Lorena* was raised by a single mother.
She recalls hearing hurtful words from her mother throughout her lifetime, such as, “You’re going to be just like your no-good daddy.” There was no affection in the home, no hugs, or “I love you.”
When she was in high school, she told her mother of her hopes of becoming an attorney. Those dreams came crashing down when she heard her mother say, “You’re not smart enough to be a lawyer.”
Those negative comments throughout her life took root and grew into personal self-doubt and low self-esteem.
Today Lorena is in her early to mid-’20s and recently ended an abusive relationship and wants something different in her life.
Lorena was crying and, with broken words, said, “He told me I was stupid and dumb, he’d cuss me out, humiliate me in front of his friends. Now in hindsight, I can see how he blamed me for his shortcomings. When I finally got the nerve to leave him after four years, he told me nobody would want me and that he only stayed with me out of pity.
I want to get out of my mom’s house, her negative talking is really draining, and I want my own place, but I can’t afford to leave.
I want to work in the legal field to take care of myself, but Mom might be right. I don’t think I’m smart enough.
I want to have someone love me, but my mom and ex might be right. Who’s going to love me? I’m damaged goods, just like my no-good daddy.
I gently asked her to get her BUT out of the way.
Morgan* has been depressed for as long as she can recall.
Nonetheless, she has always been able to push through. Her pet Cocoa was instrumental in helping her feel better, but Cocoa recently passed away.
Morgan says she has been feeling really low – not to the point of death. She has no appetite or energy, and she can’t seem to get out of bed. She’s cried so much that her eyes are swollen, and to top it off, she is feeling lonely.
“I’m fortunate enough to work virtually, but my productivity is going down, I can’t seem to focus, and the emails are just piling up. The only reason why I got out of bed, took a shower, and got dressed, was because I knew I was meeting you. I didn’t want you to see me that way and judge me.”
“I just want to feel better. I want to feel normal. But I don’t want to take pills to get better.”
Jason* is a dentist…
… and Zuri* is an anesthesiologist.
They met in college. After five years of dating, Jason asked Zuri to marry him. They decided they needed premarital counseling so that they could have a lasting marriage. They have busy work schedules, and virtual visits for counseling fit their lifestyles.
Jason mentioned his desire to be the BEST husband to Zuri because his parents have been married for 40 plus years.
“I watched how my parents love one another, and I want that. I want to make Zuri happy, she says I don’t listen to her, so I guess I need to work on that.”
Zuri was raised by her mother and stepfather. Her biological father passed away before she was born, and her stepfather (Daddy) is the only father she has known. Zuri also has fond memories of a great childhood and loving parents.
“I want to learn how to problem-solve, and sometimes he has a hard time getting me. I know he hears me but doesn’t really hear me.”
Times are changing…
…like seeing your medical doctor remotely, how about groceries delivered to your home, what about purchasing a vehicle online. I’ve got another one, cars driving and parking themselves. Figure that.
There may be times you laugh, and there may be times you cry. But there’s no need to apologize for the tears.
Consider me as your captain while we go on your journey together. Feel free to grab a beverage and tissue if you like during session.
New ways of thinking, doing, feeling, and being…
We’ve had our free consultation, agreed that virtual sessions are ideal, and decided to move forward with treatment.
I will schedule your appointment, forward a link to you, allowing you to complete the online intake documents.
You will receive a reminder via email/text the day before your appointment. On the day of the appointment, just click the link to join our session in your safe environment.
During the first session, I will ask you questions about your history. We will discuss what will be different once you’ve graduated from therapy. I like the term “graduated” because it sounds accomplished versus terminated, which sounds so final and harsh.
From there, we will create your personal change plan (known as the treatment plan), and we start on this new adventure during our upcoming sessions.
During treatment, we will…
Focus on the new way of thinking. It starts with unlearning habits that aren’t working well. You’ll learn how to be sensitive to those thoughts that weigh heavy and bring no joy in your life. Challenge those negative thoughts by renewing your mindset. Think of the Little Engine That Could: I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.
Focus on the new way of doing. It’s ALL up to you. Change doesn’t happen unless you are DOING. Not to worry, I’ll help you.
I’m an interactive therapist. What does that mean?
In a nutshell, there may be activities. There may be role-playing, there may be psychoeducation.
The doing comes in the form of, wait for it:
Whatever we’ve talked about in session is what you will get to practice or DO in the real world outside of therapy.
For example, if the goal is to have more energy, your homework may consist of eating healthier or doing some form of exercise.
Homework for couples can consist of allocating a certain day of the week for one-on-one time without interruption.
A new way of Feeling…
I’m not going to lie, sometimes you’ll feel super uncomfortable, think this stuff feels weird, and thoughts of not finishing therapy may come to mind. Just remember the Little Engine That Could. Because change sometimes feels intolerable.
Oh, we’re not going to stop there. This new life-changing decision can also feel wonderful and rewarding. You may feel so relieved that you may want to go out and tell everybody what makes you feel so good.
Think about something you purchased and how good the product made you feel. You were so excited to share your experience that it may have gone something like this:
I bought this new water. After ten days, I felt so healthy because the water made me lose weight, get toned, have energy, and I don’t have to take medicine anymore for health-related issues. Now, that’s some kind of feel-good. I know that’s extreme, but I think you get the picture.
Imagine how life would be once you’ve renewed your thinking, by doing, acknowledging those feelings – now you’re at BEING.
Being better than where you started, a new lifestyle change.
Let’s be clear: Your therapy journey is a unique adventure.
The decision to enter therapy is just as unique as your fingerprint. Therefore, your therapy outcome will reflect your fingerprint of success. But here is the caveat; this may take more time for some than others in resolving the challenges.
Short-term therapy typically lasts 8-12 weeks and pays attention to finding an effective solution to a recent situation/event. During this form of therapy, you’ll learn how to become empowered to make successful outcomes for your well-being and resolve issues.
Morgan benefited from short-term therapy. Her goal was to feel better. Once she understood what made her feel better (spending time with her family), we created the steps to help her accomplish her success.
Her first homework assignment was to call one family member before the next session.
She completed that homework assignment as well as many others. Within two months, she was having brunch with the women in her family every Saturday. Each weekend they would alternate who would be hosting the brunch. She learned from that one telephone call that her family members were missing her as well.
Long-term therapy is greater than the 8-12 weeks and helps you understand how the past is currently affecting how you do things now and understand yourself.
Lorena is benefiting from long-term therapy. Her goal is to work in the legal field; however, fear is stopping this process. We are working on how her past negative experiences (hearing harsh words from her mother and ex) affect the decisions or lack of decisions she’s experiencing today.
You’ll get what you put into this endeavor…
As with everything in life, whatever you give the greatest focus to will become your reality.
Therapy is about learning a new way of being. We are surrounded by negativity daily that we don’t even notice when we are speaking these toxicities. What if I told you everything you spoke would happen? Would you be intentional about what you said? Here is your chance to have success during therapy to achieve your goals.
Therapy is collaborative. I am giving you permission to communicate what you need. Permission to ask questions; if something isn’t working for you, permission to let me know. Don’t hold back because of fear of judgment. Remember, this is your journey, and therapy with me is considered a judgment-free zone.
Do your homework, be open to changing your mindset to something new, and remember the focus is on reaching your goal.
I have worked with multiple clients who successfully reached their goals because they were active and did their part in practicing, practicing, practicing until they reached, managed, and sustained personal goals.
There will be highs and lows, but I’ll be cheering you on all the way.
Often, when walking through those troubled waters, something happens. It’s usually a thought, to trigger feelings of pain, fear, and hurt that have been pushed down and buried.
“I don’t want to talk about it. Why is this happening? I thought I dealt with this.”
Rest assured, I will not force you to move in that direction if you are not ready. Some situations cannot be reached via a sprint nor a marathon, only by pacing. We will work at your pace; I will continue to validate your feelings and remember this is the NO-JUDGMENT ZONE.
I’ll teach and guide you on pushing through to the other side – empowering you to take control of those emotions and vaporizing them into thin air.
Other times, there are breakthroughs and wins. This happens when what you’ve practiced has become a new way of life and what once was uncomfortable is now normal and comfortable. You can see your success manifesting and transforming.
Some of the feedback I hear from clients after starting therapy…
You’re easy to talk to.
I feel like you really care.
This was not what I expected or experienced before.
I’m actually glad I started because I feel lighter.
I just needed someone who believes in me. You were happy – really happy – with my wins, and you keep it real with me.
Some years ago, I worked as a receptionist. I was taught to smile as I spoke to customers on the other end of the telephone because the smile gave off a warmer tone, a willingness to help, and the customer felt heard.
As I work with my clients, I keep in the forefront of my mind…
- How would I want to be treated if I was the person seeking assistance?
- How would I want my loved one to be treated?
- Or how do I help my clients feel welcomed?
That was simple for me because, by nature, I’m a pretty calm person. I see the glass half full, oh, but I also keep it real. I believe that’s the true reason my clients keep coming back.
I’ve been transparent with my clients a time or two by sharing personal challenges I’ve overcome. I do this not to judge or ridicule, but to give my clients a renewed sense of hope.
My clients know when it’s time for their session, it’s ALL about them – their place to vent, cry, laugh, and celebrate breakthroughs and success.
This is what got me into counseling…
In 2002, I found myself divorced with three children to care for.
I worked in healthcare for about 20 years and couldn’t make any more money in my position. I’d always wanted to become a nurse, so I took advantage of the tuition assistance offered at my job and fearfully started my higher education journey. I say “fearfully” because many years had gone by since I had been in college. I didn’t do too well the first time around. This time I had three children, a mortgage, and my one small income.
I decided to do distance learning. One of the courses was on marriage and family in the Sociology Department, and I absolutely loved it. By divine intervention, my career completely changed.
Divorced, I wondered, “Who’s going to listen to me?”
In my mind, I didn’t t think or trust that others would listen to me, considering I had a marriage that ended in divorce. But God told me to trust Him, so I did.
In 2005, I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Human Services and went on to get my Master of Science in Marriage Family Therapy from the University of Phoenix in 2008.
Not too long after, I passed the hardest test of my life and became a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist (LMFT).
Since then, I’ve worked in both community and private practice.
I find my work so rewarding!
When I finally surrendered and accepted the mantel to work in this profession, I had no idea how rewarding serving others could be. Every day I ask God to help me reach each person I serve individually, right where they are, and I get to witness each prayer answered.
That fearful thought of “Who’s going to listen to me” slowly melted away as I watched countless individuals beautifully transform their lives into whatever they wanted – simply because I helped them believe in themselves. Who doesn’t want to be told what a great job they are doing, even when they don’t see it in themselves?
I am consistent in my professional as well as personal life in seeing the potential in others.
When I’m not doing therapy…
I enjoy going to church, and family get-togethers are the BEST. The food, music, and laughter are PRICELESS.
I also enjoy baking sweets and watching hair and makeup tutorials on social media. I used to be an AVID window shopper, but now I am a frequent flyer with one of the largest online stores.
Let’s give your life story a new narrative…
Let’s focus on solving your life’s stressors and help you take center stage.
You’ve read my story and seen how I’ve assisted others in overcoming their challenges. Allow me to help you on your journey.
Let’s walk through those troubled waters together and see what’s on the other side.
Transformation can happen! It all starts by calling me to schedule your free 15-minute consultation: (951) 394-1903.
*Names changed to preserve client confidentiality.