Psychotherapist - LMFT
RELATIONSHIP: Is your partner driving you crazy? Are you caught in a dance where your partner pulls away from you and you get clingy and demanding in ways you are not proud of? Or does your partner smother you or not really get you and allow you to be you? If so, I’m trained in a modality that is extremely successful in helping people change their dances and really show up.
INDIVIDUALS (Depression, Anxiety, Relational Challenges): Is it hard to ask for what you want? Do you feel down and have a hard time pulling yourself out of it? Or do you find yourself easily overwhelmed and avoid things in life in order to not become anxious? Do you have to “be right” or perform well in order to feel acceptable? Do you consider other’s needs over your own needs. Or in order to get your needs met, do you get caught in patterns of being reactive or demanding? If so, I’m trained in a modality that can really help you shift gears from the patterns you’ve inherited into a deeper you that doesn’t have those challenges.
TRAUMA: Do you find yourself “frazzled” and amped and feel threatened? Has there been a traumatic event in the past that triggers your nervous system to be amped in the present? Is your fight or flight mode stuck on when you know you are actually safe? It could be 1 or two incidents, or a pattern of physical or sexual abuse in the past that causes your body to shut down or stay in hyper-vigilance mode. Does part of your brain know that things are fine, but you can’t help but feel guarded and on edge? If so, I’m trained in a modality that is extremely effective in helping your nervous system get back in sync with the present, so those symptoms naturally go away.
Below is a list of the areas that I feel like I am trained in and am competent in being able to help people make significant life shifts. Below is a description of areas I’m helpful in and what to expect from how I work. And below that is a description of the different types of wounding that people have and descriptions of the types of therapy that is necessary to address that type of wounding. If a therapist is trained in Modality A and you have a challenge in Category B, then your therapist can be accidently (out of ignorance) adding to the problem rather than helping you.
THE TYPE OF COUPLES I WORK WITH:
PRE-MARITAL: We can focus on identifying and shifting early patterns in order to prevent issues down the road. To learn more about pre-marital counseling, click “Pre-Marital”.
COUPLES CAUGHT IN PAINFUL DANCES: One of you pursues contact more and normally is sweat, connecting, and engaging. But under stress you can get needy, clingy, and blaming. Another partner normally is pretty self-sufficient and responsible. And under stress you withdraw in order to avoid feeling overwhelmed or smothered. You both accidently co-create a dance that creates repetitive fights. Often the triggers of the fights are the stupidest things. And occasionally you fight about something really important. To learn more about how to get out of this dance, click “Emotion Focused Therapy”.
INFIDELITY: Learning how to rebuild trust from the ground up, healing the attachment wound created by the infidelity, and upgrading the relationship capacity to prevent it from reoccurring in the future is essential. To see my pathway of recovery, click “How to Overcome Infidelity.”
FORGIVENESS: Learning how to actually (really) forgive is essential. Our parents, our culture, and even our religions have taught us really crappy ways of forgiving that leave us unsatisfied. Click “Learn How To Forgive” to learn a structured path towards authentic forgiveness.
Couples that love each other but drive each other crazy.
THE TYPE OF INDIVIDUALS THAT I WORK WITH:
1) Self Wounds (Depression, anxiety, challenges in relationships, etc)
2) Trauma (PTSD)
3) Attachment wounds
Below the description on how I work with couples is a break down of the type of woundings people have and the necessary therapy modalities for addressing them and what you might expect from me.
COUPLES: My couples come to me usually because they are driving each other crazy and find that their partner doesn’t get them. They get caught in nasty anger dances and find themselves fighting about the stupidest little things. Often the content of what they are fighting about is almost irrelevant, but the charge of the dance they are in is stressful and overwhelming. They hurt each other in ways that they are not proud of.
I work with Couples with transforming their negative dances that they get stuck in. As an empathy coach, I help people learn how to make the love that they actually have for their partner actually land on the gut level. I help pre-marital couples navigate their current patterns they are stuck in to prevent it from being a setup for something super painful in the future.
For couples who have raw attachment wounds, I help them own what they’ve done and find a way back to each other through authentic empathy. I help couples learn how to forgive each other rather than have crappy apologies that don’t hold any weight. For couples struggling from recovering from infidelity, I provide them with the pathway to authentic forgiveness and reconciliation.
COUPLES WORK: includes: Pre-Marital counseling, Emotion Focused Couples Counseling (helping couples transform the culture of their relationship), Couples Boot Camp (a couples group), and Depth Couples Therapy (Using a healthy couple as a therapeutic base for more quickly addressing individual issues). It is essential that if you having challenges in your relationship that you get a therapist trained in Emotion Focused Therapy. It has a 80 to 90 percent success rate whereas most couples therapy is 20 to 30 percent successful. So, if after talking with me, it looks like I am not a fit for you, please make sure you find somebody trained in EFT.
INDIVIDUALS come to me because they are anxious, depressed, having challenges in a relationship. And I have the ability to work with Trauma, Attachment wounds, and “normal” depression, anxiety, and challenges in relationships. It is important to get a therapist that has the right type of training for the type of challenge that you are having.
Wounds on the Level of Self (Internalizing mal-adaptive patterns from family, early relationships, schools, religion, and culture) create anxiety, depression, having to perform in order to be acceptable, self-blaming, not being able to tell people “no”, being a “know it all”, not being able to relax. R-CS is the modality that most helpful.
Trauma wounds: Therapists doing talk therapy with somebody suffering from previous Traumas will likely re-traumatize the client and do damage. For Trauma, you need a therapist trained in EMDR or Somatic Experiencing. EMDR focuses on helping you revisit and work through the trauma while stimulating the part of the brain where the trauma is stored (which does NOT happen in typical talk therapy). Somatic Experiencing focuses on re-calibrating the nervous system.
ATTACHMENT WOUNDS: If the challenges that you are having are rooted in emotional abuse that impacted your nervous system before you learned how to talk, then you need a therapist that is trained in Attachment Therapy. If you made it past three years old before you developed patterns that set you up to be depressed, anxious, or have challenges in relationships, then a different type of therapy is helpful for you.
COLLATERAL DAMAGE FROM TRAUMA OR ATTACHMENT WOUNDS: Basically this means that people (that have trauma wounds or attachment wounds) develop patterns of dealing with the world that exacerbate wounds on the level of the self. So, if you have Trauma wounds, or Attachment wounds, you need a therapist who has special training to deal with those wounds, but you will also need therapy that treats the patterns you’ve created to adopt to the trauma and attachment wounds. R-CS is the modality I recommend for that.
INDIVIDUALS experience wounding on one of four levels:
Wounds on the Level of Self (Internalizing mal-adaptive patterns from family, early relationships, schools, religion, and culture). I have not met a single individual in my life that does NOT have wounds on the level of the self.
Symptoms include: Anxiety, depression, having to perform in order to be
acceptable, self-blaming, not being able to tell people “no”, being a “know it all”,
not being able to relax, etc.
Treatment of Choice: R-CS. Instead of trying to “fix” broken patterns, I work with
clients to become aware of the part of them that is already empowered and learn
to live from there. Learning how to shift the state (of mind) that you are in is the
therapy (rather than focusing on exploring origin stories). We help you learn how
to live from your core by learning how to activate a part of the brain that already
has the capacity to navigate the world. It is developing an emotional skill of being
aware of when your strategic patterns that set you up for negative symptoms are
activated and learning how to shift into “who you are”.
Therapist style: While I will definitely empathize and listen, and sometimes ask some of the stereo-typical therapist questions, like “how does that make you feel?”, you will experience me engaging with you, letting you know the game-plan, provide authentic direct feedback, and re-directing the use of the therapy time to be helpful. I will interrupt. I will identify the patterns that you are stuck in as they show up in the room, so we can work on them in real time.
Attachment Wounds Receiving insufficient emotional attunement in the first three years of life, leading to anxious, avoidant, or chaotic patterns in relationships.
Symptoms of Attachment wounds include: Anxious Styles: Being overly clingy, anxious, needing a relationship in order to feel ok. Overly Self-Reliant Styles: Feeling easily smothered and finds leaning on people and taking intimacy in as difficult. Experiencing the world like people can’t be there for you and you need to only rely on yourself.
Causes of Attachment wounds: Receiving insufficient emotional atunment in the first three years of life.
Treatment of Choice for Attachment Wounds: Attachment Therapy, Hakomi, and R-CS.
Attachment Therapy will be paying more attention to what happens in the room between the therapist and the client. Downloading attachment through eye contact, creating experiments in the room that elicit emotional connection, so you can internalize a felt sense of worthiness. Noticing what gets in the way and practicing taking in nourishment in small digestible doses.
Hakomi is a psychodynamically informed therapy where the therapist helps the client be mindful of what their experience is and pay attention to their inner experience and body experiences. The therapist orchestrates intentional experiments that allow clients to explore their wounded parts and provides corrective emotional experiences.
R-CS Helping the client become aware of and access preferred states of being and live life from that state rather than imperfect strategies learned in life. The focus is more on becoming aware of what state you are in and shifting to a preferred state rather than the focus being on healing non-preferred states.
Therapist style: I’m trainied in modalities that help orchestrate the part of the brain that needs to have a different experience. I will be proactive to pay attention to what is happening in the room between us and look for opportunities to take in direct nourishment through eye contact and verbal affirmations. This is different from the type of therapy where the therapist just sits and stares at you.
Trauma PTSD (The nervous system getting stuck in a state of alarm when threat is no longer there.)
Symptoms of PTSD include: Over-stimulated nervous system
Causes of PTSD: Trauma (big and small ones)
Treatment of Choice for Trauma / PTSD: EMDR and the EMDR flash technique, and learning how to soothe your nervous system.
EMDR: Activating the stuck part of the brain while processing the trauma.
EMDR Flash Technique: Without processing the trauma, desensitizing the thought of the trauma so it does not trigger overwhelm.
Nervous System Relaxing: Learning how to relax your nervous system through various breathing activities, body postures, and shifting which part of the brain you are using (which pulls you out of the trauma).
Therapist Style: Engaged
4th Type of Wounding: Built up patterns that are created as collateral damage of one of trauma or emotional abuse or neglect.
People that have wounded nervous systems due to Trauma need EMDR (as discussed above) in order to cure their nervous system and not be in a constant state of overwhelm. However, since they lived a period of their life with PTSD, then they also need to address the patterns they created to adopt to the PTSD. These patterns impact relationships and how they experience themselves. Basically, after the nervous system is cured with EMDR, they also need their wounding on the level of The Self to be addressed with R-CS.
People that are wounded on the Attachment, pre-verbal level need Attachment therapy. But they also need R-CS in order to address the wounds on the level of the self.
TREATING WOUNDS ON THE LEVEL OF THE SELF
For wounds on the level of the self, I use a modality called Re-Creation of the Self. It focuses on helping the client shift to preferred states and send their preferred self in to deal with reality. Wounds on the level of the self happen because we all previously develop strategies and patterns of dealing with family, culture, patriarchy, the school system, etc. The previous patterns worked to help us get through imperfect environments, but they created patterned grooves in our brains that our brains get sucked into going to. I focus on helping clients become aware of these patterns and learn how to shift their state into an already empowered state. Then, from that state, deal with the dilemmas of life that were previously triggers of depression or anxiety.
TREATING ATTACHMENT WOUNDS:
For treating attachment wounds, I do Individual Depth Therapy, which is a modality that focuses on helping rewrite your emotional blue-prints. INDIVIDUAL DEPTH THERAPY. (Helping Individuals have attachment experiences that re-write their relational blue-prints, setting them up for healthier relationships and more meaningful lives)
TREATING TRAUMA WOUNDS
For individuals struggling with trauma, I use a a modality that is effective with treating trauma, EMDR. It is effective in helping you resolve your trauma and restore your over-activated nervous system to health.
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Skills and Expertise
Adjusting to Change / Life Transitions
Caregiver Issues or Stress
Divorce and Divorce Adjustment
Family of Origin Issues
Helplessness and Victimhood
Highly Sensitive Persons
Infidelity and Affair Recovery
Loss or Grief
Mens Issues and Problems
Mindfulness based therapy
Navigating Identity in Relationships
Obsessions and Compulsions
Trauma and PTSD
Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy
Marital Couple/ Family Communication Therapy
Therapy unique to each client
Trauma Focused Therapy