California Marriage and Family Therapist License # MFC41610
15503 Ventura Boulevard, Suite 390A
Encino, California 91436
Therapy can provide the tools needed to meet life's challenges with more awareness, ease, empowerment and meaning.
My offices reflect a calm, welcoming atmosphere. I feel it is important to create a safe and compassionate therapeutic environment which allows clients to discuss their feelings. Most clients tell me that I am easy to talk to.
After listening to the difficulties clients are having, we begin to explore how negative patterns that they weren't aware of may be causing them to be unhappy in their present relationships. I believe that successful therapy is team work in which both therapist and patient work together in a non-judgmental way with the goal of self-understanding. Psychotherapy can provide a compassionate mirror which enables the client to become aware of themselves in a way that we cannot do alone, or through reading self-help books.
With my experience in mindful meditation, I am able to help clients deal with anxiety, panic attacks and depression by giving them hands on coping tools. Therapy is a wonderful process that can bring the hope of living a more satisfactory, productive and fulfilling life. In my practice I also run therapy groups, where clients are able to work through their difficulties in a supportive environment. Groups are important because so many people are feeling isolated today, and isolation causes additional suffering. The group is like a wonderful lab where clients learn how their skills at relating can be worked on so that they can have more satisfying relationships in their life.
It takes a lot of courage to make the decision to come to therapy and talk about your difficulties and work them through so that you can be in a better place. I respect that courage and always keep that in mind when working with clients.
Go within every day and find the inner strength so that the world will not blow your candle out.
-- Katherine Dunham
5 Steps Towards
Step 1. Courage: Find the warrior within. I’m not talking warrior as in those found on battlefields, I’m talking about being brave enough to embrace all of who you are, even the messy, embarrassing parts you wish would just disappear. Our instinct is to run away, but our troubles will only follow. Instead, turn towards that which is injured and needs healing within you. When you bring a fearless attention and caring to your wounds you are able to benefit from their surprising and important lessons of transformation that they hold. It takes courage to be completely honest with yourself and accept who you are in a gentle, kind way without self-judgment. Learn to hold yourself the way a mother holds a child.
Take comfort in knowing that you are not alone in this struggle. You may not hear people talk openly about it, but everyone feels the pain of not feeling good enough at one time or another. Be open to learning new ways to ground yourself and remain centered, no matter what happens. A wonderful quote that really applies to these moments is from renowned author, psychologist and meditation teacher, Jack Kornfield: “When you lose everything, this is your opportunity to practice courage by standing up for what cannot be lost.”
Step 2. Compassion: After you have been brave enough to get to know those embarrassing places inside you, recognize them in others. When you are around difficult people who feel the need to intimidate or engage in some form of malice, recognize that it’s coming from a place of feeling very small inside. Don’t let that big scary persona fool you. Remember when someone feels good about themselves, it feels good to be around them. Engage your warrior and have enough strength not to let their hot air blow you down. Instead, connect to the frightened child within them that feels the need to puff up and appear big in order to protect themselves. That’s called having compassion. Learn to bring a wise and compassionate spirit to the circumstances of your life. Let compassion help you feel more connected to yourself and others.
Step 3. Gratitude: Challenge your feelings that nothing right is happening in your life–even if you haven’t gone out on an audition in three weeks and you don’t know how you are going to pay the rent. Recognize and remind yourself of the beauty around you. It’s there, find it. Don’t wait for someone to bring it to you, go after it yourself. Whether it’s the way a shadow dances on a ceiling or the innocent laugh of a child, don’t see the world as black or white—because it isn’t. Build mental muscle so you don’t go down the disappointment drain. Rely on gratitude to help bring balance to your view when it’s stuck in scarcity instead of abundance.
Step 4. Believe in yourself: Know that your core is made of basic goodness. Maybe you’ve lost your way right now and are struggling to make some tough decisions, but trust that you will find your way back home to the person you were meant to be. Learn to recognize your own beauty, your own genius. We need reminders to trust ourselves and learn how to awaken our inner knowing. “You were designed to journey through the full measure of beauty and sorrows in life and survive,” says Kornfield. Realize that you were born with a sparkle inside of you that is waiting to shine brightly.
Step 5. Live in the present moment: Don’t put your life on hold waiting for something better; this is your life right now. We don’t have control over what is going to happen tomorrow. Yesterday is gone, so enjoy the gift of the present. Endless worries about the future and playing the reruns of your past are only going to get in the way of enjoying the present. Build a practice of staying in the present moment through mindful meditation. The capacity for sustained moment-to-moment awareness, especially in the midst of emotional turmoil, is a skill. Fortunately, it is a skill that can be learned. Mindfulness can be utilized as a tool to uproot entrenched habits of thinking that cause unhappiness, anger, envy or self-destructive behaviors. Mindfulness is a softer light – like a candle- bringing awareness to our difficulties and bringing healing through understanding. The present moment becomes the doorway to true peace and happiness.
My gift to you this season is the wish that these steps enable you to transform your difficulties into a guiding light on your journey towards happiness.
“We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time.” – T.S. Eliot