Counseling Services

People often get stuck in their problems because all they can see is the problem.  Counseling can provide a different perspective that helps the client to focus on the solution thus reframing the problem.  A third party who is objective can provide perspective that clients are unable to see.

Therapy is not meant to be just a feel good session.  It is meant to be a collaborative process where the client and therapist work towards accomplishing the client’s goals.  My goal is to help clients discover what is true about them and be able to embrace their inherent value and worth. During therapy you will find a listening ear and validation.  While there may be times of facing difficult feelings, the therapeutic environment will be safe and secure.

Individual Counseling

Problems occur when people form false beliefs as a result of negative and traumatic experiences that are reinforced throughout their life. From these beliefs, feelings flow that motivate behavior that is either adaptive or maladaptive.  Research has shown that anxiety originates in the automatic thoughts that we think. These thoughts originate from the conclusions we have drawn to bring sense to our experiences both positive and negative.

Individual counseling provides the opportunity for people to discover their fearswhich create anxiety andconfrontthem.  During the counseling process clients focus on what is true about them and what defines them.  Together we explore the meaning we give feelings and how to move towards what is important to us.

Change occurs after recognizing negative behaviors that result from feelings that originate in what we believe about our self. Identifying our feelings and discovering what we believe in that situation, helps us discover if what we believe about our self is true or not.  Change happens when we are able to accept the painful feelings and thoughts without giving them meaning.  We are free to choose based on what we know versus what we feel.

Couples Counseling

Intimacy in marriage is experienced emotionally, physically and spiritually or three dimensionally.  When conflict occurs in the relationship, couples find themselves turning away from the each other. Distance ensues and trust begins to erode.  When conflict occurs anxiety rises resulting in emotional flooding.  Flooding prevents us from accepting the bids for connection that our partners initiate.  Identifying these feelings and discovering how to soothe ourselves leads to emotional balance.  Couples must find safety within the relationship to share their feelings while not being defined by what the other feels.

Sharing feelings is an act of vulnerability that creates Intimacy where trust is built and couples feel loved and desired in the relationship.  Sharing and validating feelings creates emotional safety within the relationship.  This vulnerability is the primary way to strengthen a marital bond and keep love alive. Through vulnerability, you’ll be able to re-establish a secure emotional attachment and preserve intimacy in your marriage.

As a Gottman trained marriage family therapist, I help couples learn how to build a relationship where they turn towards each other, manage conflict and begin to dream about their future together. 

Couples Marathon Weekend

Couples Marathon Weekends are 10 hours of concentrated counseling over a two and half day period with a Gottman trained licensed marriage family therapist.  Using the evidenced based Gottman treatment model, couples complete a relationship assessment that pinpoint the areas in which they can achieve the greatest growth and move forward to a place of strength, reconnection, and hope.

The Couples Marathon Weekend is a dynamic alternative to traditional therapeutic approach that is condensed and focused on the specific issues to get your relationship back on track. 

Couples will be presented with tools and interventions to learn how to build love maps, turn towards each other and accept bids for connection.  Gottman’s research shows that 69% of problems couples face go unresolved but does not end the relationship.  Couples often focus on eliminating the conflict instead of managing it.  During the Marathon Weekend they will learn to manage conflict.  Couples will begin to dream again and develop rituals of connection that move them towards fulfilling these dreams.

Family Counseling

People exist in the context of relationships and within family systems that have specific rules that have developed over time.  When these rules are dysfunctional and do not work, the family system ensures through the concept of homeostasis to always move back to what is known regardless of its functionality.  If we change the organization of the family presenting problems can be resolved.  In family counseling,

I approach therapy from the perspective that interactions between family members are transactions that can change and become more successful.  Family systems theory suggests that often families do not want to disrupt the equilibrium of the family even when it is unproductive or unhealthy. I help families identify and  learn new ways to relate to one another free of negativity.

Groups

Men’s Sexual Addiction

Freedom groups incorporate a recovery program that provides accountability and practical application of the 12 steps. Participants work through all 12 steps together finding freedom from sexual addiction.  These groups have the flexibility of being conducted weekly over the phone.

Men’s Intimacy Anorexia

Intimacy Anorexia Men’s Freedom group is a place where men learn how to engage their spouse, partner or other relationships without the anxiety that intimacy causes. This is a working group working through a 12 step program towards freedom from withholding the very intimacy that starves our close and intimate relationships.

Sexual Addiction

Recent estimates show that nearly 12 million people (4.5%) suffer from sexual addiction in the U.S. alone (Carnes, 2001). Despite common misunderstanding, this addiction is not about “too much sex.” It is a serious problem in which one engages in persistent and escalating patterns of sexual behavior despite increasing negative consequences to self-and/or others (SASH  Web site,  2007).  In dealing with sexual addiction, I help the client first address the addictive behaviors.  Once a measure of sobriety is obtained, clients are able to begin working on the reasons they have used sex to manage the pain and stress in their life.

For many, addiction to pornography and other compulsive sexual behavior has destroyed their most important relationships.  Recovery from sexual addiction is possible with the help of others.  Seeking help for this issue requires the individual to come out of hiding and be willing to tell another their most shameful and dark secrets.  Clients can expect to find an accepting environment where transparency is rewarded and freedom found.

Depression and Anxiety

Depressive disorders constitute one of the most common and serious disorders seen in therapy. It is often called the common cold within mental health.  While some treatment therapies prescribe anti-depressants, available research data clearly indicates that treatment outcome for psychotherapy is equal to that of drug therapy in cases of moderate and severe depression and superior in terms of reducing subsequent relapse. The most successful intervention is a both/and approach…both medication and therapy.

Depression can be very debilitating and is often misunderstood by clients and their families.  The thoughts and beliefs about certain stressful events create a sense of hopelessness for people suffering with depression.  In counseling, I implement a Cognitive Behavioral approach, while validating a person’s experience helping them discover ways to re-frame negative thoughts and perceptions.

Trauma, Grief & Loss

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is the result of traumatic experiences that cannot be understood or processed at the moment they are occurring. The brain switches to the sympathetic autonomic nervous system which is the flight or fight system.   PTSD is triggered when similar or familiar emotions from the trauma trigger are experienced in the present. The sympathetic nervous system takes over again and signals danger when in fact there is no real danger. 

Identifying the trauma trigger and processing it while your system is at rest (parasympathetic system) will disempower the anxious or traumatic feelings from responding. The key is to recognize the traumatic feelings and instead of resisting them, accept them without giving them meaning.  In other words, the traumatic feelings describe a time when danger was present but no longer define the current reality.

As a Certified Trauma Specialist, I help clients identify the trauma triggers, process them and remain in the present moment where they are safe.  Over time the power of the trauma trigger diminishes and the individuals is able to experience the feelings from past trauma in the present.

In Grief, individuals are dealing with loss and often become depressed.  Grief is a complex experience incorporating many mixed and contradictory emotions.  People try to bring order and sense to their lives but during times of grief there is no order as feelings rise randomly.  Helping clients cope with grief involves sitting with them through the pain while they experience their loss in a supportive and validating environment.  We do not try to “fix” grief, rather experience it within healthy boundaries