Talk Therapy

Welcome! You may be court-ordered to receive counseling or perhaps you are seeking it on your own. Either way, we can help you. During regular business hours, please call to make sure we can get you scheduled, as our appointment calendars are very booked. We have day, evening and weekend hours. 858-217-5770. In the meantime, feel free to read this section and click on the link below to fill out the necessary forms to begin. Thank you!

No matter the type of counseling, counseling involves the process of change.

Intake at FamilyCounselingSanDiego.Com, Inc.

The first session will be to determine your reasoning for coming and setting your goal(s). We will explore these to make sure that you can feel that you can benefit from talk therapy and to recognize that you are benefiting as we proceed through additional sessions. This session can also be used to determine the therapeutic comfort and compatibility you have with me to know that I can be helpful to you. With time available, a foundation can be established for which direction you wish to proceed in, in case of multiple goals.

Individual Therapy

Experiences, and what you have learned from them, can cloud your viewpoint and cause negative perceptions. This can result in negative behavior that limits choices from what you think you can do, to what you really can do. I will work with you to gain awareness of the underlying causes of the behaviors/perceptions/thinking that you wish the change. Once awareness has been created, then we will work to creating healthy and lasting changes to promote more positive outcomes. This process will help you learn to adapt and not allow yourself to fall into the same patterns which have been intrusive upon your life so far.

Relationship Therapy

The choices you make can affect not only yourself, but those around you. Through Couples and Family Therapy, I strive to allow you to share your thoughts with each other, while finding and incorporating ways to work with each other mutually, rather than against each other or living copedenently. It takes 2 (or more) for a relationship to work. Because of this, everyone who comes into my office needs to understand that there is a need for change and honesty. I will work individually or together with members of families; however, anything processed in individual sessions may need to be shared at an appropriate time with the other(s). This process may not make problems disappear completely, but it will reduce their significance and will allow all members of the relationship to display more supportive behavior towards each other.

What is  Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR is a treatment, a therapy, that brings desired results in just a few sessions –with very little talking, without the use of drugs, without the use of “homework” between sessions– a treatment that is mainly used to cure PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder –that array of negative feelings of body and mind that plagues and ruins the lives of many soldiers, rape victims, molested children, catastrophe’s survivors and other people who’ve suffered an important shock or trauma in their lives. This PSTD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is somehow well known nowadays but for the longest time it was overlooked and for the longest time it was treated without much success or not a success at all. And still today many people don’t know of its existence or fail to recognize it in themselves or in their loved ones and are thus unable to seek help for it, let alone take advantage of a cure so incredibly simple and effective as EMDR.

Francine Shapiro happened to notice that when she was disturbed by something she would start feeling better if she moved her eyes. That’s how it all started. She created since then a whole, complex technique that has been adopted by many responsive therapists that, understanding the importance of her discovery and having in mind only the well-being of their patients, have added it to their practice even though by doing it they were acting against the orthodoxy of their own discipline. Although the uses of EMDR to address negative feelings and beliefs are well known, its use in the treatment of addictions and compulsions is far less known and studied and relatively new. Although there are ways of targeting irrational positive effect via EMDR until more recently, there seems not to have been an explanation of why someone might keep going back to the same behavior, over and over, even when the person knows that it is hurting them or others in their life. EMDR is approved as an effective treatment for PTSD by the respected American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, the Veteran’s Administration and almost all insurance companies. Learn more about the transformational Trauma Therapies.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a “third wave” psychological treatment that integrates the key elements of many popular therapies that preceded it (e.g. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy; Mindfulness Therapies). ACT begins by taking the power away from unhelpful thoughts by changing the relationship we have with them. It then explores ways to promote positive behavioral change in the face of strong emotions by having one be mindful of and work towards their goals (e.g. values and achievements). It promotes real-life action that may, in turn, resolve strong emotions that previously had one moving away from what is truly important to them.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the most widely used and researched form of psychotherapy for the treatment of mental illness and other difficulties. It can be used as a primary method of treatment, but also provides a foundation for many other treatments used by our team such as utilizing CBT while having LENS treatment.

CBT is “problem-focused” and “action-oriented.” This means it targets specific problems that one is facing and can be a quick way to target focused difficulties one wants to resolve. Treatment focuses on identifying maladaptive responses to one’s environment due to “cognitive distortions.” These distortions reflect misinterpretations or misunderstandings of our environment that ultimately lead to ineffective behaviors. The goals of CBT are to: identify those distortions, learn new ways to interpret one’s environment and have a different outcome as a result.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is an eclectic treatment that borrows from CBT, mindfulness therapies, and other self-regulatory treatments. It focuses on practical training, exercises, and psychoeducation to promote increased emotional and cognitive regulation.

DBT assumes that clients are doing their best to manage strong emotions and reactive states, but that they can obtain greater success and wellness through skill building. Participants in DBT learn about emotional triggers that lead to reactive states, coping skills to apply at the right time and place, and other mechanisms to avoid undesired reactions.

DBT supports often require ongoing client “check-in’s” between sessions to facilitate positive habits and skill building. These “check-in’s” may require an additional fee.

What is Direct/LENS Neurofeedback Used For?

There are multiple things that neurofeedback can target and help improve. It is important to note that Direct Neurofeedback is not a specific treatment for anyone disorder but is an adjunct to mainstream medicine and not meant to replace it.

Neurofeedback has been found to help in the symptoms and behaviors related to:

  • Addiction
  • Anxiety and OCD
  • Autism and Aspergers
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Chronic Pain and Fibromyalgia
  • Depression
  • Headaches and Migraines
  • Insomnia
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Mood (anger, rage, sadness)
  • PTSD and Developmental Trauma
  • Traumatic Brain Injury

Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT)

Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT) aims to increase one’s connection and understanding of their emotional experience. By recognizing the adaptive functions of emotion, EFT increases one’s ability to recognize how their emotional experience can guide their actions, facilitate individual growth, and shape future goals and directions.

EFT recognizes that emotions can be difficult to manage and process, but aims to increase tolerance for these emotions and the ability to use their emergence in a constructive manner.


Hypnosis and hypnotherapy are treatment methods that can be integrated into several of the other treatment methods used by some members of the FCSD team. The aim of the treatment is to assist an individual to enter a deep state of focus and relaxation that permits one to work on goals without being countered by negative emotions or worries. It allows any place and time to be the “right” place and time to resolve difficulties and move forward in a positive manner. It has a high efficacy in: treating fears and phobias, the management of difficult situations (e.g. anxiety around medical procedures or other upcoming events), or providing momentary relief from high levels of stress.

Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT)

Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) identifies how our relationships and life events impact our emotional state. It examines how negative relationships, our attachments, and our responses to events can have a negative impact on our mood. The goal is to identify or “map” out these relationships and events in order to find positive pathways that promote wellness and positive emotions.

Motivational Interviewing (MI)

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a goal-oriented and directive treatment that focuses on breaking down “ambivalence” as a barrier to success and wellness. It aims to trigger the development and engagement of intrinsic motivation to have a client move forward and beyond areas where they have previously appeared stuck or disinterested in change.

MI is a non-judgemental approach that aims to increase a client’s awareness of the potential consequences of action or inaction, providing alternative solutions to move forward into the future.

Mindfulness Therapies

Mindfulness-based therapies aim to provide increased “awareness” to what one is experiencing in the present moment. It is anchored in the idea that distress and distraction can be a consequence of one’s attention being pulled into the future (i.e. worry), the past (i.e. sadness or rumination), or too unimportant distractions in our environment.

The treatment focuses on increasing the capacity to control attention in order to make the next action, moment, or through a deliberate one (with “attention” comes “intention”).

Variations on Mindfulness can assist with ADHD, empathy building, and relaxation. Mindfulness can form the foundation of a treatment or, more commonly, is complementary to other therapeutic approaches.

Narrative Therapy

Narrative therapies focus on better understanding a client’s “story” to determine how they have gotten to the place they are now and how they may move forward into the future. It examines your previous life experience to form a clearer story of how one has gotten to the here and now. It aims to identify and fill in gaps in order to better understand the full complexities of one’s experience. By reliving these events in more detail, the client can better understand their experiences and how these experiences currently are shaping them. By reflecting and exploring new meaning, a new story emerges that is enriched and provides a therapeutic reconstruction of history and the future.

Play Therapy

Play therapy refers to a variety of assessment and treatment techniques that make use of a child’s natural ability to play. Often children have difficulty understanding and expressing their thoughts and emotions, as they don’t have the language to make themselves heard. A trained therapist engages the child through fun, non-threatening activities, which help to decrease the child’s anxieties about their problems and worries, allowing them to express themselves more freely. The family is often involved in the process to help the therapist understand the family dynamic and assist in generalizing skills into the home.

The overall goal is to help the child express his/her thoughts and emotions, and support them in learning healthy coping skills and solutions. Play therapy provides children with a safe, encouraging environment to express their true thoughts and feelings, in a way that suits their developmental level.

Psychodynamic Therapies

Psychodynamic therapies can incorporate a range of approaches that stem from the idea that individuals can experience internal conflicts that have resulted from previous life experiences. The therapy is “insight-oriented” in that it attempts to help the client identify these conflicts, recognize the nature of the challenges they are experiencing, and how some of the “defenses” that they use to cope may be maladaptive. It attempts to facilitate the development of alternative coping mechanisms by increasing awareness of the conflicts and defenses, changing the meaning/understanding of contributing events, and fostering a positive relationship between the client and the clinician.

Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT)

Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT) shares many similarities with CBT, but tries to make the process as simple as ‘A B C’. The basis of REBT is that negative experiences (both internal and external) result from a life event (A – Activating Event), our interpretation of the factors or causes of that event (B – Belief), and the emotions or actions that result from that interpretation (C – Consequence).

REBT  aims to identify alternative interpretations (B – Belief) and to determine whether this results in different experiences (C – Consequence) after the fact. It is a treatment that involves introspection and real-life experimentation.




Star Behavioral Health Providers (SBHP) is a system for improving the quality of and access to behavioral health services to service members, veterans, and the people that care for them. The SBHP system involves a two-pronged approach: 1. Provide civilian behavioral health providers and other related professionals with training in evidence-based treatment options, as well as training which raises their awareness and sensitivity of the unique challenges faced by military affiliated people.

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