Whether you are seeking help with anxiety, depression, compulsive relationships with food or other substances, unhealthy interpersonal relationship patterns, or bad habits you can’t seem to break, our proprietary process that leads you to self-healing can help.
We believe that a successful therapeutic relationship makes you feel safe. But we don’t think an empathetic ear within a safe environment is enough. We want you to take possession of every tool we have to offer. Our goal is to get to know you as you introduce us to your struggles. Then, we will help you customize the following systems to your personal situation:
➤ Empathetic Self-ReflectionTM
Is our exclusive process that will help you develop a habit of holding your perceptions with gentle self-respect rather than continuing a loop of self-criticism and self-doubt. When you understand how to value and trust your experience and your intuition, you will hold the key to the self-healing process. This essential element serves as the umbrella principle for the remaining systems we employ during our work with you.
➤ Stress Management
Although “stress management” is often given lip service, we believe that it is the key to balance between the mind, emotions, body and behavior that is often overlooked. As such, we will take a detailed look at what you are doing well and where you need improvement. We do this using a specific, concrete self-diagnostic tool for on-the-spot evaluation of your stress levels. Once you have a clear understanding of how effective stress management supports your ongoing growth and well-being, you’ll be ready to personalize your plan to get the most out of your therapy as you progress toward your goals. In addition, our “secret sauce” is an amazingly simple, easy to employ strategy for calming yourself down at any time. We’ll help you put this strategy in your pocket for on-the-spot zen whenever you need it.
➤ Triggering Events and Your Fight/Flight Response
When you have had a specific trauma, recognizing triggers is easy. However, when your relationship with yourself and with others includes some of your own behaviors that you aren’t happy with and that you don’t understand, there is likely a trigger to the past acting without your awareness. We will guide you to uncover trigger and fight/flight response insights about yourself that will empower you to neutralize the emotional reactivity you experience when you are in situations that have been difficult for you. You will become empowered to separate past (triggering) events from your current reality. You will be empowered to choose your actions in the moment with increasing confidence and a stronger sense of personal well-being.
➤ Identify and Replace Unhelpful Thought Patterns
Related to understanding your fight/flight response is the ability to inspect old beliefs and evaluate their value to your current situation. Life experience often provides the challenge of imposing “shoulds” on us in a way that creates stress and fear. Especially fear of “breaking the rules.” It is often these very rules that keep us in fear, keep us feeling stuck and prevent us from developing ourselves in satisfying ways. We stand ready to support you as you uncover the thought patterns that no longer serve you. Once uncovered, we will show you how to effectively drain the life-sapping power of unhelpful patterns of belief. Your next step is choosing what to believe and how to behave based on your current understanding of what is right for you.
➤ Understand the Purpose of Feelings
Many of our clients come to us feeling confused about their feelings and even being afraid to feel. This is because most of us haven’t been taught why we feel as we do and how our feelings are helpful. Even the uncomfortable feelings. When you clearly understand the purpose of your feelings, they become a tool to your personal growth and increasing sense of personal power. You no longer need to fear your feelings. We will show you how to create a friendship with your feelings and how to use them as your guide as you continue to nurture and heal yourself.
➤ Customize Your Self-Soothing Language
Most people look for therapy because their internal dialogue is critical, which leads to developing relationships with people who “match” that internal dialogue. When a “match” is found in a negative co-worker, a critical boss or instructor, a pessimistic partner or discouraging friends, the sense of confidence and personal growth we may have developed seems to disappear.
When we find someone who speaks a nurturing language to us, a disconnect between that nurturing and our internal not-so-supportive dialogue creates a tension within which causes discomfort. In this situation, we may find ourselves “sabotaging” a relationship that feels “too good” for us, passing up opportunities to thrive or constantly waiting for a loving relationship to take a negative turn.
We are naturally drawn to messages that match the unconscious communication which we have with ourselves. When we don’t find those negative messages in our external environment, our unconscious focus becomes looking for those negative messages in a way that will cause our internal and external worlds to match. Even if that means “finding” problems where none exist.
At The Center for Healthy Relationships, we will help you identify exactly how this works for you. We will help you map it out in a way that will allow you to predictably identify when old, negative, out-of-context thought patterns are pushing into your present situation and exactly what to do so that you can create a self-soothing language that will always work for you, supporting your ongoing growth.
➤ Make Good Decisions
When you have learned the system we teach at The Center for Healthy Relationships, you will be empowered to increase the time between events surrounding you and your responses to those events. When unconscious patterns of thought and past hurts go unexamined, we inevitably fall into unhealthy knee-jerk reactions rather than taking time to make healthy choices. When you have a context that allows you to understand yourself using our systems, you will have all of the tools you need to move forward without ongoing therapeutic support. We are in the business of putting you in control of your life, not of keeping lifetime clients.
Once we’ve worked with you through this process with the initial difficulty you brought to therapy, we’ll support you in the next problem that concerns you. Along the way, we will be constantly watching for opportunities to strengthen your ability to use the process with more and more independence. Our ultimate goal is to walk you through the same process with each new situation that arises until you are able to use the system without therapeutic support.
Every relationship develops to a place where the things you need most from your partner are the very most difficult things for them to give. At the same time, what they need from you is the hardest for you to give. This happens because most people unconsciously seek a partner who matches unresolved emotional patterns from their past. It is a seeking that can lead to deep healing, but also presents a feeling of crisis.
When your relationship comes to this place of crisis/opportunity, you have three choices: 1) Stay in the relationship and tolerate discomfort without making any change, 2) Work together to support each other while you confront the developmental tasks your relationships is inviting you to overcome or 3) Separate.
We are here to help you work together to overcome the developmental crisis in your relationship and help you experience a corrective emotional experience with your partner. During couples therapy, we are looking for those opportunities to help you restore your emotional connection and sense of empathy for each other. This is less dependent on communication skills and more dependent on the way you listen to each other.
Healthy, stable, successful relationships involve both partners activating a self-management process within the context of the relationship. Effectively, both of you need to be able to separate the ghosts of the past from your present with your partner so that you can hear each other without feeling attacked, belittled or dismissed. The self-management process allows you to hear your partner’s feelings and respond with empathy and connection while recognizing that those feelings are separate from your own experience.
In addition, you need to learn to: communicate effectively, hear each other through an empathetic lenses, make clear requests and provide feedback in a way that is mutually satisfying.
In intimate relationships more than anywhere else, our past history comes to life disguised within the patterns we develop in newer relationships. At The Center for Healthy Relationships, we use the Imago Therapy strategies developed by Harville Hendrix in combination with an understanding of the characteristics required for a happy, stable relationship which include:
- A sense of trust and respect
- A feeling of safety
- Emotional intimacy and attachment
- Disagreeing respectfully
- Maintaining positive rituals
- Being responsive rather than reactive
At The Center for Healthy Relationships we will support you in developing a safe, healing relationship that allows you to nurture and help each other continue to grow as individuals. We will work diligently with you to help you develop the skills and characteristics necessary for a happy, stable relationship.
At The Center for Healthy Relationships we believe that a child thrives when his or her parents know how to incorporate that child’s basic human needs into their parenting style. We also understand that based on Social Learning Theory, we parents can become our kids’ favorite toy by reacting in ways that subtly reinforce behaviors we prefer not to see in our children! It’s powerful to a child to be able to set off a strong response in their parent. It’s also unhealthy and creates a lack of safety for the child. When children do not feel safe, they cannot learn and develop as they should.
In reality, there are only 3 types of behaviors we see in our children: 1) Those behaviors we like and want to see more of, 2) Those behaviors we don’t like, but can tolerate and 3) Those behaviors we cannot tolerate. We are prepared to help you understand each type of behavior, increase the frequency of those behaviors you want to see more of and eliminate unwanted behaviors. It is our job as parents to teach our children socially appropriate ways to get their needs met so they can grow up knowing how to negotiate for what they need responsibly while increasing their ability to develop their own healthy relationships in the future.
We believe that parenting support should be the first strategy for dealing with a child’s difficult behaviors. We regularly decline requests to work solely with children, especially with young children. We work from the philosophy that you are the most important factor in your child’s well-being and we stand ready to assist you in understanding how to make the most of your parenting relationship.
PTSD Recovery Groups
Our PTSD Recovery Groups are intended to offer healing to those who are unable to afford individual therapy services at The Center for Healthy Relationships but are motivated to apply the healing principles taught in the group format toward their healing journey. The groups are also a supportive adjunct to individual therapy if you are already in treatment to deal with trauma. Our PTSD Recovery Groups are held in 12-week, closed sessions and are limited to 8 to 10 participants, each of whom has been pre-screened to ensure the group will be a good fit and appropriate to each person’s needs. The fee is $50 per group session ($600 for the entire group series). A 50% deposit is required at your intake interview. The balance is required at the first session. The fee for the series is non-refundable.
When you participate in our PTSD Recovery Group, you will develop an in-depth understanding of how to heal your trauma based on experiential exercises as well as skill development. The group curriculum includes the following specific topics:
➤ A specific assessment of how trauma affects you in the following areas:
- Social Relationships
- Brain Function
- Achieving your Goals
➤ Empathetic Self-Reflection
- Exploring how trauma has changed the way you see yourself
- Establishing or Re-establishing an internal nurturing voice
➤ Trauma and Grief
- Exploring the stages of grief as they relate to the trauma experience
➤ Understanding Your Own Fight/Flight Responses
- This includes re-connecting your thoughts to the feelings you have in your body
- Developing a compassionate view of how your flight/fight response affects your physical well-being and health and how to reverse the process that is deteriorating your health
- Gain insight into how feeling panicked shortcuts your ability to think
- Learn how to ground yourself so that you can think clearly in panic-inducing situations
➤ Understand How Managing (Or Not Managing) Your Stress Contributes to your Trauma Experience
- Learn a clear, structured process for evaluating and lowering your current stress levels
- Understand what causes you the most stress
- Develop a clear action plan for consistently reducing your stress levels
➤Understanding How to Identify and Take Care of Your Essential Needs
- Recognize how trauma interferes with getting your essential needs met
- Learn how to diffuse trauma triggers that prevent you for asking for what you need
➤ Learn How to Eliminate Fear When Confronted with Reminders of Trauma
- Learn how your brain processes trauma
- Begin the process of separating “then” (when the trauma occurred) from “now” (when you are reminded of the trauma, but are safe)
➤ Rebuild Your Life After Trauma with New Beliefs/Rules
- Start to think about new possibilities without the overshadowing of pain
- Develop new ways of thinking, free from fear
- Integrating your trauma experience into your life story
- Giving yourself permission to move forward
➤ Test New Possibilities
- Begin living within the context of new possibilities
- Allow yourself to expand your experiences where trauma has caused you to close yourself off
Wait list currently forming. Please call 626-657-0061 for details.