Living in the San Jose Silicon Valley area is such an exciting, innovative and diverse place to live. However, we also have many challenges. The outrageously high cost of living, our achievement and success oriented culture, and the social media pressure to keep up with everyone else can put strain on our mental health.
These stressors can take a toll on our professional and personal lives. Sometimes it can lead to clinical depression or anxiety. The hard part is that many of us are so busy, we don’t have time to take care of ourselves.
Many of us don’t realize that we are depressed or anxious. We may have struggled for many years thinking “this is the way it is.” Or maybe feeling depressed or anxious is a sign of weakness so we hide it from others, suffering in silence.
Those of us who understand that we are struggling may have our own challenges. Maybe we are afraid of burdening our friends and family who have “heard the same story” many times. Maybe we want to tell someone but we are afraid of what others will think, or afraid that others will judge, or gossip to our family, friend group or church group.
Counseling is a confidential, safe place for you to share your thoughts and feelings. The time is yours, so you can spend it talking about whatever is on your heart. I am trained to guide the conversation so that you feel heard and understood, yet moving in a good direction to make progress. Many people leave the therapy session feeling more relaxed, hopeful, and ready to make positive changes.
I am an active therapist.
I don’t just sit there, listen, nod my head and send you home. If you want to talk the entire session, be my guest–it’s less work for me! However, from my 17+ years doing therapy with clients in the San Jose area, I find that people want direction, they want an active guide to help them navigate their next steps. I am sharp and focused; I can help you pinpoint what is not working and find tangible, practical solutions.
I am non-judgemental.
People often come to me after others have judged them for what they did or how they are feeling. For example: depression=you are lazy, snap out of it. Anxiety=you’re weak. Addiction=you’re morally wrong. I am a Christian (and a pretty devout one at that), and as a Christian I believe that we are all sinners falling short before the glory of God. This is the foundation for me as a therapist. No. One. Is. Perfect.
And if you are going to therapy, I am assuming you want to change, to feel better, to have a better life. No one has any reason to judge that, and in fact, we can only support and admire the courage someone has to take that step. So don’t be afraid of what I’ll think of you. And I’ve heard it all. From murderers (I’m not kidding) to millionaires, I’ve been privileged to hear many stories and help many people along in their journey. So I won’t judge you.
I have many years of experience.
I knew I wanted to be a therapist at a young age. This is rare as many people come into this field as a second career. I was so lucky to build up many years of experience at many different settings. I have over 17 years of experience. I do feel that the more experience one has, the better one gets at doing something. The more you practice, the better you get.
Therapy is my life.
Like I said above, I knew what I wanted to do at a young age. No one in my family or friend group had ever seen a therapist. They all either thought it was “weird” or impractical and hoped I’d change my mind. I didn’t just “stumble” upon this career. I knew I wanted it. I still remember the excitement of seeing my first client at age 23, not knowing what the heck I was doing. After all these years, I still get excited to start my day. And at the end of the day, I am thankful for all the stories I’ve heard and all the ways I was able to help.
You want someone who is passionate about what they do. Why? Because if they are passionate about what they do, they will be passionate about helping you. They will be engaged, they will care.
It’s so hard to open up to a stranger.
I agree it can be very hard to open up to someone you know, let alone someone you have never met! However, I provide a safe, compassionate atmosphere where you will hopefully feel at ease. Many of my clients come to me during the first session extremely nervous. Some say things like, “I almost didn’t come, I was so nervous.” or “I was sweating on my way here.” And by the end of the session, they are feeling calm, relaxed and grateful for our time together.
I already have friends and family I can talk to.
This is a great blessing if you already have people you trust in your life that you can call and talk to. I always encourage my clients to continue having this support around them. It is key. However, sometimes you need a professional who can speak to certain issues that your friends or family wouldn’t be able to understand. A lot of times, friends and family are biased and may not be able to see the situation clearly. Sometimes there are psychological issues that need to be worked through that family and friends may not have the expertise to speak on.
If I go to counseling it means I’m ________. (crazy, weak, lazy, etc)
I have met some of the most amazing people in my office. They are definitely NOT weak, lazy or crazy. In fact, they are some of the most extremely hard-working, resilient, self-aware and intelligent people I’ve met. It takes a LOT of courage to call a therapist. It takes a LOT of drive to put your money where your mouth is and seek help. These people want to get better, they are not lazy, they are doing the work to get there. I feel that I do a good job of making people feel safe in session, but it is not easy to open up and talk about painful things in your life. Those who choose to do so are extremely brave.
Going to therapy does not equal crazy. Lots of celebrities talk about going to their therapist. The people who walk into my office are intelligent, oftentimes execs at their companies. Or they are change agents for their communities, or mothers who are doing an amazing (but hard) job of raising kids in this crazy world. Going to therapy means that you know your life can be better and you need some help and support along the way.
Talking to a therapist won’t change the situation I’m in.
This, unfortunately, is true. I cannot change whether or not your boyfriend stays with you. I cannot make your jerky boss be fair. However, life throws us many curve balls and some we can handle, others we need more help with. We need more clarity to make wise decisions. We need to not be so emotionally involved so that we do something drastic. We need to feel calm so that we can keep the rest of our lives together. No, I can’t change your situation, but hopefully through our time together, I will be able to help you see more clearly so you are making the best choice for yourself, both now and for the long run.