based, holistic supervision. I will help you bring a mindfulness lens and perspective to your cases so that you can actually work in the here and now, work experientially, where, I believe, true healing and growth can happen most effectively. I will also help you look honestly at yourself. Often, cases where you are stuck point to unhealed parts of yourself that need attention before the work with the particular client can move forward. That is why I call myself a holistic supervisor, because I believe it serves your clients to do your own work. I do not limit supervision to only case consultation, but given that the self of the therapist is one of the biggest factors in the change process with a client, I believe healing the self and looking at your own wounds is an important part of supervision. One of the things I love about this profession is that we cannot cheat, that if we do not do our own work, then it shows up in our work with clients, it shows up in the stuck places in our cases. So, I support you, as my supervisee, to do your own work and to bring your raw vulnerability, your mistakes, your insecurities and fear and your full humanity to supervision so you can heal and grow and thus serve your clients much more effectively.
The tighter you hold on, the more the rope burns
210-1/5 West Galer Street
Seattle, WA 98119