Tools for Authentic Living in a Stress-filled World: Holistic Psychotherapist Yudit Maros
May 05, 2015 11:17PM
By Nicole Miale
As a teenager in Hungary, Yudit Maros already knew she wanted to be a psychologist when she grew up. Dissuaded at first by cultural pressure from pursuing her goal, she instead obtained degrees in cultural anthropology and French literature. Even then, her true passion showed itself; she did her thesis on authenticity in the writings of Jean-Paul Sartre.
“I am now and have always been fascinated by this concept of authenticity,” Maros says. “So it was only natural that when I did finally become a psychotherapist, my work would bring me around to the very same issue. What authenticity means is being guided from the inside by your own thoughts and feelings instead of external expectations or even your own judgments about what you should do.”
Maros came to the United States in 1986 to work on her doctorate in comparative literature. It was then she was awakened by tragic loss and embarked on the path back to psychotherapy. “My mother and advisor passed away within months of each other,” she says. “Everything collapsed for me, personally and professionally. I had to re-evaluate everything. And I went back to the beginning, to what I knew when I was young I really wanted to do.”
She earned her master’s degree at the University of Connecticut and worked as a successful therapist in private practice for many years in northeastern Connecticut. Now relocating to Ridgefield, she released a book earlier this year, Apple of My I: The Four Practices of Self-Love, which details the principles of her authenticity process. The book, which Maros calls a “user’s manual for inner guidance,” is the result of seven years of inquiry and notetaking about the process she used in therapy with her clients.
“I knew there must be a pattern to the healing I saw in my patients because people were getting better,” Maros explains. “I just didn’t know why. So I set out to look for the common denominators, to better understand how I was helping people and what was working. What I discovered during the seven years of inquiry not only became the basis for the book, but also transformed my practice from being effective but accidental to much more intentional.”
What Maros discovered is that health – physical, emotional, mental, spiritual – boils down to positive self-parenting and an individual’s ability to tune into inner wisdom carried in the body. This ability is instinctive and natural, yet frequently lost or overshadowed by external teachings and factors. Maros explains that society has evolved to the point where basic needs are usually met, but the brain still reacts to situations as if they are emergencies. This reactivity was useful when war, famine and poverty were the norm, but now it is working against your health.
“When sheer survival is not actually a problem, your brain and cognitive functions become fairly useless,” she says. “Your brain is designed to solve problems. But life is not really a problem, it is something to be experienced, learned from, enjoyed. We ought to reserve the sharp, sophisticated tool that is our brain for the real problems of life. We cannot think our way to happiness and health; we have to feel our way there.”
Maros’ observations with her clients and in her own life suggest that the body knows what we need better than the mind; this is a stark contrast to Western societal teachings but has been acknowledged for centuries in other cultures. “The mind does not know how to be truly present,” Maros explains. “It is always busy looking backward or forward, planning, worrying. Only the body knows how you feel right now in this moment – which is the only moment you have to influence your experience. You cannot think your way through feelings. The body has evolved and can guide you but no one knows how to listen.”
The common denominators Maros found and teaches are four essential steps to be authentic. They are summed up in the acronym ABCD:
A: Pay Attention to your body and Accept what sensations you feel without judgment.
B: Breathe into the feeling in your body and use the breath to soothe yourself if you hurt.
C: Communicate honestly with yourself (your body, not your mind) about how you feel and what you need to feel better.
D: Do the action which fulfills your need and is true to your innermost feelings.
This relatively simple process of tuning in, accepting without judgment, and breathing through the feelings which arise until the action needed becomes clear, has the ability to transform relationships, Maros says. “Everything relates back to the relationship we have with ourselves,” she continues. “So when we are actively cultivating a better relationship with ourselves, when we take care and parent ourselves properly, other relationships will be healthier too.”
Maros teaches Authenticity Therapy in the United States and Hungary and is founding president of the Authenticity Therapy Association in Hungary, where she spends one month per year. In addition to the authenticity work, Maros works with couples in therapy. The Marriage Rescue program is based on the authenticity approach. She also specializes in trauma resolution and is the only trainer in this country who can teach the Brief Solution Oriented Trauma Resolution (BSOTR) method developed by Robert Schwartz, PsyD. This technique is designed to remove the body memory associated with past trauma of any kind.
“You can’t talk yourself out of a trauma memory,” Maros says. “You need a more sophisticated way to extinguish the memory trapped in your body.”
Above all, Maros wants to spread the word about the power and need for each individual to tune into their own being, focusing on feelings and needs. “It is not selfish to focus within,” she says. “Our culture has it all wrong. Inside is the only true place to find your answers.”
Yudit Maros, LMFT, C.Ht. practices at 100 Danbury Rd, Ridgefield. She offers workshops and clinics to teach authenticity skills, in addition to offering therapy for individuals and couples. She can be reached at 203-244-5898 or [email protected]. Her book Apple of My I: The Four Practices of Self-Love can be purchased at Amazon.com. See Community Resource Guide listing, page 76.
Nicole Miale is publisher of Natural Awakenings Fairfield County. Connect with her at [email protected].