Lynndal Daniels is a licensed marriage and family therapist and board certified coach who runs his own private practice in San Francisco, CA, working both in-person and online.
When asked what drove him toward a career in mental health, Lynndal stated something most therapists can relate deeply with: “It was a burning need to understand myself and what I was doing with my life.” He recalled sitting with his first client and feeling affirmed in his choice, having an awareness that this profession, for him, answered that “perennial question, ‘What do you want to do when you grow up?’”
Lynndal graduated from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, now known as Sofia University, in Palo Alto, CA with a Master’s in Counseling Psychology. “One of my biggest regrets,” he says, “is that I am ABD (“All But Dissertation”) in their PhD program. I’ll blame that on the .com boom that happened as I was working in that direction and which took me along for the ride.”
Currently, Lynndal works primarily with adult individuals and couples. While he doesn’t have a niche, per se, he does specialize in how he works.
“I’m heavily influenced by a theory of behavior called Perceptual Control Theory, which I sometimes explain as the ‘Goldilocks’ theory of behavior – we all want things to be just right. This theory emphasizes client agency, including allowing clients to choose when and how often to see their therapist. So, I have a practice model that I call an ‘as needed’ practice that is intentionally set up to see clients only when they want to be seen. Many decide to come weekly and others come occasionally. But it’s up to them. My practice is also mostly done via online video,” he explains.
As a supervisor, Lynndal lists his top three values as self-agency, awareness and growth. His goal is to help supervisees navigate their own style and being as a therapist, rather than trying to make someone “be like” or “practice like” him.
He recalls when he was in supervision that his very first supervisor gave him advice he was at first cynical about: “He said, ‘If your clients come back, it’s because they like you.’ Now, given how much more deeply I understand the importance of the therapeutic relationship, I don’t think there’s much better advice to start with.”
When it comes to self-of-the-therapist or countertransference issues, Lynndal leans on mind-body practices and somatic and interoceptive exercises to deepen one’s awareness of what is going on internally.
“In school programs, therapists-in-training generally hear a lot of focus on the therapeutic or interpersonal relationship. What is frequently lacking is an awareness or focus on the intrapersonal… what’s going on inside of them. We can be as affected by our clients as they are by us,” he says.
A common misconception Lynndal sees is how many early therapists think they have to already know what modality they will be working within while still in school, training or associateships.
Rather than committing to a school of thought, he wants supervisees to be aware of the literature on “common factors,” the notion that the tools and techniques may be the least important factor in the success of therapy.
“While having a grounding in a particular modality is important,” he says, “I encourage new therapists to have at least a foot in the water of several waves of therapy (psychodynamic, humanistic, cognitive-behavioral and transpersonal).” He frequently recommends Scott Miller’s work on the common factors and readings on deliberative practice.
A question he likes to ask his supervisees early on is “What is your concept of the theory of change?” In other words, “What do you think creates change in/for your clients?”
“The answer to that question should help define how and why you do the things you do with your clients,” Lynndal says. “There’s no black and white, right or wrong answer to it… but it needs an answer! Otherwise, we’re just throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks.”
Lynndal says there are almost too many professional influences to name, but some of the giants who stick out for him are Carl Rogers, Jung, Adler and Frankl. In keeping with his personal philosophy of self-agency, he notes that he is not out to convert therapists, but he wishes more therapists were aware of two influences, both heavily client-centered, that have greatly impacted his work: First, Perceptual Control Theory and the therapeutic modality that comes from it called The Method of Levels. Second, is David Grove, a therapist from New Zealand, who developed a way of questioning called Clean Language, which almost solely uses the client’s own language.
“When I first worked with these two frames of reference, I experienced being able to be present with my clients without having to worry about the next great intervention or comment I needed to make,” he says.
Other resources Lynndal highly recommends checking out are Jon Frederickson’s Facebook page on Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy, and the The Feeling Good podcast by David D. Burns.
“While not everyone is a CBT fan,” Lynndal acknowledges, “Burns’ work on resistance and the positive things symptoms can reveal about clients is worth knowing for all therapists.”
In terms of providing supervision online, Lynndal shares that he began to specialize in online therapy several years ago and experimented with many, if not most, of the platforms out there designed for clinicians. He was impressed with Motivo as a unique resource in a sea of virtual tools. “I believe online therapy and online supervision are going to continue growing and to a large extent may become more common/popular than in-person work. It’s convenient, confidential and effective.”
We’d love to introduce you to Lynndal through a free, 30-minute video call. Click here to let us know if you’re interested in connecting with him or one of our Motivo team members.
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