As a psychotherapist I am interested in transformation.  Whatever it is that brings you to therapy, be it a depression, anxiety, bad relationship, personal illness or addiction, I see it as an opportunity for transformation.  Transformation goes beyond fixing, healing, curing, or managing symptoms.  Transformation restores the entire system to a state of balance and wholeness resulting in a permanent increase in well being and connection.

Reflection Versus Reality

One of the principles that I live by is that our outside world is a mirror of our inside world. There is so much evidence supporting this fact that I don’t want to say much about it here. The importance of this concept for therapy is that we can use what is showing up around us as information for healing ourselves.  

Our experience of reality is extremely dependent upon our perception of reality and our perception of reality is deeply rooted in our core beliefs about who we are in relationship to self, others and the world.  Most of these beliefs are unconscious and were formed before the age of three.  The strongest and most damaging core beliefs are the result of trauma and are designed to keep our young dependent self from realizing what is actually going on. These beliefs protect our relationship with our caregivers over our relationship with our true self. 

An example of unconscious beliefs forming reality:   A client came in ranting and raving about “those idiot drivers.”  This was a common complaint of hers.  As we explored her emotional response to these drivers it came to light that she was the youngest of five much older children and her experience as a child was that everyone did everything better than her and her mother often reacted to her lack of skill with impatience and intolerance.  This painful response had been suppressed and was now being acted out unconsciously on other drivers.  Once she made that connection and reintegrated the suppressed pain associated with it, her own sense of confidence increased and amazingly, all those bad drivers disappeared!

Do you think it has something To Do With Your Mother? 

My clients laugh at how often I innocently inquire, "Do you think this has something to do with your mother?"  They threaten to put a bumpersticker to that effect on my car.

Humorous and even overused as it may be, the developmental facts are pretty clear--most of our chronic personal issues are rooted in our formative relationship with our mother because the quality of this primary relationship forms the foundation of our relationship with ourself. 

Relax!  This doesn't mean we have to make your mother bad.  It does mean that achieving good mental health is dependent on you discerning the truth versus fiction of your unconscious beliefs about your relationship with your mother.

How Much Does A Three-Year-Old Understand? 

Our capacity to fully understand reality before the age of three is quite limited.  Although we are perceptive and sensitive little beings we have not yet achieved adequate cognitive abilities to understand adult behavior.  That limitation does not stop us from interpreting our world and unfortunately forming very strong ideas about ourself as a result.  Part of our limitation is that we are still ego-centric and experience everything as being about us.  If Mom is mad, it is my fault.  I immediately respond in ways to get back into her good graces which usually includes some version of seeing my self as bad and then trying very hard to be good.  Making our self bad is experienced as abandonment by the self and requires us to disconnect from our authentic being.

Trauma and Core Beliefs

When a child feels rejected by his mother, whether or not he is being rejected, he is experiencing trauma.  Trauma is stored in the brain very differently than non-traumatic events.  The brain walls off trauma in order to stabilize the system.  This is good for keeping us alive and sane, but it freezes these events in time and they do not get updated with “new” information.  Like Vietnam War Veterans who 20 years after the war ended were still diving under tables when a car backfired, traumatic events are stuck in time.  Something as innocent as your wife raising her eyebrow the way your mother did when she was going to get mad at you, can elicit an unconscious reaction that is rooted in your three-year-old relationship with mom.  This is exactly why many husbands and wives fight over meaningless stuff.  Unconsciously, they have perceived something threatening and are reacting to that, not to the current situation.

My Work, My Art, My Passion

Bringing these early beliefs and strategies to the light of present day awareness is my work as a therapist.  Transforming them into more realistic approaches that are intimately connected and supportive of your relationship with self is my art and my passion!  This process doesn’t require that you remember past events from your childhood.  Your childhood is all around you in your present day experiences.  All we have to do is pay attention to what is going on now and connect the dots.  Once we realize that we have discovered a core belief, there are many ways to address it. 

How I Do It

I approach each client with a holistic framework that includes body, mind and soul.  I use transformational techniques that address mental health from a holistic perspective. Everything I do as a therapist is based in an extensive education of human psychological development.  

I bring all of myself to our sessions.  I listen with my entire being, not just to your words but to your body and to the feelings in the room and to any wisdom or insight that might be available to us for healing and understanding.  Once I understand what it is you want, I commit my full intention to helping you achieve your goal.  This level of engagement often brings in surprising information that greatly enhances our progress.

Come in and see for yourself!  To view my services and book an appointment, please press here.

Contact Information

Email: Barbara Eggenberger  


Barbara Eggenberger, MFT
 1905 22nd Street
 Sacramento, CA  95816

Jungian Counseling Center
 7110 SW Fir Loop, Ste. 250
 Portland, OR  97223