Writing Mentorship


For those interested in working with me in a more private setting, I offer therapeutic mentoring, spiritual guidance, and consultation via writing. These relationships take place asynchronously, where you can take your time and write to me on your own schedule, processing your inner experience and working through unresolved feelings, where you can re-author, re-envision, and re-enchant your life with new purpose and meaning.

Through the writing mentorship program, you can write to me any time, day or night, when you are called; when you’re suffering, struggling, having a breakthrough, feeling down, experiencing joy or aliveness, or when you are lonely, enraged, or at peace.

In your writing, you are encouraged to address whatever questions are most alive for you, and to focus the conversation in whatever direction you feel would be most helpful at this time in your life. For example, we might explore such issues as working with difficult emotions or limiting self-narratives, deepening your spiritual practice and realization, challenges in intimate relationship, discovering purpose and meaning in your life and work, finding help during times of transition, and the healing potential of spiritual emergence and dark night experience. These are only a few examples; what is covered in our exchange is entirely up to you.

Whatever we end up discussing, you are invited to bring the entirety of your experience into a safe, attuned, compassionate (yet provocative) container where you can fully be yourself, with no shame, judgment, or need whatsoever for you to be someone different, or even to change, shift, transform, or heal. You will be met exactly where you are and validated as an alive, honorable human being, not “sick” or in need of some sort of “cure,” but longing to know yourself at deeper levels and to fully participate in the world around you.
While we will respect the relative appearance of any struggle, challenge, difficulty, or suffering that is appearing in your life, I will not waver from seeing what you are as unbroken, sacred, and moving toward wholeness according to an unprecedented and mysterious timeline, and we will hold your experience in this light during our time together, trusting in your innate health and goodness, and in the awakened brilliance of your true nature.

We will hold, illuminate, and make sense of your experience together, opening to a freedom that is always present as the reality of you already are, discover that this realization is not one that requires an endless search, becoming someone different, healing your past, resolving all your emotional wounds, or first completing some mythical spiritual journey. We will stay open to the possibility that it is always possible to improve your experience—your sense of self, your life circumstances, more skillful ways of navigating relationships—while simultaneously standing together in the radical truth that you have what you need now, as the prima materia that is your life as it is, in all its chaotic glory. Your life is sacred and not a self-improvement project. It is a mystery to be lived.

While there is a lot that we can do on our own, there are times when a guide is deeply helpful for each of us, in order to more wisely and compassionately navigate the inner terrain of the psyche, the body, and the heart. It is mysterious here and the path is not always well lit. The reality is that we are not always able to perceive our lives clearly; it is easy and natural to get lost in the dark woods and lose touch with the original wisdom of our true nature. Working with an attuned other—in a supportive, yet provocative relationship that is mutual, non-judgmental, empathic, and rooted in trust, compassion, and love—can help us to re-orient, to remember the sacred, to reimagine and re-author a new story about our lives, and to care for ourselves in new and creative ways.

It is important to remember that deep inner transformation does not happen quickly, despite the well-meaning claims that are offered by the contemporary self-help world, as the result of learning some magical new technique or taking a powerful weekend workshop. You cannot think your way into the sacred or resolve the mysteries of the heart by means of conceptual process and rational thinking alone. This is sacred work which requires an ongoing dialogue and partnership between conscious and unconscious energies, and the willingness to open into paradox, contradiction, and into the rich, yet disorienting territory of the opposites.

While the entirety of our life can and will provide unending opportunities to deepen awareness and compassion, it takes time, patience, courage, and effort—and the willingness to go into the darkness, the uncomfortable, the messy, and the deflating—to confront and integrate that which is longing to be met within us. We cannot work around the shadow but only through it, with presence and with Rumi refers to as a “mighty” sort of kindness, and in doing so discover that even the shadow is only light in disguise, appearing in infinite ways to guide us home.

The purpose of our mentoring relationship is not to make you feel good, per se, or to urgently remove your symptoms, but to reveal wholeness, to point to something more primordial than the waves of passing feeling and emotion, to discover depth and meaning, and to re-envision your life, guided by deeper levels of presence and self-compassion. And to remind you of a truth that is easily forgotten: that whatever thoughts, feelings, or emotions are moving through you, it is your relationship to this material that is most important and impactful when it comes to your embodied experience of freedom. This process requires new levels of awareness, kindness, curiosity, and love, for it is not just a cognitive restructuring that is required, not a matter of merely shifting around your thinking, but a realization that is rooted in the activity of the body and the heart.

In our work together, I will receive you fully, and attune deeply to your story, your feelings, your emotions, your imagination, your hopes, your fears, your dreams, and your deepest spiritual longings. We will meet in a field of shared presence and focus our attention together on your unique journey, in a safe, confidential, and empathically attuned environment.

I will respond with my most honest, authentic, heartfelt reflections, offering guidance at times, suggesting resources you might explore, or meditations or exercises or contemplations, or simply bearing witness to your experience and sharing how it has affected me personally. We can talk about anything and everything that is important to you, entering into the healing power of the relational field together, a crucible in which your experience can unfold, illuminate, and transform.

For some, this approach to working therapeutically has a number of advantages over traditional face-to-face or video-based connection. You can work at your own pace, at whatever time you choose, clarifying in an unhurried way what it is that is most important to you, not having to worry about being in a certain place at a certain time (life and the activity of the heart rarely fits our busy schedules and unending to-do lists). You won’t need to concern yourself with forgetting what you were hoping to say, that the time went by too quickly, or feel pressure around fitting everything in to a set period of a clinical hour. You will not have to drive to scheduled appointments, have any particular software, deal with the hassle and stress of being on camera, or be ready to go at a certain time if you are not ready.

Research (see, e.g. James Pennebaker’s work with Writing to Heal) suggests that writing is one of the most powerful and effective ways we have to work through unresolved trauma, difficult emotions, and limiting self-beliefs. To engage in this process with an attuned other who will hold your experience and will never waver in trusting the validity of it – and the innate intelligence of your true nature – can be a profound vehicle of personal growth, emotional and relational healing, and spiritual transformation.

It’s important to note that you do not need to consider yourself a “good” writer or possess some sort of special vocabulary or skill to engage in a writing-based mentoring relationship. In fact, professional writers can often struggle in environments such as these, as they are so used to excessively (and cognitively) polishing and over analyzing what they are attempting to communicate. It is recommended that you take as much time as you need to clarify what you’d like to say, but then share it in an uncensored way, not paying attention to things like grammar, sentence structure, creative word choice, whether you are “making sense” and so forth. There is something transformative, magical, and alchemical about connecting with one another via conscious writing (which of course will deeply involve and constellate the unconscious as well) and is a unique way to engage the mentor relationship in our modern world.

There are two options for working together by email:

1. One-time. Here, you will send one email, up to 2000 words (roughly four pages maximum) that I will read carefully, in its entirety, twice at different times. Please note that there is no expectation that you will write 2000 words, or even close to it. 100 is perfect, as is 500, 1500, or anything in between. In our work together, quality is much more important that quantity. Please take your time and write from your heart and direct experience, not censoring yourself or overly concerned with whether you are making sense or how you will be received. Within a few days, I will respond in detail, with my heartfelt reflections, observations, and suggestions, based on my personal experience on the path as well as my clinical experience in working with others. As part of my response, I may suggest some reading for you to do, or some exercises or meditations, all of which are of course totally optional.

2.  Monthly subscription. Here, over the course of a month, you may send up to 8000 words, throughout as many emails as you would like, that I will read carefully, in their entirety. My commitment is to respond to you at least once per week (assuming you have been writing to me regularly), with at least 500 words in each response, though at times I will write more. Like with the one-time program, my responses may include some suggestions of material for you to read, writing exercises, or other forms of meditation or contemplation. All of these are of course 100% optional.

If you are interested in either one of these mentoring options, please write to matthewlicataphd@gmail.com and I will confirm if there is a current opening. Due to other commitments, I am only able to mentor a small number of writing clients at any one time. If space is available, the next step would be to send payment via PayPal. Once received, you may begin at any time with your first email. Please note that once payment is received, for the one-time option, you must send your first email within thirty days in order to hold your spot in the program. For monthly subscriptions, our interaction will continue for 30 calendar days from the day your payment is received.