As a trauma therapist in Oakland, CA, I often help clients understand what therapy may do for them and what type of therapy (and therapist) might be best for them depending on who they are and what their goals.
Asking for change is something that happens eventually in interpersonal relationships-- whether it's about texting frequency, boundaries with families, putting away the toothpaste... As a couples therapist in Oakland, CA, I help partners share their feelings and ask for their needs to be met in constructive, effective ways.
As a couples therapist in Oakland, CA, I'm often find my clients in painful, frustrating loops of communication that go no where. Often individuals just want to be and feel seen and heard and get their needs met and are using ineffective means to do that. In my experience, the most ineffective means are below.
Box breathing is a simple yet effective technique that can help to reduce stress, promote relaxation, and keep you within (or return you to) your window of tolerance. It involves inhaling, holding the breath, exhaling, and holding the breath again, in a steady and controlled manner, while counting to a specific number of seconds. Here is a step-by-step guide to box breathing:
The window of tolerance refers to the optimal range of emotional and physiological arousal that a person can manage effectively. The window of tolerance is a helpful metaphor I use as a trauma therapist in Oakland, CA.
As a queer couples therapist in Oakland, CA, I often work to assist couples in identifying and understanding the attachment patterns that are playing out in their current relationships and how their past experiences of attachment may be influencing their behavior now. Individuals and couples can heal past attachment wounds and traumas and develop more positive, vulnerable, and secure ways of relating to others.
As a couples therapist in Oakland, CA I often find my clients stuck in a pursuer-withdrawer dynamic. In this common relationship pattern, one partner (the pursuer) tends to seek emotional connection and wants to discuss issues in the relationship, while the other partner (the withdrawer) tends to withdraw or avoid these conversations.
You shouldn't have to choose between authenticity--being your full + wonderful self--and attachment. You should be able to find people who fully love you--and even delight in you--and provide you secure attachment. This is especially true in childhood! As a trauma therapist in Oakland, CA, I often see clients who suffer from codependency, people pleasing, low self esteem, and attachment issues--strategies that arouse when they needed attachment and their authentic selves were rejected.
As a couples therapist in Oakland, CA, I commonly see how reactivity keeps couples in frustrating loops of conflict. Read more about how your implicit memory impacts relational conflict.
As a trauma therapist in Oakland, CA, I see many clients who experience an inner critic, from intense self criticism to cruel self-hatred. I encourage an empowering reframe: self-hatred has kept you safe, and protected you from intolerable feelings and experiences-- vulnerability, mistakes, accountability, disappointment, reckoning with trauma--but do you still need to be using self-hatred as a tool?
Stephanie Bain, LMFT
***Resources are not a substitute for therapy and are not intended for making diagnoses or providing treatment. Not all practices and tools are suitable for every person. Please discuss exercises, practices, and tools with your individual therapist or health care provider.