“Walking through the neighborhood, the grasses are pushing up through the sidewalk, but they all had their start beneath the ground. So maybe it’s ok that for a very long time, I have also been underground. The thickest tree was once the thinnest. What very strong thing in nature did not start off as weak? If up until now I have been weak, that does not mean I will never be strong.”
Excerpt from Motherhood, by Sheila Heti
WHAT IS AN MFT?
MFT stands for Marriage and Family Therapist. I am licensed by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, which means that I have a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology and have obtained a minimum of 3,000 hours of supervised clinical experience.
DOES THAT MEAN YOU ONLY SEE PEOPLE WHO ARE MARRIED AND/OR FAMILIES?
Nope. MFTs work with individuals, couples, and families from all walks of life. We work with people on issues that impact relationships of all kinds: romantic, work, family, etc.
WILL YOU TELL ME WHAT I SHOULD DO WITH MY LIFE?
Nope. I try not to give advice. Therapy is most powerful when people learn to make and be responsible for their own choices. It can be frustrating to not hear a simple answer to your problem, but that's just not how growth happens. You have to be able to wrestle with some of your own demons and come out with insight on the other side. I will be there through that journey with you and help guide you, but I won't tell you how to live your life.
IF I GO TO THERAPY, DOES THAT MEAN I'M CRAZY?
Absolutely not. If anything, it shows that you're interested in learning more about yourself and care enough about yourself and those around you to learn how to manage your life better. In my opinion, therapy should be used as part of everyone's ongoing health regimen in conjunction with healthful eating, good sleep, and exercise. People forget about the "mental health" part of health.
ARE YOU GOING TO JUST SIT AND STARE AT ME AND TAKE NOTES?
No, that's not my style. I like having conversations with people and enjoy becoming engaged with the people who come to my office. Most old movies show therapists from the psychoanalytic or Freudian school of thought, which endorsed the therapist as a "blank slate" who would reflect back onto the client. As a person-centered therapist, I believe in being authentic and real with my clients. Even though I'm a therapist, I still have opinions and specific points of view that may or may not differ from yours. That's what makes the therapeutic relationship fun and active.
WON'T YOU GET BORED OF HEARING ME TALK ABOUT MY PROBLEMS ALL THE TIME?
I find humans pretty endlessly fascinating and am rarely bored by people and/or their problems. That's why I entered this field.
WHY SHOULD I PAY YOU TO LISTEN TO ME WHEN I COULD JUST TALK TO MY FRIENDS FOR FREE?
Sometimes people don't feel a true sense of unconditional acceptance from their friends or family members. Personal relationships can be complicated and sometimes it's important to get an unbiased point of view. Also, because of my education, training, and experience, I can professionally assess for and identify mental health diagnoses like depression and anxiety and refer you to an MD if necessary. If you feel you get the support you need from family and friends, that's great! But if you're looking online for a therapist, you're probably feeling something is lacking and that you need more support or guidance. That's where I can offer something different.