My Approach to Helping
I believe in the strength of the person (s) coming to therapy, and their ability to heal themselves with some guidance. If someone is motivated to find assistance in their journey, then they are already half way through the challenge. My clients come to tell their story, both verbally and through the observance and tracking of the bodily sensations tied to the emotions and experiences they've had. I work well with clients who are willing to experience a little discomfort in order to reach a more balanced place in their lives. I use humor, an edgy style, and a supportive tone with my clients. I also offer yoga for stress, trauma, anxiety and depression, both in private lessons and as part of the psychotherapy session. I give individual and group (at yoga studios) Yoga Nidra sessions to increase nervous system regulation.
More Info About My Practice
I am happy to talk to potential clients by phone and answer questions or give more information about myself and my therapy style. My office hours include daytimes, evenings and I have three post-graduate interns who work weekends. I see clients weekly or biweekly, depending on what we assess together in the first few sessions. I accept PPO insurance with the client paying the office directly and then giving them a superbill to submit to their insurance for reimbursement. Please call your insurance first to find out what your reimbursement rate is for an "out of network provider." Please note that insurance companies require a mental health diagnosis. I accept credit card, cash or check at the time of the session.
Specific Issue(s) I'm Skilled at Helping With
I specialize in working with clients who have experienced some type of trauma, substance abuse and/or addiction in their lives. This includes grief and loss, sexual/physical/emotional abuse, car accidents, transitions such as moving, changing jobs, a change in a relationship, growing up in alcoholism and addiction, interpersonal traumas, acute and chronic traumatic experiences, and more. I work with family members affected by someone's alcoholism or addiction as well. I also work with teens and adults on the process of "coming out" to self and others as well as acculturation. I utilize mind-body treatment such as Somatic Experiencing, EMDR, Trauma Resiliency Model, yoga and meditation.
How Psychotherapy Can Help
I have seen clients improve self-esteem, increase positive decision making skills, improve interpersonal and family relationships, walk away from unhealthy relationships, heal from trauma and abuse, recover from addiction, improve job success and make forward career moves, heal physical ailments, find new interests and ways to take better care of themselves, and stop unhealthy patterns.
My View on the Purpose of Psychotherapy
I believe the purpose of psychotherapy is to help clients work through challenges that are getting in the way of their happiness. These can be emotional, physiological, psychological, or spiritual, or a combination of any of these. The psychotherapist is a guide on the journey of self-reflection and problem solving, as well as a professional with education and experience that can help lead the client toward a more rewarding and fulfilling solution. Psychotherapists are expected to have worked through their own histories and challenges in order to be present for the client in a non-reactive and non-judgemental manner. This means they can offer unconditional support and guidance. This is what I offer as a psychotherapist in session with my clients.
What I Love about Being a Psychotherapist
I love hearing the stories of my clients. There is very little chance of shocking me- I've heard a full range of experiences! I work with the body as sometimes the body tells the story that words cannot. I really enjoy getting to know my clients and finding out how their life experiences have affected them, and may have led to them carrying around a toolbox of useless or even detrimental tools that no longer help them. I love seeing my clients make changes, become more open and flexible toward situations in their lives, heal and recover, grow and feel more confident and loving of themselves and others. It is wonderful to assist with this journey, and to witness the evolution.
On the Fence About Going to Therapy?
Take the plunge! You have nothing to lose and so much to gain. You can stop at any point, or change therapists if it's not a good fit. There are so many wonderful therapists in Pasadena/ Los Angeles, and there is no time to start like now!
Had a Negative Therapy Experience?
I have heard negative therapy experiences recounted by several clients. Whether is was a lack of professional boundaries, inappropriate advice giving, feeling judged by the therapist, feeling the need to take care of their therapist or other situations, I suggest to clients that they meet with a therapist and if the fit doesn't feel right, to move on and know that the right fit is essential, it isn't personal. That it's totally acceptable to walk away from a first session and decide that that therapist isn't for you, but that therapy is still an option with another therapist.
Important Factors for Choosing a Therapist
I believe it's important to feel a connection in the first session. Sometimes clients cry in the first session, sometimes they make jokes, but I believe it's most important to feel an interest in coming back for the second session, even if therapy brings up uncomfortable feelings. It's important to feel safe, to feel that the therapy office is a confidential setting where you can open up and experience change. Maybe that takes the form of being able to slow down and breathe, maybe it means settling back onto the couch, maybe it means sharing a smile or laugh, or it can mean feeling the fluctuations of the mind (spinning, anxiety) start to soften.
How My Own Struggles Made Me a Better Therapist
Absolutely. Therapists have had their own life experiences and hopefully have grown from them. Personally, I have been a client in therapy and know the experience of searching for the right therapist, feeling supported in the therapeutic sessions, and being a part of incredible change. I have experienced many of the situations that my clients bring to the sessions, and although I don't disclose a great deal about myself in the sessions, as this takes time away from the client's struggles and healing, I am open to answering questions when appropriate and helpful to the situation.
Why Going to Therapy Does Not Mean You are Weak or Flawed
I don't believe that only people in the midst of crisis should have access to therapy. Many people get massages in order to feel better, not necessarily because they have an injury or pain. Therapy is the same- all of us can use a little guidance or an objective person to run things by who isn't involved directly in the situation. A professional can offer suggestions, advice, references, referrals and more. I often introduce clients to adjunct resources such as yoga, hiking, bodywork, 12 step programs, or other related support. Many people come to therapy for a few months to work on a specific issue, while others come for a longer amount of time to heal from trauma or abuse, or to work on their relationship or some childhood healing that can take 6 months or longer. Therapist themselves have usually been in therapy in order to experience being the client, and to work out their own therapeutic issues. This helps you have a more evolved and present therapist helping you as the client!
Importance of the Client-Therapist Alliance
The client-therapist relationship is of the utmost importance! There should be unconditional care and a non-judgemental attitude from the therapist. I offer humor to my clients as well, as in my experience, the ability to laugh at yourself can lead to a much less judgmental perception of yourself. There is so much more room for curiosity, interest and self-awareness.