California Marriage and Family Therapist License # MFC41610
Wholeness does not mean perfection: it means embracing brokenness as an integral part of life. Knowing this gives me hope that human wholeness — mine, yours, ours — need not be a utopian dream, if we can use devastation as a seedbed for new life.
Welcome to my psychotherapy site. There are times when life dishes out more than we can handle. Sometimes, situations keep arising one after the other and it seems like we can't catch our breath. Coping skills you used in the past might not be working now. It's hard to ask for help. But, when you take that first step and reach out, you realize you no longer have to face it alone.
My goal is to help you reach optimal mental wellness. It's not good enough to "not be anxious or not be depressed." We will explore together what might be holding you back from attaining happiness, fulfillment and joy in everyday life. A therapeutic relationship has a healing effect. There are benefits in feeling heard.
It takes time to choose the right therapist. Feel free to explore my website. You may call me at 818/343-7714 or email me and I would be happy to answer any questions or concerns you have about beginning therapy.
Go within every day and find the inner strength so that the world will not blow your candle out.
-- Katherine Dunham
Learn To Ride Out Change
Change is inevitable. Rather than fighting against changes that occur, it is to your advantage to learn how to ride them out. Look around you, everything is constantly changing... The seasons, relationships, the weather, your emotions. If you can make peace with that fact, you just might feel that life is a little bit easier. Here are some simple ways to comfort yourself as changes occur:
You’re already doing it, yes. But are you doing it in a way that reduces anxiety? Your body releases 70 percent of its toxins through breathing. When you breathe deeply, you release carbon dioxide that has been passed through your bloodstream into your lungs.
There are various methods of deep breathing. I simply count to five inhaling through my nose, and then count to five while exhaling through my nose. Counting to five for me is breathing at a rate of five breaths a minute, which maximizes the heart rate variability (HRV), a measurement of how well our parasympathetic nervous system (which combats anxiety) is working.
2. Identify the amygdala.
If you hear a voice saying something like this: THE WORLD IS ENDING, that probably is your amygdala speaking. It is the almond-shaped cluster in your brain that is responsible for 99 percent of the panic memos you get. An untamed amygdala can be especially problematic for persons prone to anxiety and depression.
We can’t eradicate our almond-shaped clusters altogether because they do serve a purpose — when we are truly in danger, they provide a little energy boost to get us out of harm’s way. However, we can choose the way we respond to the amygdala: We can immediately panic, or we can send the amygdala’s message to our sensory cortex, a more sophisticated part of our brain. It teases out the essential information and delivers a much more accurate message.
3. Identify stories you're telling yourself.
With transition and the shorter days comes the hallmark cognitive distortions: all or nothing thinking, jumping to conclusions, overgeneralizations, discounting the positives, blame, and “should” statements. It’s helpful to identify these before you attach too much truth to them, and then to equip yourself with the right cognitive tools to combat them: identifying the distortions, examining the evidence, thinking in shades of gray, and other ways of untwisting your thinking.
4. Grab your security blanket.
Babies aren’t the only ones who are comforted by a tangible object that denotes security to them. Throughout the years, people have told me about a special object that they use to hold or look at that represents comfort and hope when they are scared, confused or stressed. These things represent hope or strength or safety in an ever-changing, tumultuous world.
5. Stay in the moment and find the humor.
Anxiety almost always takes place when your brain is fixated on the future. Sadness is usually caused by something that has happened in the past. Rarely do we panic about something that is going on in the present moment. Remember, right now in this moment, you are okay. Someone once said, “If you've got one foot in the past and one in the future, you're pissin on the present." :)