My Approach to Helping
At ConnectionsFirst clinic, we believe in the benefits of change. Although it can be an unpleasant experience with hard-to-control emotions, as it often is, it can provide you with an equally powerful sense of vulnerability and openness to new emotional experiences. Often feeling anxious, fearful, sad, angry, frustrated, or simply being "emotionally lost" precedes significant changes. Therefore, we believe in the hidden power of painful emotions.
Change begins with letting down layers of defenses. What we avoid experiencing is exactly what we need to experience and feel in order for change to happen and to feel better. This is a profound journey you are beginning. The journey of openness to discovery within, getting to know yourself on a deeper level, recognizing the layers of defenses but also layers of growth, wisdom, and strength residing within you. You are making an intensive, unique, and profound claim on the life that truly represents you.
Psychotherapy is a very personal, subjective, and often life changing experience. For that very reason, we draw from a selection of treatment methods to tailor each session to best match your needs as presented that day. We approach our clinical practice from a holistic, mindfulness-based, brain-based, integrative, interactive, family of origin, attachment, relationally focused perspective. We share our sensitivity, compassion, empathy, validation, and positive regard to create the needed emotional safety for you to express your feelings, needs, and desires so as to explore your current or long-standing issues.
However, the benefits and success of your work in therapy depends on how well You engage in our therapeutic partnership and relationship, how effectively you focus on the work and commitment to getting to know yourself better not only in the session but in between the sessions as well. To what degree you grant yourself permission to experience freedom of being You, to encourage and celebrate that newly found You, to being honest with self and others. Only through honesty are we less lonely, less anxious, less depressed, less inhibited, less lost, etc. It is only you who can allow the room for change and growth to happen. Only you who grows and accelerates on that journey of yours. We are just a partner who walks by you, sensitive to your needs and providing you with some tools and support when the barriers and roadblock arise.
On a daily basis, we witness our clients gaining new positive emotional experiences, new insights, genuine inner vision, a self-knowing that is more than logical or verbal - the truly organismic experience of the whole being. They feel more stable, happier, more in control of emotions and behaviors, encouraged and hopeful about their lives, accepting of their Self. They use these gains to manage life stressors more effectively but also to see the life stressors as another opportunity for growth to happen. Their demeanor is more positive, they experience more love for self and others, they feel safer, more assertive, competent, important, and valued. They learn how to love their life as a whole.
This could be your story, too.
More Info About My Practice
By entering into therapy, we begin a professional relationship with financial implications. It's important to discuss these at the very beginning of our work together.
Some issues (like life or relationship coaching) do not meet the medical necessity requirements and you will need to pay out of pocket. I accept cash, check, or card payments.
Some issues you bring in might be diagnostic symptoms and you might choose to use your medical insurance to cover some of the expenses. Navigating and understanding the insurance maze has become complex and at times difficult to understand; therefore, I am willing to assist you in this process to the best of my knowledge and experience.
If you plan to use your insurance plan, here are some important questions to answer by reviewing your plan or contacting your insurance representative:
Kaiser members- with Kaiser insurance the process is initially different than with other insurances. You are required to call their Mental Health Triage line for an interview for them to decide whether there is a medical necessity to see a therapist. the Triage number is: 503-249-3434. From that interview they refer you either to their outpatient clinic or to a contracted provider, such as myself (with them I am contracted as Connections First LLC).
During that interview you can also request a referral to see me.
OHP Health Share - we are in process of getting contracted with them which should be completed by the end of August 2018.
Pacific Source - you do not need a prior authorization. Email Slavica or David and they will schedule you. Our email addresses are listed on our website
Other Insurances - With majority of them we are considered "out-of-network"provider and below is what you need to ask beforehand:
- check your eligibility for outpatient mental health services out of network benefits - are you covered for "out-of-network" providers? If so, at what percentage?
- what is your deductible and how much do you still owe on it this year?
- Do you need pre-authorization for treatment and how many sessions?
This information will help you understand what your copay will be when you work with out-of-network therapist.
They might ask for our credentials - we are either LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) or LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor)
They might ask you for our zip codes - 97212 and 97210.
Thank you for taking your time to read our profile. We congratulate you on taking these courageous steps to healing and discovery within and wish you all the best.
Specific Issue(s) I'm Skilled at Helping With
Issues that stem from any traumatic, adverse, antagonizing experiences in current or past life. We distinguish them as outcomes of a "t" trauma or a "T" trauma. Some, for example, current interpersonal issues (low self-esteem; difficulty connecting with others; resolving conflicts; feeling socially inept, etc) are issues that could originate from either a "t" or a "T" trauma. We integrate several models that help understand, resolve, and relieve both, "t"&"T" of past and current issues. We think of current emotional disturbances as old emotions/memories/struggles wanting to be released now. For that purpose, we use brain-based models (EMDR and Brainspotting) and mindfulness-based/body-oriented therapy models because our body remembers deeper than the brain. Body does not forget, the brain does.
Adverse experiences, shame, and t/Trauma happen to all of us but they do not have to stay with us and be in control of us.
How Psychotherapy Can Help
It helps ONLY when people are ready and committed to do the work, willing to get to know their whole being better, work on issues that have been troublesome for one reason or another, and who believe that Emotional Self is the essential part of our whole being that is in charge of our life, and, as such, needs to be nourished and healed. And therapy is the best place to do that work.