I am a Licensed Marriage and Family therapist in private practice in Seal Beach, California. I am part of a group practice in Seal Beach, just off the 405 freeway The Center for Integrative Health and Healing
I specialize in couples' therapy, trauma therapy, and problems of addiction. I also see individuals dealing with anxiety, depression, life- and career-transitions and more.
I also specialize in a form of pre-couples'-counseling known as Discernment Counseling. This particular counseling protocol was developed, and is constantly refined, by Bill Doherty of the Doherty Relationship Institute in Minnesota. It is designed to help couples who are in crisis, on the brink of separation and/or divorce. The counseling helps couples make a clear decision about whether to stay in the relationship as it is, end the relationship, or commit to intensive couples' counseling for a period of 6 months. Discernment counseling is time-limited, a highly focused process of clarifying desires and goals. It is NOT couples' counseling itself, but, rather a process couples engage in to decide whether they want to commit to longer-term couples' counseling to remake their relationship.
From the Doherty Institute:
If you or your spouse or partner are considering divorce or separation, but are not completely sure that’s the best path, you are in a tough spot.
Discernment Counseling is designed for you. It’s a chance to slow down, take a breath, and look at your options for your marriage. Discernment Counseling is a new way of helping couples where one person is “leaning out” of the relationship—and not sure that regular marriage counseling would help--and the other is “leaning in”—that is, interested in rebuilding the marriage. The counselor will help you decide whether to try to restore your marriage to health, move toward divorce, or take a time out and decide later.
The goal is for you to gain clarity and confidence about a direction, based on a deeper understanding of your relationship and its possibilities for the future. The goal is not to solve your marital problems but to see if they are solvable. You will each be treated with compassion and respect no matter how you are feeling about your marriage at the moment. No bad guys and good guys. You will come in as a couple but the most important work occurs in the one-to-one conversations with the counselor. Why? Because you are starting out in different places. The counselor respects your reasons for divorce or separation while trying to open up the possibility of restoring the marriage to health.
The counselor emphasizes the importance of each of you seeing your own contributions to the problems and the possible solutions. This will be useful in future relationships even if this one ends.
Number of Sessions: A maximum of five counseling sessions. The first session is usually two hours and the subsequent are 1.5 or 2 hours. Discernment Counseling is not Suited for these situations:
• When one spouse or partner has already made a final decision to divorce or otherwise leave the relationship.
• When one spouse or partner is coercing the other to participate.
• When there is danger of domestic violence
If your relationship is in crisis, it can be saved. However, the process of remaking your relationship anew can occur only if both partners in the couple are committed to a process of change and renewal. Discernment Counseling can help clarify the necessity of ending the relationship, or help you reach the point of commitment to change and renewal within your relationship.