Hello, my name is Sean Brosnan and here are some professional facts about me: I earned my Bachelor of Arts in London, England at The Royal School of Speech and Drama, and I earned my Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University in Los Angeles. I also studied Psychoanalysis at the prestigious Valley Community Counseling Clinic.
I have worked in the treatment of addiction for over a decade, starting off as a residential advisor and sober companion to eventually starting my own sober living. I aim to help those dealing with addiction, trauma, grief & loss as well as those who are just seeking a higher meaning and a more powerful sense of purpose in their life.
Here are some of my not so professional facts about me to help illuminate the reasons why I am drawn to these specific areas of clinical focus.
I used to be a chronic alcoholic and drug addict, in and out of jails, psych-wards and rehabs. I used to ruminate on thoughts like, I’m a burden, I don’t fit in, why would anyone like me? etc. It wasn’t until I started a deep dive into my past with my counselor that I began to realize that I had what is called complex trauma and I was doing the best I could with what I had in order to cope.
I was severely bullied in Jr. High. I lost my mother at the age of eight to ovarian cancer and my sister to the same disease when I was twenty-nine. When I was sixteen, I was in the pick-up bed of a 1978 Chevy Blazer as my friends and I went barreling off a 250-foot cliff. It took me 13 months before I could walk again. I have been in many toxic relationships thinking that chaos equaled love. None of that is an excuse for my behavior. It wasn't until I learned how to use the tools that allowed me to take radical responsibility for my life and change my narrative that I was able to grow.
I would often hear the words, “if only he could get some control over his life.” The thing is, it’s hard to have self-control when you have no sense of self.
Through my own personal journey and by the grace of God I have been able to develop a united philosophy of mental, physical, and spiritual health that has enabled me to help others find their meaning and purpose as well as aid them on their journey of healing and self-discovery.
In order to really tell you about my approach I have to tell you about some of the clinicians I admire and who’s methodologies and philosophies I utilize not only in my own therapeutic approach but also in my own life.
Carl Rogers was an amazing psychotherapist and psychologist who founded humanistic psychology. He believed that people are able to achieve self-actualization (the realization or fulfillment of one's talents and potentialities) they must be in a state of congruence. This means that self-actualization occurs when a person's “ideal self” (i.e., who they would like to be) is congruent with their actual behavior (self-image). Carl Rogers believes (as do I) that in order for a person to "grow", they need an environment that provides them with genuineness, acceptance, and empathy. All of this is the bedrock of a healthy and good therapeutic relationship, the foundation on which I believe we need to establish before any real and lasting work can be achieved.
Victor Frankel’s logotherapy which states that human beings need a sense of meaning in order to live healthy productive lives. My goal is to help you find the potential for meaning in all situations no matter how painful and without judgment. Frankel states that there are 3 areas in which meaning can be found. 1. In another person (I would also put animals here as well) 2. In a vocation and 3. In suffering. We get to utilize Frankel’s idea whilst examining your history, exploring your future and accepting the present.
Carl Jung and his depth psychology is the third pillar of my approach with a heavy emphasis on shadow work. Shadow work aims to make the unconscious conscious. The shadow exists as part of the unconscious mind and is composed of repressed ideas, weaknesses, desires, instincts, and shortcomings. Here’s a fun fact, 95 percent of brain activity is unconscious, which means that 95% of your habits and patterns, automatic body function, creativity, emotions, personality, beliefs and values, cognitive biases, and long-term memories are running on auto pilot. I believe it’s our job to become aware of these programmed behaviors in order to see which ones serve us and which ones need to be burnt off. I use the word burnt because such a process can be painful. But no one said therapy was supposed to be all snow cones and rainbows. This work isn’t for the faint of heart.
To sum it up, I believe in a real and authentic therapeutic relationship. One built on trust, meaning and fearless examination.