I focus on supporting people who are stressed or overwhelmed to some degree. This can happen due to traumatic events, or simply when life, career, feelings or relationships get to be "too much". The effects can show up as post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety, low motivation, panic attacks, substance abuse, eating disorders, as well as other issues. So, I help people learn how to become grounded, find the positive and work through things at a manageable pace, which varies from person to person. Therapy should also be fun at least some of the time; I help people find and practice a little playfulness, and experience the joy of being alive.
I'm a certified Practitioner of Somatic Experiencing(R). This is a body-oriented method for trauma healing developed by Dr. Peter Levine. Although I work from several different theoretical orientations, I am primarily a somatically based therapist because I find this by far the most effective and efficient method I have experienced or practiced. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have about this method or anything else here on my profile.
I also coordinate and assist at local Somatic Experiencing trainings around the Los Angeles area.
or Call Andrea L. Bell, L.C.S.W., S.E.P. at 1-800-651-8085 ext. 00558
More Info About My Practice
I am in the process of terminating my insurance contracts, but will still be able to provide out-of-network benefits and superbills.
My website, which is linked here (above right), contains more information about my practice as well as how (and why) somatic psychotherapy works.
I have a particular knack for working with creative, artistic, unusual, unconventional or "out of the box" people and helping them find solutions that work within their unique frame of reference.
On the Fence About Going to Therapy?
I know it can be really difficult to reach out and make that first phone call. There are many reasons why people hesitate: finances, stigma, shyness, anxiety about trying something new. And what would your friends/neighbors (etc) think, if they knew you were going to therapy? But you know what? If you don't at least try, you'll never know if it could have helped you. Even if it doesn't, it's a pretty good bet that you'll learn at least something useful from the experience. (And your friends/neighbors/etc., might not think anything bad about you for trying it--they might be in therapy themselves, actually!)
Therapy has been around for a long time because it tends to work. Humans are social creatures. We are herd animals. Our nervous systems actually use each other to regulate themselves. That's why it's much easier to solve these problems with help and support. It's very difficult if not impossible to heal interpersonal wounds in isolation. A trained professional usually has skills and neutrality that your friends and family don't; and often, it's nicer to not have to burden them with this stuff on an ongoing basis.
Why Going to Therapy Does Not Mean You are Weak or Flawed
This idea is itself based on a flawed and incomplete understanding of human nature. Going to therapy does NOT mean that someone is "weak", "flawed" or "crazy". It just means that you are human and your system needs a little tune-up. I've heard many people say (and I agree) that everyone can benefit from therapy, at some point in their lives.
Whether or not we want to admit it, people need each other. Our strength is in numbers. We are herd animals; that is how we evolved. If you are a lizard, you can pop out of the egg, flick your tongue and be pretty much ready to scurry away and eat a bug. Humans, on the other hand, are much more complex. We are born helpless and incomplete. We literally build our nervous systems via our interactions with our caregivers. Since no parent is perfect, even "good enough" parenting leaves a few holes in the structure, which therapy is designed to repair.
This attitude of "just suck it up and keep going" can be useful on a short-term basis. But on the long term, it's kind of like continuing to take Novocaine for a sore tooth without fixing the problem. The underlying problem may seem to hurt less; but it tends to deteriorate underneath. Bottling emotions and experiences tends to be really damaging to the person doing it. In my experience, learning how to recognize, and deal with emotions, and then let them go, is very healing. Therapy is a great (and private!) place to do that.