Marriage Counseling and Family Therapy

The Journey of Therapy

This image reminds me of a journey into the unknown, yet it invites me to travel down the highway to explore new places I've yet to see. The fence line leads my eye to the road which disappears around a corner into a dense forest. It is a great metaphor for counseling and therapy on so many levels - the journey, gaining the insight to see the forest for the trees. This picture was taken in the front range of the Colorado Rockies on the way to Colorado Springs at around 8000' elevation.

Welcome to Santa Cruz Family Therapy

I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) who genuinely believes that therapy can be a transformational experience that produces powerful and long-term change in your life.

Whether overwhelmed by a problem or feelings that cannot be fully understood, troubled by a relationship that is failing, or experiencing diminished ability to be effective in your everyday routine, I would consider myself honored to be trusted with your vulnerability and pain, and help you to achieve positive change in your life.

My offices are located in downtown Santa Cruz and San Jose / Campbell

Finding a Therapist or Marriage Counselor

Initiating therapy can be a daunting and challenging process, and that begins with selecting a family therapist or marriage counselor around whom you will feel comfortable, safe, and respected. You've taken the first step by going online to find that therapist, but it can be a difficult exercise to pick who to call out of the many choices available to you.

Although it would be beneficial for you to personally interview prospective therapists, with today's busy work and personal schedules, it's not very practical to do so. The purpose of my web site is to provide some of the information you would obtain by speaking with me. It doesn't replace our initial appointment, but hopefully it gives you a better idea if I'm the right fit for your counseling needs.

It comes as no surprise that those who find psychotherapy helpful say the most important part of therapy is their relationship with the therapist. I've tried to personalize content on this site and make it conversational wherever I can, to better enable you to discern whether there might be a connection — an important element of the client-therapist relationship. I'll start that by sharing about myself.

I became a therapist because I discovered that it was a large part of who I am. Even at an early age, I found that I was often the person others felt safe to let their guard down with — to share with me what was happening with them below the surface, and to seek out my guidance.

As I trusted others with my own struggles and pain, and experienced their compassion and insights, it helped me on my own life journey, and I desired to offer that same care to others. For me, being a therapist and marriage counselor is about loving to listen to others, to hear their story, to share their pain, to support them in altering their course or making changes in their life, marriage or relationships, and to be present with them during a small part of their life journey.

Psychotherapy versus Counseling   more info . . .

Some of you found this site searching for a therapist, while others might have been searching for a individual or marriage counselor. In the process, you might have noticed that the terms "Therapist", "Psychotherapist", and "Counselor" seem to be used somewhat interchangeably. You might have wondered what the difference is, how I can refer to myself as all three, or how I differ from other "counselors".

By definition, a "counselor" is an "advisor" — they give advice. More specifically, it involves two people working together to solve a problem. While my role as a counselor is not to give you advice — you have many options for that such as family, friends and even the Internet — it is to work together with you to to solve problems you're having in your life or in your marriage. However, rather than handing out advice, my role as a counselor is to help you rediscover your own voice(s), and guide you in the directions you truly desire to go. Counseling generally denotes a relatively brief treatment that is focused most upon behavior, or in marriage counseling, communication. It often targets a particular symptom or problematic situation you're experiencing individually, or in your marriage or relationships with others.

Therapy is defined as "the act of caring for someone." "Psychotherapy" focuses on gaining deeper insight into chronic physical and/or emotional problems. A psychotherapist concentrates more on your thought processes and way of being in the world rather than specific problems. Psychotherapy is designed to encourage communication of conflicts and insight into problems, with the goal of bringing relief of symptoms, and changes in your behavior that will lead to improved functioning. Psychotherapy tends to be more longer term than counseling.

Psychotherapy requires more skill and training than simple counseling. Psychotherapists not only receive specific training, but are usually licensed — only after completing thousands of hours of supervised counseling and an extensive examination. Licensed Psychotherapists are overseen by state boards that make them accountable, and hold them to a higher standard. While a psychotherapist such as a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) is qualified to provide counseling, a counselor may or may not possess the necessary training and skills to provide psychotherapy and family therapy, and are usually not licensed.

In our sessions, there may be quite a bit of overlap between counseling and psychotherapy depending on your immediate (in the moment), short, and long term needs.

Click here for more information on my approach to therapy and the goals of therapy.