My Approach to Helping
Hello, my name is Mike. I'm a professional therapist, mindfulness teacher, a business owner, and I'm also a human being, JUST LIKE YOU. I thrive on hearing the stories of people's lives and finding strength and resilience within each person's experience. Through active listening and non-judgement, a relationship of trust, feelings of safety, and hope emerge. From this place of security, we look for ineffective thoughts, beliefs, emotional reactions, and behavioral patterns. New skills are learned and practiced in a curious way, and we evaluate progress together in a collaborative relationship.
People often tell me I'm calm, serene, and help them to feel accepted and at ease. Underneath that serene exterior, I am passionate about my own and others health and wellness. I love seeing beautiful places, being active in the outdoors, writing and playing music, and appreciate the power of love and laughter.
I hope to be able to get to know you a little better in class, in my therapy office, or in another setting. Until we meet again, may you be happy. May you be well. May you be safe. May you be peaceful and at ease. May you find the power within you to love and accept who you are and to be an act of kindness each day.
More Info About My Practice
In addition to being owner and primary therapist of Expansive Health Services, I am also a certified mindfulness teacher. I participated in professional training through the Center for Mindfulness at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) and I'm currently a teacher in training. I am on the path to certification as an MBSR instructor and finding joy along the way. Additionally, I have received advanced training in Mindfulness Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE) a mindfulness-based program for addiction and chronic pain, and Learning to BREATHE (L2B), a developmentally appropriate mindfulness-based program for adolescents based on MBSR.
The MBSR program consists of 8 weekly 2.5 hour classes and one full day retreat (6-8 hours) between weeks 6 and 7. It includes guided instruction in mindfulness meditation and mindful yoga practices, small and large group discussions, exercises to enhance awareness in everyday life, methods for improving communication, and daily home practice assignments lasting 45-60 minutes. Participants are given readings, guided audio files, and handouts to facilitate their daily practice.
Learning to Breathe is a developmentally appropriate complement to MBSR for youth ages 12-18. The program includes instruction in the practice of mindful awareness and provides opportunities to practice these skills in a group setting. L2B was originally developed as a universal prevention program for educational settings, but may be taught in a group format in other settings as well. Six themes, built around the 'BREATHE' acronym, form the core of the curriculum and may be presented in 6, 12, or 18 sessions. Each lesson includes a short introduction to the topic, several activities for group participation and discussion to engage students in the lesson, and an opportunity to in-class mindfulness awareness practice. See website for further information.
My Role as a Therapist
My life's work is to help engender hope in the lives of individuals and families and I've been doing this for 20 years. I graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology (1998) and Master's in Social Work (2002). I enjoy working with individuals and families who are strong and resilient, even if they don't recognize it in themselves or each other. People often come to see me when struggling with anxiety, depression, trauma, chronic health concerns, compulsive or addictive behaviors, challenging life transitions (i.e. school and work change, relationship changes, grief and loss), and difficulty in peer and family relationships.
The Duration and Frequency of Therapy
We'll first meet for 90 minutes to determine your strengths, needs, and appropriate goals. Following this first session, we'll meet for 45-60 minutes at a time at a frequency to be determined during the planning stage of therapy. My focus is on helping people achieve their goals as quickly as possible while using effective therapy tools.