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I’ve been a therapist for a long time, and still love every minute of it (well, except for paperwork, but that’s a different story).  It suits my nature to help people.  I help by listening, for what is said and what isn’t said, and by spending time thinking about how to help a person make… Read more

I’m excited to say that I’ll be giving a talk on “Getting Past the Holiday Blues” at the Simi Valley Chamber of Commerce Wellness Wednesday meeting.  It happens Wednesday, January 17, from 12-1 pm, at the Chamber offices at 40 W Cochran St # 100, Simi Valley.  The phone number for more info is 805-526-3900. If… Read more

All of California has been dealing with fire this season.  First in Northern California, and more recently in Southern California, it seems that all of us know at least one person who has been directly and severely impacted by the fires. Here are two links to very helpful information that I encourage you to share. … Read more

Life can be difficult, and sometimes we get discouraged. So often, our attitude is the result of how we think and on what we choose to focus. Here are seven rules for having a better attitude. Wait to Worry.  What were you worried about last year?  Did any of it really happen?  There are a… Read more

We are getting lots of calls from people who are feeling affected by being present at the Las Vegas shooting tragedy.  I thought it would be helpful to post here about symptoms that may be present, and what to look for that may mean extra help or support is needed. After a traumatic event of… Read more

originally posted here by Melissa Hartwig, Founder of Whole30 WE CHOOSE OUR HARD. Anyone who has been through a traumatic experience knows the dread associated with processing that event. In the aftermath, we think the idea of talking about it, replaying it, “working through it” sounds like torture. No thank you. It sucked bad enough the… Read more

1.  Deep “Belly Breathing”.  Try taking 6 to 10 deep breaths.  Put your hand on your belly and imagine filling your belly with breath, rather than your lungs.  This helps you breathe deeply from your diaphragm.  Be sure to fully exhale each time.  You can even exhale with a “whoosh”, forcing the breath out.  It’s… Read more

Until a couple of years ago, I had never heard of this.  Then I met a young woman who described in detail how agonizing it was for her to hear her family members chewing their food, or her fellow students cracking gum, or making any other sort of mouth noise.  The clicking of pens and… Read more

In September 2006 (nearly 10 years ago) I presented a seminar to the Conejo Valley Mental Health Professionals Association at the Sherwood Country Club. A few weeks later an article appeared in the Acorn newspaper entitled “Demystifying Sensory Dysfunction” that summarized the seminar. The article pointed out how children, teens and even adults may have this… Read more

When life throws things at us, we try hard to make sense of the chaos.  This is especially true in our relationships, both at home and elsewhere.  We have interactions, we pick up signals, things just happen, and in an effort to make sense of it all, we tell ourselves stories.  As author Brene Brown… Read more

We all love the holidays, but we don’t love the stress they bring.  Actually, we create some of the stress ourselves, while some can’t be avoided.  What to do?  If you can’t change some things, change the things you can.  Here are some ideas; you may have more — please feel free to share. Take… Read more

It is definitely not fun to cope with chronic pain.  It’s not fun to hurt all the the time, and it’s also not fun to have devote a significant part of your day to try to prevent it, minimize it, or stop it from getting worse.  Many of my clients with chronic pain say they… Read more

In my many years of practice, I have encountered quite a few people who don’t realize that they are what is called “a highly sensitive person”.  What does this mean?  It means that some people have a nervous system that is more easily over-whelmed by too much stimulation.  They don’t like too much of anything… Read more

Recently I read an article in Psychology Today that discussed a simple change in how we talk to ourselves.  It seems that if we are in the habit of using the first person “I” as we talk ourselves through a situation, we raise our anxiety levels.  If we use the third person, our names, we… Read more

A while back I wrote a letter to doctors who refer to me, explaining what happens when they refer a patient for anxiety.  Here’s the letter, with some additional thoughts below. My general treatment plan for…..anxiety When you refer a patient for anxiety, chances are that they are experiencing symptoms severe enough to cause at… Read more

I just read a great post from last month on the Psychology Today website.  Toni Bernhard, a former law professor who suffers herself from chronic illness, writes a “Not-To-Do List” for caregivers, and it is excellent.  I’ll share the bullet points below, but please read her article to really understand how to take better care… Read more

I’ve been thinking a lot about resilience, that quality that some people have that helps them bounce back from adversity, rather than be crushed by it.  Rather than try to write an article which might not get finished for weeks, I decided to offer a list of links instead.  I found a great link from… Read more

I finally had a wonderfully relaxing Friday at home for the first time in a while, and it sure made a difference.  I feel more relaxed, I actually got things done, but I didn’t rush.  This is is one of things I wish I had learned when my kids were little, and even more so… Read more

The final post in our “Best of Families Counseling” series is one we can all use — how to do deep breathing and progressive relaxation for stress management. It was originally posted on 8/10/2008… Read more

All of us need the ability to regulate our emotions.  Put simply, what this means is learning how to identify and manage our feelings, even under stress.  In a great post from her blog on Psychology Today,  Dr. Alicia Boyes writes about 10 Essential Emotion Regulation Skills for Adults… Read more

Have you heard of the ACES study?  It’s a study that began in 1994 that looked at Adverse Childhood Experiences and their relationship to current physical health.  The results are sobering,  and point to the need for treatment of childhood trauma, even when we are adults. An Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) is defined as experiencing… Read more

College to Host Suicide Prevention Awareness Event May 7 and 8 The College of the Canyons Health & Wellness Center will host a Suicide Prevention Awareness Event designed to provide students and community members with access to important mental health resources, while bringing attention to the staggering amount of college students who commit suicide each… Read more

With the massacre at Newtown still fresh in our minds, as well as other similar events more recently, the topic of how to spot mental health issues before they become an emergency is a big one on everyone’s mind. Concerned citizens in Simi Valley will have the opportunity to take a free 12 hour course… Read more

There’s a new song making the rounds that is supposed to be “the most relaxing sound of all time”.  Wikipedia says, On October 16th 2011, Marconi Union created an eight minute track, ‘Weightless’ [6] in collaboration with the British Academy of Sound Therapy. In a scientific study commisioned by Radox, it was labelled as the… Read more

Sunday marks the 10th anniversary of 9-11.    For many of our young people, September 11, 2001 was the first, but probably not the last, event that evokes the question, “Where were you when …?”  Living on the West Coast, I remember being out for an early morning run.  My husband and I ran different routes… Read more