When an individual seeks me out as their Psychotherapist, I ask why they decided to call me. I want to know what tipping points made them seek help. It is important to determine what obstacles they are dealing with. I also look at an individual’s history; how they were brought up, their relationship with their parents, and how many siblings they have. It is also important to look at any alcohol or substance abuse history in their family. This involves looking at the impact of their environment on how they were raised. Then you can understand the patterns and coping mechanisms an individual has learned throughout their life. Every story is different, which means that individual therapy is not one-size-fits-all.
“It’s about turning that negative inner voice around.”
Through my work as a Psychotherapist and Life Coach, I am an active participant in the therapy process for each of my clients. I listen to them, respond, interpret, and ask questions. Clients have to look at their negative inner voice, which is a voice that’s in all of us. We need to understand it accept it, then turn the inner voice around. In Jungian terms, it is referred to as our “dark side.” It’s the side that we allow to sabotage us or stop us in our tracks. Although we uncover the past and discuss the present, we also talk about the future in terms of personal goals and objectives. I use a lot of humor in therapy. Sometimes we can laugh at the ridiculousness or absurdity of a situation and very often, this helps tremendously.
Having worked in Beverly Hills for years, I’m also extremely experienced with working with people in the entertainment industry, and have had a number of high profile clients.
I handle their cases with the same care and confidentiality as I would for all the rest of my clients.
Substance Abuse Treatment
I have worked in the field of substance abuse treatment for many years. The abuse of alcohol or any other drug is symptomatic of underlying issues in a person’s life. It’s about getting to the problem that is driving the substance abuse. Emotions such as anger, fear or depression have been suppressed by alcohol and drug use.
“Understand that 99% of the time substance abuse is not the problem; it’s the symptom.”
Destructive behaviors due to substance abuse are clearly problems for the individual and their significant others. As an Addiction Specialist, I talk about these behaviors with my clients. I also help them move towards acknowledging them, and gradually replace them with positive behaviors that can lead to recovery. The support of outside groups such as Alcohol Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous is encouraged.
I often receive calls from parents asking me to help them with their child. More often than not, I find that the child or adolescent is acting out because of an issue within the family. This is what makes family therapy so essential. In family therapy, I look at the whole family – not just the child.
“Understanding the dynamics of the family is the first step towards healing.”
Taking a family history – as well as individual history from all members – allows a deeper insight into how each member impacts the family. Sometimes, I will see the parents alone or the children individually to get a better idea of the family dynamics. From small children to adolescents, parents are frequently surprised at the extent to which these dynamics play a part in their child’s behavior.
Understanding the communication style and backgrounds of the individuals in the relationship are key factors in couples therapy. Again, I spend time talking with both parties to determine what precipitated the call for therapy. It’s essential that I develop a real understanding of what events have been occurring in their lives to bring them in to couples counseling. Most often, I find that miscommunication, not hearing one another, and making assumptions are factors that cause a relationship to falter.
“You can’t change your partner; you can only change yourself.”
Many couples engage in destructive patterns that lead to conflict in an attempt to change things they don’t like about their partner. When this conflict reaches a peak, they often end up in couples counseling. The goal of couples therapy is to break down those old patterns and to create effective and clear communication. In my work with couples, I encourage each person to look at their individual behavior and see what changes each one can make to help make the relationship stronger.
Adolescents in Crisis
It’s hard for most adults to remember what it was like to be an teenager. Therapy with adolescents is a process of understanding their world. What problems are they facing? I respect what an adolescent has to say, and I keep all information completely confidential unless he or she is a danger to themselves or others. I attempt to build a foundation of trust, understanding, and truth with teens in a relaxed and down-to-earth style.
“Adolescence is a time for experimenting, a testing ground. As adults, we need to help them experiment in the least dangerous way possible, and if we can do this we are doing a good job.”
I talk with teens in a way that effectively gets the point across without lecturing them. I answer all of their questions with honest facts. I use appropriate humor to create a dialog and encourage interaction that shows them my respect. All these methods are combined to help adolescents face and deal with the many issues in their lives.
HIV & AIDS Counseling
I have worked with individuals living with HIV and AIDS for over 25 years. In counseling, I use my humor and energy to create a lasting bond that builds a caring and trusting relationship.
“The Key is Compassion.”
I see my clients with HIV and AIDS each week in the comfort of their homes to ensure that they are up to date on their medications and doctor appointments, as well as to help them deal with any emotional issues that may arise.
In addition to HIV and AIDS, I also work with people who are dealing with other types of chronic illnesses and pain. As well as the medical care required to treat the body, many people don’t realize the psychological impact that these conditions have. Therapy is essential to healing, as well as living in a healthy manner while managing chronic illness or pain.
I often hold small, confidential groups on specialized issues such as substance abuse, coping with illness, LGBTQ issues, women’s issues, and adolescents in crisis. The groups are facilitated to insure that everyone is heard and respected. Problems are worked on and resolved, and group members learn to help each other.
“Groups are facilitated in a supportive and non-judgmental environment.”
In group psychotherapy, individuals find others dealing with similar issues. Together, we develop a support group where members discover ways to solve their issues in a positive and constructive manner.
Mindfulness and Meditation
I cultivate mindfulness and meditation – an essential coping mechanism in today’s busy and stressful world! Mindfulness group facilitation is available upon request.
LGBTQ people often struggle with acceptance from family members, friends, their communities, and even from within themselves. It’s important that people who identify as LGBTQ work with a counselor. The counselor needs to be affirming, accepting, and experienced in dealing with issues that frequently surround coming out, and navigating relationships with unsupportive family members. It is all about learning to live your life to its fullest potential.