Anxiety and Trauma Focused Therapy for all of California
Is the stress of your life overwhelming you? Or has a past experience left you stuck and unable to move forward?
Whatever it is that you’re experiencing, you’re beginning to notice the impact of this in every facet of your life:
Unable to stay focused and productive at work
Feeling on edge and unable to relax; tense all the time
Difficulty sleeping due to worries or nightmares
Becoming more irritable towards those around you
Unable to turn your mind off; constantly worrying
Loss of interest in things you once enjoyed
Fear of losing control of yourself, particularly around others
Avoiding others and/or certain locations
Feeling numb or disconnected from reality or those around you
You CAN overcome these challenges.
It may feel impossible now, but you can reclaim a sense of control over your life. You can feel confident again. You can feel safe. And I can help you get there.
Below are some of the techniques I can provide you to help you overcome these obstacles in your life.
CBT (or cognitive-behavioral therapy) is one of the main modalities of treatment that I utilize. CBT has been shown to be one of the most effective psychotherapy approaches to address anxiety and trauma related issues along with depressive disorders. The objective of CBT is to assist you in identifying thinking errors and behavioral patterns (i.e. habits) that cause you pain. Once identified, we work to modify both your thoughts and behaviors to help you obtain the quality of life you seek.
Mindfulness is one of the other main modalities of treatment I provide. Mindfulness primarily consists of three parts: be present, observe and describe your experience in non-judgmental terms, and redirect back to the moment when you get distracted. Being present means focusing on the here-and-now, not our thoughts about what we need to do later in the day or what happened yesterday. Observing and describing the here-and-now in a non-judgmental fashion means acknowledging that there are no good or bad experiences, just experiences. Redirecting back to the moment means noticing when your mind wanders off from the present and gently refocusing back to the here-and-now. Research on mindfulness has shown it to be an effective means to reducing anxiety and trauma related symptoms, along with depressive symptoms.
EMDR, or eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy, is a treatment approach that I utilize for trauma/PTSD. It, along with prolonged exposure (PE) and cognitive processing therapy (CPT), are the only 3 psychotherapy treatments that show strong evidence of reduction of trauma symptoms based on research conducted within the VA Healthcare System (National Center for PSTD). The goal of EMDR is to help your brain process the traumatic experiences so that they no longer cause you intense pain and distress. This is done through a process called desensitization, where we have you recollect the traumatic experience while pairing it with either visual bilateral stimulation (i.e., eye movements left and right) or auditory bilateral stimulation (i.e., sounds alternating from the left ear to the right).
PST, or problem solving therapy, is a skill I provide to my clients who are struggling with either anxiety or depression. Often when we are stressed, everyday problems can overwhelm us. As we become more overwhelmed, we tend to avoid confronting the things that are worrying us, further aggravating the situation. On top of this, our ability to distinguish what we can control (and, therefore, what we can do) is diminished. Thus, the objective of PST is to provide clarity to the problem so that we can determine if the worry is within our control to address and, if so, how can it be broken down into smaller, more manageable steps.
DBT, or dialectical behavior therapy, is another therapy approach I use for those who are struggling to identify their emotions, struggling to manage their emotions, struggling to interact with others, and struggling to be present in the here-and-now. In effect, it is a combination of mindfulness and CBT and can be significantly beneficial for those who have struggled to maintain healthy relationships with others due to feeling overwhelmed by one's emotions.
Brainspotting is another treatment approach I utilize for trauma/PTSD. The objective of brainspotting is similar to that of EMDR in that we help your brain process the traumatic experiences via desensitization so that they no longer cause you intense pain and distress. What makes brainspotting unique is that we identify the specific location in the visual field associated with a traumatic memory and have you maintain your gaze in that location while being mindful of your thoughts and emotions as the means to desensitize from the trauma experience.
ADHD Evaluation & Treatment
Have you struggled with constant worry since you were a child? Had difficulties managing your emotions (e.g., emotional meltdowns, regular and intense mood swings or significant temper tantrums as a kid)? Find it more challenging to stay focused on one task than your peers? Always had difficulty sitting still or relaxing? Feeling as if you always have to be busy doing something or that you mind just don't stop worrying or thinking? Find it difficult to wait your turn in conversations or feel the need to interrupt others often? Make small careless mistakes often and don't know why? Have a hard time starting or maintaining work on something that is either boring or stressful? Are you often prone to daydreaming, feeling confused, bored, or spacey ("in a fog")?
If many of these characteristics sound familiar to you, it's possible you might have ADHD. ADHD is a neurodevelopmental condition, meaning that you are born with it and it significantly impacts the way you see and experience the world around you. While the most common symptoms are associated with difficulties in concentration, motivation, impulse control, and hyperactivity, many don't realize that significant and intense mood fluctuations are also commonly associated with ADHD.
Individuals with ADHD often report more anxiety and trauma symptoms than peers who don't have ADHD. In addition, many adults with ADHD report feeling as if they are "failing at adulting", leading to higher risks for depression and suicide.
It's for these reasons that I take time to evaluate each person I work with to identify whether or not they may have ADHD. If they do, I help them find ways to modify the world around them to make it more "user-friendly", help them challenge and break the internalized narrative that something is wrong with who they are, and discuss the various treatment options available to improve work and/or school performance.
Autism Evaluation & Treatment
Since you were little, have you found it difficult to understand what others are thinking or feeling? Is it challenging to read facial/social cues or body language? Do you struggle to follow along in social conversations or to keep them going? Notice that you tend to steer conversations towards things you know well or enjoy and take over said conversations? Have or had difficulties developing and maintaining friendships? Have you always had a hard time managing your emotions (e.g., emotional meltdowns or perpetually feeling burnt out and drained)? Do you tend to prefer maintaining the same consistent routine day in and day out to avoid getting stressed or overwhelmed? Notice that you tend to prefer binge watching the same shows over and over, despite having many other new shows that you are interested in? Do you usually find yourself engaging in the same small set of interests or hobbies? Felt like an alien or a foreigner in a foreign land most of your life, not belonging anywhere you go? See the world in all-or-nothing/black-or-white terms and have a hard time seeing it otherwise? Feel a strong need for fairness and justice and experience significant reactivity when it's violated?
If many of these characteristics sound like you, it's possible you could be Autistic. Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition, meaning that you are born with it and it significantly impacts the way you see and experience the world around you.
It's important to note that Autistic individuals often report more anxiety & trauma experiences, along with more overwhelm due to said issues, relative to their non-Autistic counterparts. Because of the lack of accurate information regarding Autism within society, many individuals who are Autistic are unaware that they are Autistic and, therefore, assume they are "failing at life" due to some inherent flaw within themselves. As society is designed for non-Autistic individuals, those who are Autistic often feel flawed/defective/broken when comparing themselves to others, leading to worse mental health outcomes.
It's for these reasons that I take time to evaluate each person I work with to identify whether or not they may be Autistic. If they are, I help them find ways to modify the world around them to make it more "user-friendly", along with helping them challenge and break the internalized narrative that something is wrong with who they are.