Richard Mungall, MSW
Registered Associate Clinical Social Worker #77131
“You’re perfect - and you could use a little improvement”. -Suzuki Roshi, founder of San Francisco Zen Center.
I found my way to this work when I discovered the limits of my meditation practice to transform my ordinary suffering. While through my practice I became very present to “life as it is”, too often my vitality was blocked. Intuitively I knew that there was an aliveness trying to burst its way out of me while not knowing quite how. Embodied, holistic psychotherapy changed everything.
“The only way out is through”. -Mark Epstein.
While we all come in with ideas of things we want to fix, a non-violent approach to therapy honors, supports and safely contains our experiences so they can naturally unfold. Our symptoms act as invitations by drawing us closer to our “prisoners”, those inner parts that have been locked away. Perhaps we were taught certain parts were wrong or bad. Or we may have had experiences that were simply too much to tolerate at the time - trauma - stored away to be processed at a later date. But when we peel back the curtain what we discover is often surprising: our marginalized parts may contain our most beautiful gifts. Symptoms and struggles we once turned away from become our greatest teachers.
While psychotherapy inevitably focuses on the nuts and bolts of our daily experience, my approach is rooted in Eastern wisdom traditions and social justice perspectives which recognize the inseparability of our lives. Everything counts at every level, both inside and outside. For instance, we may be working on your anxiety around a specific experience, but at the same time it may also be a result of systemic oppression, an artifact of your childhood family system and culture, and a window into your deeper spiritual relationship with fear itself. With “beginner’s mind” we suspend judgments and collaborate to see the whole picture of how things really are for you.
As the work progresses we can’t always say in some linear way what has changed, but we know in our bodies that we are slowly moving from fixity to flow. Our insight increases. Our hearts expand and our relationships spontaneously deepen. We discover increased resiliency with strong emotional states. We become more curious and playful. We feel the world more. We have more trust in our lives. Our vitality shimmers and expands.
“I don’t think we are looking for meaning - I think we are looking for the experience of being alive!!” -Joseph Campbell.
While we thought we wanted to become more like someone else, what we really wanted was to more fully become who we already are.
I specialize in the following areas:
Mindfulness: I’ve spent 15 years in meditation training and teaching. Mindfulness is a “container” of awareness which helps us to slow down and see our experiences more clearly. I bring these centuries-old practices of personal awareness, peace and transformative connection into my work with clients. I have a strong interest in working with those engaged in a variety of spiritual practices from more traditional approaches to altered states of consciousness and indigenous traditions.
Somatic Experiencing®: SE is a powerful model based on an understanding of our nervous system and fight/flight/freeze responses, which are happening to us all the time in large and small ways. Using body sensations, SE can help unlock difficult and stuck material including pre-verbal, repressed and intergenerational traumas of which we have no cognitive memory. (See my profile on the SE website).
Processwork: Inspired by both the colorful work of Carl Jung and indigenous traditions, processwork pays subtle attention to your whole experience, including conscious and unconcious body movements, your many internal parts, images, sounds, fantasies, dreams, body symptoms, and your relationships to your lovers, friends, family and society.
Non-Violent Communication: NVC is a simple but powerful communication model which can help us to see our contributions to conflicts and be used successfully with any relationship. A surprising number of conflicts have less to do with Big Differences and more to do with basic communication issues. I often use NVC in my work with couples.
I work with individuals, couples and adolescents. I can offer meditation instruction and a plethora of resources for you to engage with your journey outside of our sessions.
I have experience in and enjoy working with:
• Those experiencing anxiety, depression, obsessions, phobias or recovering from substance use
• Trauma, both shock trauma and developmental trauma (abandonment, poor attachment, etc)
• Body/somatic symptoms including recurrent headaches, stomach pain and muscle tension
• Men who want to question the emotional prison of the "man box"
• Meditation, yoga, and other spiritual practitioners, and the issue of spiritual bypassing
• Artists, actors and athletes, and their various life transitions
• Couples with difficulties in communication, intimacy, infidelity and personal traumas
• Diverse/mixed cultural backgrounds, including immigrants and children of immigrants
• Adolescents in distress – it’s not just “rebellion”!
• Activists and those that struggle with patriarchy, militarism, and an ecocidal economic system, among other things
My clinical training at Columbia University focused on relational and psychodynamic approaches with individuals and couples through a critical social justice lens. I also intuitively draw upon my life experiences in the arts, creative body movement, and my extensive travels including living abroad. Before moving to the Bay Area I practiced at a diverse non-profit clinic in Manhattan. I love bike riding, reading, writing, dancing, and my meditation practices.
444 34th St.
Oakland, California 94609
842 California St.
San Francisco, California 94108
- Individual Therapy
- Couples Therapy
- Child & Adolescent Therapy
My full rate is $150 for 50-minute sessions and $180 for a 75-minute couples session, with sliding scale spaces available. Please contact me with any financial concerns you have.
Please contact me for a free 20-minute, absolutely-no-pressure phone consultation to explore your interests and needs. Regardless of whether you ultimately choose to work with me, I can be a compass point for your journey.
Rawna Romero, MFT #41466