Welcome

 

Welcome to my practice! I am a licensed psychologist, specializing in anxiety, addiction, and eating disorders, while also treating a broad range of problematic issues such as depression, low self-esteem, trauma, self-injurious behaviors, and relationship distress.

One of the questions I commonly encounter in my work with clients is, “how is talking about my problems going to fix anything?”  This is such an unfortunate misperception, as brain science now provides scientific evidence to support what was once just experienced by those in therapy, that is, the relationship matters and heals!  A meaningful therapeutic connection accomplishes this through a concept called neuroplasticity, which is the brains ability to reorganize itself and form new connections in response to new learning and experience.  A therapeutic relationship that encompasses attributes such as attunement and resonance helps cultivate the development of integrative fibers in the brain that promote self-regulation, meaning that you can  handle life’s ups and downs with more balance.  This process also reduces cortisol, the stress hormone, as well as other inflammatory markers in the body, which have been associated with depression and anxiety.  In addition, talk therapy helps to integrate and process feelings and experiences that are unresolved and likely causing one distress. 

If you are considering therapy, are suffering, or are not satisfied with your life, important questions to ask yourself include “do you find yourself held back in life by your depression, anxiety, addiction, eating disorder, low self-esteem, etc?  Are you waiting until you’re ‘better’ to begin certain goals, be more social, be a more loving partner/mother/friend, or start that exercise program you know would be good for you?  Are you confused by behaviors that you keep engaging in that you are not good for you, but you can’t seem to stop?   Have you been able to give up an unhealthy coping mechanism, only to have it replaced by another unhealthy one?”

If the answer is “yes”, to any of the above then starting therapy is absolutely the first step in the right direction.

therapy in santa barbara

Keep in mind that what brings someone to therapy is a problem, but it may not be the problem. 

It is so common to hear individuals report that they don’t understand why they keep engaging in “X” behavior and that they don’t know how to stop perpetuating the negative cycle they are in.  Often this is because your physiological goals/needs are not congruent with your psychological goals.  In other words, even though the behavior may be problematic, there is some reward/pay-off (ie. it feels good, relieves anxiety,etc), otherwise you wouldn’t be doing it anymore! 

If you decide to enter therapy with me, you will learn the difference between your mind and your brain, so that you can you use your mind to change your brain!  We will seek to uncover and address the underlying, core emotional issues that may be manifesting as symptoms or problematic behavior.  For example, perhaps it is your unconscious (or conscious) fear of abandonment that interferes with your ability to have healthy relationships and ultimately causes you to act in ways that push people away, which only reinforces your fear and belief that people cannot be trusted.  Or conceivably, below your awareness there is a deep sense of shame, which you are not in touch with, as you are so preoccupied by your depression or anxiety. Helping you to identify these core issues will provide the much needed insight to assist you in changing.

therapy santa barbara

You will become more aware of your psychological defense mechanisms and how these work to keep anxiety provoking material out of your consciousness, your patterns of relating and attaching to others, and the needs you to seek to have fulfilled.  You will learn how to disentangle yourself from problematic thoughts and feelings, while also changing your relationship to  them (accepting what is).  You will also become more in touch with your values and how to commit yourself to living your life in a manner that is congruent with them, even in the presence  of painful feelings and experiences. This is so important because living your valued life is directly correlated to your level of well-being and life satisfaction.

Therapy provides you with hands-on, immediate tools to utilize as you work through your struggles, while also holding the space to delve deeper into your psyche to bring about lasting change and personal growth.   Invest in yourself, because change is possible!

 

  • Lifespan of an Emotion

    Posted: January 14, 2017

    “I recently read in the book My Stroke of Insight by brain scientist Jill Bolte Taylor that the natural life span of an emotion—the average time it takes for it to move through the nervous system and body—is only a minute and a half. After that...

  • Anxiety

    Posted: June 10, 2015

    You need to worry! While this may sound counterintuitive, we are actually hard wired to worry about anxiety provoking things as it ensures our survival. Although, as far too many people know (more people suffer from anxiety disorders than any other mental illness), this well...

  • 3 Things to Remember about Depression

    Posted: November 10, 2014

    Depression is a pervasive mental illness that can occur for many reasons. The recent suicide of Robin Williams has catapulted discussions of depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses back to the forefront of people’s minds. Of course, it is preferable that depression can be discussed...

  • One of the most empowering messages to come out of neuroscience is that our very thoughts and and where we place attention changes the physical structure of the brain (Donald Altman, MA, LPC).  More importantly, the significance of self-directed neuroplasticity (Jeffrey Schwartz) offers ...

  • How to heal from pain?

    Posted: March 24, 2015

    “The way to heal pain, the only way, is to feel and release it.  Your pain is your pain. Your fear, desperation, and resentments are yours, too.  All these emotions belong to you.  Feel them, learn from them, and let them go” (Melody Beattie, Journey...

  • Listen as Dr. Amen and Tana Amen describe how you can change your brain to change your life.

  • When Eating Becomes a Problem   An eating disorder might seem humorous. Have you ever joked that you could “eat everything on this table?” For some people, though, overeating is no laughing matter. Overeating and binge eating disorders are complex illnesses that can be life-threatening....

  • Why Is Food So Addictive?

    Posted: August 8, 2014

      What you need to know about Food Addiction   I  provide therapy to patients who are dealing with eating disorders such as Anorexia, Bulimia, and Binge Eating Disorder, as well as disordered eating styles that do not meet criteria for an eating disorder.  These are serious...

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