Charles Couchman, Ph.D. (he/him)
Austin & Throughout Texas
Over 25 years of practice, I have seen again and again how therapy can help people move from fear, disconnection, and stuckness to aliveness, greater self-acceptance, and an increased ability to engage in healthy relationships and take effective action in the world.
Ideally, therapy is a place where people can bring their full selves, without shame or judgment. I feel honored to accompany people as they take risks, open up, and make changes during our work together.
My practice is focused on helping people:
Overcome mental health concerns, including depression, anxiety, and self-esteem issues
Develop healthier, more fulfilling relationships
Make lasting change to self-defeating behaviors
Come to terms with painful past experiences
Adjust to transitions and major life changes, including separations and loss
Increase vitality and sense of meaning in life
Live with authenticity, be one’s true self
Fight back against internal obstacles such as shame, self-criticism, fears, and inhibitions
Develop emotional mindfulness: awareness of and comfort with one’s feelings
I have a specialty in the emotional effects of the climate emergency (often called eco-anxiety or eco-distress), the politics of emotion, and living under conditions of domination and exploitation. I believe it is important to recognize the external realities that affect us and to be empowered to address these issues in accord with our authentic selves.
I value multiculturalism and diversity; it is important to me that therapy be a welcoming place for everyone.
I provide individual and group psychotherapy for adults (at least age 18), as well as consultation and training to other mental health professionals.
My approach is informed by Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP), a form of experiential dynamic therapy (EDT). ISTDP is a more active form of psychodynamic therapy that puts a focus on emotional experience. ISTDP has been shown to be an effective form of treatment for many concerns (for overviews, check out EDT Research and The Efficacy of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy). I have also been influenced by relational dynamic and Gestalt approaches to psychotherapy.
My goal as a therapist is to help people become more comfortable with the full range of their emotions. I try to join my clients in their feelings, doing my best to understand and be present with their experience. I actively challenge the defenses people use to avoid feeling. I often invite my clients to more directly contact their feelings by using a somatic focus, attending to how emotions are experienced in the body. I sometimes bring in experiential exercises to help my clients move towards their emotions. I also make use of the here-and-now and the therapy relationship because feelings are always happening right now, and almost always the most important feelings are about other people.
Follow this link for my thoughts on the importance of emotion.
I obtained my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Rochester in New York. I have worked at the University of Southern California and at the St. Edward’s University Health & Counseling Center in Austin, Texas. I have been heavily involved in training, supervision, and mentorship of therapists-in-training, serving as the Director of Training while at St. Edward’s. I have a passion for group therapy, as well. I served as Group Therapy Coordinator at St. Edward’s and have led numerous all-gender process groups, men’s groups, and groups specifically for therapists.
I am regularly involved in professional development and am professionally active. I participate in a weekly ISTDP consultation group and my ongoing training has focused on ISTDP, group psychotherapy, and climate psychology. I am a past board member of the Austin Group Psychotherapy Society and a member of Austin Psychoanalytic and the Climate Psychology Alliance North America, with whom I am registered as a climate-aware therapist. I present professionally on topics related to mental health, psychotherapy, the importance of emotion to climate action, and the politics of emotion.
In the activist realm, I am an organizer with Extinction Rebellion Austin and provide regenerative services to activists and environmental groups. I have spoken on climate anxiety and the politics of emotion at public rallies for the climate emergency.
Click here for a transcript of my remarks at the Rally for the Climate Emergency at the Texas State Capital.