Welcome! This site has been created to highlight an evolving new way of understanding human experience and helping people with their problems. Identity Renegotiation is a unique approach to working with individuals, couples, and families. IR concepts are being applied in clinics, workplaces, schools, and communities. Through this website you can arrange for counseling and/or professional training based on this new model.
A Helping Approach for Postmodern Times
It is now over 100 years since professional counseling and psychotherapy were created. This “modern” field, designed for the urban middle class in Europe and the U.S., reflected that time:
- Economies were growing and the new "nuclear family" was highly valued.
- Marriage was essentially mandatory.
- Divorce was not an option.
- Sexuality was seen as a universal problem caused by repression.
- Individuals were seen as separate, self-directed, and hidden from themselves and others.
- Individual problems were attributed to inner conflicts.
- Helping was defined as a process of uncovering repressed parts of the self.
In the present time, a period that has been called “postmodern,” conditions have changed. Birth control technologies have changed sexual experience. Electronic media and ease of travel have increased cross-fertilization among cultures. Many economies are shrinking. At the same time, the Euro-Western ideal of the separate “self,” dating back to classical Greece, has been challenged. An ancient image of a Relational Self--a person whose life is intertwined with others, who is responsible not only for self but for the social group--fits better with contemporary experiences of global interdependence.
In a world where difference is a constant—-difference of gender, race, culture, class, ability, age, sexual orientation—-understandings and skills for collaborating with others are the most basic needs. In counseling, education, and other human service fields, the concepts of Identity Renegotiation are intended to address these needs.
Goals of Identity Renegotiation Counseling
Identity Renegotiation offers a supportive framework for understanding people’s problems and a plan for organizing the helping process. Identity Renegotiation Counseling (IRC) works by helping people to:
(1) View their lives in terms of universal themes of complexity, continuity and change;
(2) Value differences, seeing the strengths in conflicting viewpoints;
(3) Appreciate universal human needs for validation and support;
(4) Become more sensitive to ways in which people coordinate thoughts, behavior, and feelings;
(5) Develop skills for collaborating to achieve mutually desired changes; and
(6) Reduce problems by renegotiating identities with loved ones, colleagues, co-workers, and larger communities.
Structure of Identity Renegotiation Counseling
The goals of Identity Renegotiation Counseling can be addressed individually, in groups, and as couples and families.
One at a time or together, people can be helped in traditional face-to-face settings or through online connections.
Text-based (chat, IM, and e-mail) technologies are especially helpful.
Readings and homework exercises are often helpful for clients as they begin to change their ways of thinking and acting.
This site provides readings for clients and professionals; handouts and worksheets related to IRC; records of audio and visual presentations; and information on scheduling counseling, training, and supervision either face-to-face or online.