Dona Laressa Desmond, Ph.D. LMFT

Dona Laressa Desmond, Ph.D. LMFT

Professions: Counseling Psychology, Marriage & Family Therapy, Mental Health Counseling
License Status: I'm a licensed professional.
Primary Credential: LMFT
Secondary Credential: Couples Therapist - 22 years experience.
Verified Credentials
1-800-651-8085 ext. 12060
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Office 1
21243 Ventura Blvd
Suite 215
Woodland Hills, California 91364 - United States
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Office 2
2001 South Barrington Ave
Suite 301
Los Angeles, California 90025 - United States
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Billing and Insurance

Fees: There are two ways that therapists can deal with health insurance. One is if they are "in network providers." The other is if they are "out of network providers." The difference in these two will determine what and how much you pay out of pocket for therapy. For an explanation about how these differ and how I handle insurance as it relates to my clients email me.

REDUCED FEES...The way that I handle sliding scale fees is by offering a number of prepaid package deals as well as some sessions that are shorter than 60 min. To see these you can go to the Fees Page on my website which has a link under my photo.

INITIAL CONSULTATION...Should you need an initial free consultation before scheduling a session with me we can do it via email, which is fastest or a 20 min face to face at my office as my schedule permits.

Free Initial Consultation

Contact me

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22 years experience ~ Solution Focused Relationship Expert

MARRIAGE COUNSELOR ~ PREMARITAL COUNSELING ~ COUPLES THERAPY

Communication expert helping you get past problems and get closer

It's so easy for good love to slide into bad patterns. Life gets busy, communication falls off and suddenly there is a barrier between you. I understand how that happens. I'm here to help you move past conflicts, get on the same page and feel closer to each other.

Relationships have a powerful impact on our emotions whether we are dating, living together or married. When love is off course it can distract you from focusing on other areas of your life.

Frustrating power struggles and unfruitful communication increase when a Couple gets out of sync. I'm here to help you reverse that trend and get into a loving zone with each other.

I can help you prevent or undo emotional damage, solve problems together and learn gentler communication. All of this will reinvigorate your connection so that you experience each other in new and more positive ways.

As a Couples Therapist I will give you a safe place to explore, vent and grow. We'll define the challanges and focus on solutions. I'll honor your feelings while helping you get unstuck.

Lack of trust, differences in personal rhythms and vulnerable mood patterns can often cause confusing resentments to form a wall which separates and frustrates leading to unhappiness in the relationship. It's not always easy to fix this on your own and sadly the passage of time doesn't always heal the differences between people.

If you find yourself in this spot I can help you. You will know that you have an experienced Couples Therapist working with you to improve your relationship. If you're struggling with issues of trust, communication or in emotional distress email me, let's see how I can hep you.

I counsel all relationship issues including the non-traditional. I have an unflinching fascination with all facets of human nature and I am happy to extend my expertise to you. Bring me your relationship issues; I will help you sort things out and find solutions.

I look forward to speaking with you. Email me for fastest contact. Feel free to visit my personal website for extensive info on who I am and what I can do for you. (The link to my website is above under my picture.)

Warm regards,
Dona Laressa Desmond PhD
CA LMFT
Couples Counseling Los Angeles

Email or Call Dona Laressa Desmond, Ph.D. LMFT at 1-800-651-8085 ext. 12060

More Info About My Practice

FEES AND INSURANCE

My fees are as follows:
$87.50 ~ 30 minute session
$131.25 ~ 45 minute session
$165.00 ~ 60 minute session if payment is via cash
$175.00 ~ 60 minute session if payment is via check, Pal Pal or Credit Card

Insurance ~
I am an out of network provider for all several major insurance PPO's. For an explanation of what this means email me. I'll be happy to translate it for you!

Remember that payments made to your therapist go toward your deductible.

Specific Issue(s) I'm Skilled at Helping With

Couples Communication
Couples Therapy
Premarital Counseling
Marriage Counseling
Intimacy Improvement
Letting Go of the Past
Relationship Rescue
Problem Solving as a Couple
Time Management and Intimacy
Conflict Resolution for Relationships
Enhanced Listening
Resentment Recovery
Intimacy
Needs vs Wants
Privacy and Taking Personal Space
Trust
Collaboration in Relationships
Clashing Values
Making a Fresh Start
Honoring Agreements
Infidelity and Cheating
Online Affairs
Affair Proofing Your Marriage
Trauma Healing
Anger Release
Healing from the Past
Sex and Passion
Sex Therapy for Couples
Second Marriages
Mid-Life Romances
Long Distance Love
Understanding the Opposite Sex

How Psychotherapy Can Help

Therapy helps by giving you undistracted time in a safe place. Couples therapy gives you, encouragement, understanding and a warm environment to define issues and implement real solutions. I dedicate considerable experience, wisdom and focus to each client. My goals are to understand you, your unique situation and to help you implement real and concrete solutions to your problems. I am happy to help you improve your relationship and to share with you emotional skill sets that can make that happen. If you are nervous about seeing a therapist, no worries! Email me for details.

My View on the Purpose of Psychotherapy

Well this is a huge philosophical question. On one hand psychotherapy is an adaptation to failures in our social structure. It's safe to say that if we all had happy childhoods, competent education, good bosses and faithful spouses psychotherapy would become obsolete. That said, psychotherapy is many positive things. It's a safe haven. It's a think tank to improve your life. It's a private and undistracted time for you to sort through things with a compassionate expert who has your well being in mind and wants to help you be happier. It's access to a well-honed person who can bring wisdom, insight, perspective and empathy to you. It's like having a Life Consultant who can help you when things get off track.

What I Love about Being a Psychotherapist

This is simple. What I love about being a Psychotherapist is.......everything.

My Role as a Therapist

My role as a therapist is to help you, to guide you and work with you to generate solutions for problems that you may be struggling with. I work with you to have clear emotional goals, to change difficult behaviors and to have a more cooperative and fulfilling relationship.

What I Usually Need to Know to Help

Most clients have a pretty good idea of what they are struggling with because most issues are recurring in a person's life. An exception to that might be disaster-related trauma, an unexpected infidelity or sudden death. What I need to know to help you is for you to tell me what you are struggling with. You don't have to understand why or what the cause is, that's my job. I will help you sort through your feelings until we are able to get clear on what you need and what your relationship or marriage needs. Once I understand what the problem is I can formulate a strategy on how to help you. I will also need to know what your level of motivation is for making changes. After that it is a process which includes things like information gathering, working through emotions, examining patterns and making a plan for change. I will help you each step of the way.

On the Fence About Going to Therapy?

This is a favorite topic of mine and one that I welcome. It's perfectly natural to feel uncertain about seeking counseling. If you are on the fence about going to therapy remember that you are in charge. You can pick a therapist that works for you and that understands your challenges. You can always tell a therapist that you want to only schedule one appointment and see how it goes. Any confident therapist will be fine with that.

Important Factors for Choosing a Therapist

There is an intellectual and emotional intimacy that happens between client and therapist so ultimately choosing a therapist is really all about chemistry. You will likely get a strong sense of who the therapist is and how they work by reading their profile and then, if you are still unsure I suggest booking just one session with the therapist to get a feel for the chemistry. A good therapist will make you feel understood and safe. A good therapist will listen to you and ask relevant questions. The right therapist for you will communicate in a way that you can understand. A good therapist will be committed to helping you make actual changes and see real results.

The Duration and Frequency of Therapy

How long does therapy take? This is such a great question. I believe that you should only continue in counseling for as long as you feel some benefit. That could be a few sessions or for a longer duration. I am completely accommodating on this point. Some of my clients feel that they need see me twice a week initially and others only want to see me once a month. Some of my clients like the traditional one hour session, others like to have extended sessions up to 3 hours once a month. It varies widely and I am fine with all of those variations, schedule permitting.

On anther point, counseling is both a healing professional and a service. It should be up to the client when they want to stop therapy and not for the therapist to decide unless asked. No therapist should ever make you feel guilty for stopping therapy!

Image Gallery

Services I Provide

  • Coaching
  • Consultation
  • Family Therapy
  • Individual Therapy & Counseling
  • Marriage, Couples, or Relationship Counseling
  • Online Counseling / Phone Therapy
  • Other

Ages I Work With

  • Adults
  • Elders

Languages

  • English

Groups I Work With

    Relationship Rescue
    Couples Communication
    Angry Relationship Recovery
    Resentment Release and Letting Go of the Past
    Marriage Counseling and Enhancement
    Intimacy Improvement
    Premarital Counseling
    Long Distance Relationship
    Infidelity and Affair Proofing Your Marriage
    Second Marriage
    Conflict Resolution and Fighting Fairly
    Sex Therapy for Couples
    Trauma Healing
    Communication and Problem Solving
    Enhanced Listening Skills
    Gender Styles in Communication

Client Concerns Within Your Scope of Practice

  • Abandonment
  • Abortion / Post Abortion Issues
  • Abuse / Abuse Survivor Issues
  • Academic Concerns
  • Addictions and Compulsions
  • Adjusting to Change / Life Transitions
  • Adoption / Reunion Issues
  • Agoraphobia
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Attachment Issues
  • Blended Family Issues
  • Body Image
  • Breakup
  • Cancer
  • Career Choice
  • Caregiver Issues / Stress
  • Child and/or Adolescent Issues
  • Codependency / Dependency
  • Communication Problems
  • Control Issues
  • Creative Blocks
  • Depression
  • Divorce / Divorce Adjustment
  • Emotional Abuse
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Emotional Overwhelm
  • Emptiness
  • Family of Origin Issues
  • Family Problems
  • Fear
  • Forgiveness
  • Grief, Loss, and Bereavement
  • Habits
  • Health / Illness / Medical Issues
  • Helplessness / Victimhood
  • Identity Issues
  • Inadequacy
  • Inattention, Impulsivity, and Hyperactivity (ADHD)
  • Individuation
  • Infidelity / Affair Recovery
  • Internet Addiction
  • Irritability
  • Isolation
  • Jealousy
  • Learning Difficulties
  • LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) Issues
  • Life Purpose / Meaning / Inner-Guidance
  • Men's Issues
  • Midlife Crisis / Midlife Transition
  • Mood Swings / Mood Disturbance
  • Multicultural Concerns
  • Other - Not Listed Here
  • Panic
  • Parenting
  • Phobias
  • Polyamory / Nonmonogamous Relationships
  • Posttraumatic Stress / Trauma
  • Power
  • Pre-Marital Counseling
  • Prejudice / Discrimination
  • Rejection
  • Relationships and Marriage
  • Self-Actualization
  • Self-Care
  • Self-Compassion
  • Self-Confidence
  • Self-Criticism
  • Self-Doubt
  • Self-Esteem
  • Self-Love
  • Sensitivity to Criticism
  • Sex Addiction
  • Sexual Assault / Abuse
  • Sexuality / Sex Therapy
  • Shame
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Social Anxiety / Phobia
  • Spirituality
  • Stress
  • Trust Issues
  • Values Clarification
  • Women's Issues
  • Worry
  • Worthlessness
  • Young Adult Issues

Types of Therapy

  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
  • Anger Management
  • Art Therapy
  • Body-Mind Psychotherapy
  • Clean Language, Symbolic Modeling, and Metaphor Therapy
  • Client-Directed Outcome-Informed Therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy /REBT
  • Collaborative Couple Therapy
  • Collaborative Therapy / Collaborative Language Systems
  • Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)
  • Conflict Resolution Therapy
  • Contemplative Psychotherapy
  • Core Process Psychotherapy
  • Critical Incident Stress Management
  • Depth Therapy
  • Depth-Oriented Brief Therapy
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
  • Dreamwork and Dream Analysis
  • Emotion Focused Couples Therapy
  • Emotion Focused Therapy
  • Emotional Freedom Technique
  • Emotional Transformation Therapy
  • Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy
  • Emotionally Focused Therapy
  • Energy Psychology
  • Existential Psychotherapy
  • Family Attachment Narrative Therapy
  • Family Constellations
  • Family Systems Therapy
  • Focusing
  • Guided Therapeutic Imagery
  • Humanistic Psychology
  • Imago Relationship Therapy
  • Integration of different therapy models
  • Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy
  • Internal Family Systems
  • Interpersonal Psychotherapy
  • Journal Therapy
  • Jungian Psychotherapy
  • Lifespan Integration ©†
  • Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy
  • Mindfulness Based Interventions
  • Narrative Therapy
  • Neuro-Linguistic Programming
  • Non-Violent Communication
  • Other - Not Listed Here
  • Parent Work
  • Parent-Child Interaction Therapy
  • Person Centered / Rogerian
  • Poetry Therapy
  • Positive Psychology
  • Positive Psychotherapy
  • Possibility Therapy
  • Pragmatic / Experiential Therapy for Couples
  • Process Oriented Psychology
  • Psycho-Physical Therapy
  • Psychoanalysis / Modern Psychoanalysis
  • Psychodrama
  • Psychodynamic
  • Psychosynthesis
  • Radiant Heart Therapy
  • Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT)
  • Reality Therapy
  • Redecision therapy
  • Relational Life Therapy
  • Relational Psychotherapy
  • Relationship Enhancement Therapy
  • Self Acceptance Training
  • Self Psychology
  • Solution Focused Therapy
  • Somatic Psychotherapy
  • Systems Theory /Therapy
  • Thought Field Therapy
  • Timeline Therapy ®
  • Transactional Analysis
  • Transpersonal Psychotherapy
  • Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Trauma Relief Unlimited
  • Voice Dialogue
  • Yoga Therapy

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