Improving Your Emotional Well Being One Practical Step At A Time
SERVICES I OFFER
Personalized Care and Guidance
I am a trauma therapist and I help adult clients heal from the pain of past life events. Trauma is an emotional response to life threatening and/or overwhelming events that exceed one's ability to cope. I am trained to provide evidence-based therapy to people one would typically associate with trauma, such as Veterans and First Responders. However, I am also able to assist adult clients overcome childhood traumas, or adverse childhood events, which can include physical, sexual, emotional, and/or intellectual abuse.
In my work with trauma patients, I find that they struggle with overwhelming feelings, like anger, sadness, shame, embarrassment, and regret that they cannot break free from. They also struggle with unhelpful trauma beliefs such as, "I can't trust anyone" "I am not safe" "I can't protect myself" "I am not loveable" "I am not worthy", "I am broken" etc. Trauma survivors experience unwanted trauma symptoms like hypervigilance and find themselves doing behaviors that push them further from the people they love. They may also find themselves engaging in counterproductive behaviors like people pleasing, co-dependence, counter-dependence, lashing out, drinking, risky sexual behavior, impulsive behaviors like reckless driving and more. Finally, trauma survivors often isolate and avoid things that bring the trauma to mind. Avoidance, however, is the fuel that can keep trauma burning, among other things.
Trauma requires the assistance of a trained professional. Talk therapy is not enough. Trauma must be approached in a very specific way to help survivors understand the task of therapy, undermine avoidance, and do the work necessary to heal from past events.
Therapy is a wonderful tool to help anyone heal from past hurts, overcome challenges and create a life worth living, but it is not always easy. Think of mental health therapy like physical therapy, it may cause momentary discomfort but the more effort you put the better the results you will see.
I provide telehealth services (HIPAA compliant video sessions) and in-office treatment by request. I have found that providing telehealth services has allowed me to connect to individuals who may not have had access to specialized treatment due to lack of speciality in their area. Telehealth services are also great for busy individuals who may not have had time to drive to my office due to L.A.. traffic. It also provides privacy for individuals working in industries where it may not be acceptable to ask for help like in the First Responder field.
Sometimes in life we experience unpredictable, overwhelming, distressing, and/or tragic events that exceed our ability to cope. These events can occur either in childhood or in adulthood and can alter the way we think, feel, and behave.
This is called trauma. Trauma is a response to any life threatening or potentially life threatening situation that a person experiences directly, or sees. Trauma can also result from repeated exposure to details of life threat that occurs as part of one's job (e.g., Military, First Responders, Medical Professionals). Trauma impacts survivors in several ways. It alters your belief system (e.g., I have to keep people away, I am not safe, the world is bad) and it changes emotional responses (e.g., persistent fear, anger, horror, guilt, shame, etc.). Trauma results in symptoms like nightmares, or unwanted but repeated memories of the event occurring seemingly randomly. It increases arousal responses like startle and hypervigilance. Other arousal responses include sleep problems, poor concentration and memory. You may find yourself unwilling, or perceive yourself to be unable to confront reminders of your trauma either in mind and body or in your environment. Trauma survivors live with a great deal of distress but can compensate by avoiding symptoms through working extra hours, or not leaving home. Unfortunately, their worlds become smaller and negative emotions like fear and anger errod relationships.
The good news is that trauma is treatable through proven therapies like Cognitive Processing Therapy, Prolonged Exposure, and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy. I specialize in all three modalities and can work with you to find a method that can help you heal. I have experience treating Military Sexual trauma, combat traumas, First Responders who have experienced trauma, rape, and more.
Please know that trauma can occur in childhood as well. When childhood adversity or traumas occur, children struggle to make sense of what has happened and often blame themselves for things like abuse, neglect, or sexual assaults. Trauma-related beliefs can develop and shape the course of their lives influencing how they perceive events, respond to others, and limits the things they do (i.e., avoidance). Survivors may experience thoughts like, "I don't matter" "People are not safe", "It is not safe to express emotions", "I have to take care of others and put myself last". Survivors may find themselves drawn to dysfunctional peer groups or abusive partners. They may struggle with low self-esteem, and chronic low levels of depression and anxiety. Survivors may use drugs, alcohol or disordered eating patterns to cope with stress. They may struggle to make meaningful friendships preferring hyper-independence and strong walls to guard them from feeling vulnerable. Survivors may also experience overwhelming feelings, misinterpret intentions of others, lash out or prematurely end relationships. The number of symptoms and the degree of severity vary by person, and by the nature of the trauma.
If you are an adult survivor of childhood trauma, I highly encourage you to seek treatment to help you live a life free from triggers and distress. I regularly treat adults with childhood onset traumas.
Please note, I do not treat child survivors of trauma, but I am will provide referrals to a child-trauma specialist.
Anxiety is a normative human emotion and experience. However, sometimes anxiety can grow so large that it interferes with our ability to successfully cope with life challenges. Anxiety can start to negatively impacts our ability to work, perform well in school, socialize, or even leave our homes. It does not have to be this way. I used evidence-based therapies such as Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety to help you bring anxiety levels into a helpful range. I also incorporate Mindfulness-based strategies or Acceptance and Commitment based techniques to help you learn to be aware of symptoms without them spiraling into panic. If you are suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder, a Phobia, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, please contact me for treatment. ERP is very effective and if you are motivated to change, you will see great gains over time.
Adjusting to life changes can be overwhelming whether it is related to loss of a loved one, loss of a job, changes in role (retirement, empty nest, new to parenthood), changes in health status and functioning (chronic illness, loss of mobility or independence), or coping to some other change, it is important to receive balanced and accurate guidance to learn how to live with changes. Too often we fight against what cannot be changed and this causes suffering. Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral strategies, I can help you successfully create a new relationship with the changes in your life.
Per the American Psychiatric Association, depression is "is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act"(American Psychiatric Association, 2020). Depression can feel heavy, overwhelming, isolating and can wreak havoc in your personal, professional, and social life. Individuals struggling with depression often experience negative, pervasive, and global appraisals that make them feel bad about themselves, hopeless, powerless, and helpless. They may stop doing the things they love because interest and pleasure is gone. It can become harder to get out of bed, and many can experience suicidal thoughts. Depression can be treated through talk therapy and with appropriate mediation management through a qualified professional. I treat individuals struggling with depression with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to address depressive thoughts, re-engage them in life by helping them change behaviors, and I incorporate other strategies like Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to help them live a meaningful life. I also use DBT strategies to help individuals struggling with suicidal thoughts or urges. Depression is treatable. Schedule an appointment and begin the journey of reclaiming your life.
EVIDENCE-BASED THERAPIES OFFERED
In my practice, I use the following evidence-based treatments to help clients reach their treatment goals, reduce distress, and improve their quality of life.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP)
Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) for PTSD
Prolonged Exposure (PE) for PTSD
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR)