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Services Provided

Clients who seek my help as a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (LMFT) come with virtually any topic of concern. Each person's needs are unique, and I try to find what works best for each individual client.
My special areas of expertise include:

  • Stress management,
  • Depression,
  • Anxiety,
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),
  • Couples in crisis,
  • Life transitions (including grief),
  • Work and career issues,
  • Anger management, and
  • First Responder Certified Counselor

In providing individual, couples and family counseling, I work with a wide range of emotional and behavioral issues providing services that span from therapy and support.  In a comfortable and supportive atmosphere, I offer a highly personalized approach tailored to each of my clients individual needs to help attain the personal growth they’re striving for.

How I Approach Therapy

Often, I find use of "solution oriented therapy", which builds on a person's unique strengths, can offer valuable results within the shortest timeframe. This is my preferred approach to therapy, when it is appropriate for the
client .This method stresses collaboration between client and therapist, as well as effectiveness and results. It frequently asks the "miracle" question -- "If you went to sleep and overnight a miracle happens, what would be different the next day?"

Because my basic goal is to help move people forward, and not spend unnecessary time dwelling on the past, this type of "brief therapy" technique can often result in exactly what its name suggests -- fewer sessions needed to accomplish effective results. Brief therapists validate clients' realities and experiences, guide clients to "shift" how they view things, and tape into clients' strenths to find solutions.  Goal-setting is the foundation of this approach. See www.brieftherapy.com for more information.

I frequently incorporate "cognitive behavioral techniques"(CBT) to help modify "stinkin' thinkin'". One of the best books for this approach is The Feel Good Handbook by David Burns. This is also a focused, problem-solving approach, which may include relaxation training or assertiveness. It identifies thoughts that produce negative or painful feelings, as well as maladaptive (unhealthy) behavior.  If changes are made in thinking, changes in emotions and behavior will follow. CBT is highly effective for anxiety, stress, depression, anger, relationship problems, phobias, addictions, and low self-esteem.

I also utilize "dialectical behavioral therapy" (DBT) developed at the University of Washington to help with "emotional regulation".  St. Joseph's Behavioral Health at 209-943-2000 also offers weekly groups for clients to learn these techniques. DBT is a great set of tools; my favorite is "is it fact or fiction?" used to identify how you should react to a situation. DBT takes CBT a step farther -- if you find it difficult to change your thinking, try changing your feeling about the situation, or your behavior, and that, in turn, can change your thinking pattern.

I like to suggest affirmations, visualization exercises, and other paths to enlist the help of the subconscious to change negative or inappropriate thought patterns. There are many other tools available, particularly for stress, depression, and anxiety, such as mood logs, gratitude journals, and "sticky notes", to help change patterns, and I strongly encourage exercise and paying attention to a healthy diet. Walking outside (sunshine and Vitamin D!) has been found to be extremely beneficial for stress and depression (see When Your Body Gets The Blues by Marie-Annette Brown and Jo Robinson, based on research at the University of Washington).

Certified First Responder Counselor

I have completed and been certified by Academy Hour as a First Responder Counselor, which entailed specialized training for police, firefighters, EMT, and 911 responders. 

Military and Veterans

I have also received specialized training in working with military and vets. I am currently contracted with Military One Source and the Veterans Administration to work with these populations.

Other Specialized Modalities

I am certified in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) which is a protocol for treating trauma (see www.EMDR.org).  I am trained in Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) and Thought Field Therapy Techniques (TFT) which are ways to lesson emotional over-reactions that actually "tap" on acupuncture sites (see www.emofree.com and www.rogercallahan.org). I also have had training in Brain Spotting, another technique for treating trauma.

Of particular interest to me is the ongoing research showing links between the brain's neurotransmitters and a variety of mental health issues, including substance abuse, and the impact of adequate and appropriate nutrition, including vitamins and amino acids.

There are recommendations for natural supplements to help mood disorders, as can be found at www.moodcure.com as well as www.amenclinic.com. Dr. Amen's work has also utilized brain imaging scans for a variety of mental illnesses and disorders such as ADHD.  There are several organizations utilizing supplements in substance abuse treatment. Specifically in regards to substance abuse, see A New Prescription for Addiction by Richard Gracer, MD (his clinic is in Mill Valley, CA), and Seven Weeks to Sobriety, by Joan Larson, PhD.

I tend to refer people to Artesian Health Foods and Green's Nutrition in Stockton, or Sheri's Sonshine Nutrition in Lodi if they want to pursue these avenues.  However, severe cases of depression and anxiety, as well as serious mental illness, almost always need to be under a doctor's care. Please do NOT stop any medication without consulting with your doctor first.

A Poem (by Frank Outlaw)

Watch your thoughts,
they become words.
Watch your words,
they become actions.
Watch your actions,
they become habits.
Watch your habits,
they become character.
Watch your character,
it becomes  your destiny.