I offer individual therapy geared toward getting more satisfaction and meaning from one's life and one's choices. My style is client-centered, interactive and supportive, guiding the client with questions and observations to the areas where the client has greater choice and empowerment. Duration of therapy varies based on the client's goals. I am open to working short-, medium- or long-term. The work is focused on the present, to the extent possible, keeping the client's therapeutic goals for the present and the future in sight while engaging and addressing material from the past as necessary. I work individually with clients of all ages.
Couples counseling- I work with straight, lesbian and gay couples at various stages in their relationship (married, engaged, committed, or at the beginning -- or end -- of a relationship). My couples work is interactive and supportive, geared toward efficient problem-solving and the working through of presenting issues by offering concrete, usable interventions.
Anxiety warns us against real or perceived danger. The purpose of anxiety is to prepare us to fight against or escape from a perceived threat. The problem with anxiety is that we frequently overreact to a perceived threat and then our anxiety becomes overwhelming.
When depressed, you are likely to experience a general lack of interest in everyday activities. You may also find yourself withdrawing from others, experiencing chronic fatigue, or feeling helpless and hopeless. Depression seldom goes away by itself. If you are depressed, it is important that you seek help.
Family & Relationship Issues
Relationship problems do not occur overnight. It takes time and "relationship neglect" in order for significant problems in your relationships to develop. When you or your partner do not talk about hurt feelings, the hurt soon turns into resentment. The next stage is "emotional deadening." In this stage you feel like roommates instead of intimate partners.
Adult Children of Alcoholics
Children of alcoholics often reach adulthood with a variety of emotional, psychological, and social problems as a result of coping with an alcoholic parent and a dysfunctional family. ACOAs share common characteristics. These characteristics are often shared by anyone growing up in a dysfunctional family, not only an alcoholic one. Addiction of any kind causes the family to behave in abnormal, dysfunctional ways in order to cope. The common characteristics of ACOAs evolve from the survival tactics spouses and children in alcoholic families used to handle situations over which they had no control.
Codependency is a learned behavior that can be passed down from one generation to another. It is an emotional and behavioral condition that affects an individual's ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship. It is also known as "relationship addiction" because people with codependency often form or maintain relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive and/or abusive. The disorder was first identified about ten years ago as the result of years of studying interpersonal relationships in families of alcoholics. Codependent behavior is learned by watching and imitating other family members who display this type of behavior.
Gay and Lesbian
Therapy for the gay and lesbian population consists of a number of factors and how you’re counseled may depend on where you stand as far as accepting your sexuality. Gay and lesbian therapy can focus on identity awareness – feelings that you are different from others or from what you've been taught, identity comparison – not understanding why your feelings are different from those of your parents, friends, siblings, etc., identity tolerance – rebelling against homosexual feelings, identity acceptance – embracing your sexuality and what goes with it, identity pride – anger toward parents, society, religion or others who refuse to accept your homosexuality, and identity synthesis – when homosexuality becomes a part of who you are, not the defining factor for your life.
Your self-esteem is your most valuable asset. With high self-esteem you can move mountains. Without it you can never be a success. Self-doubt makes you question your accomplishments and interferes with your path to success. Our self-esteem is a result of the validation or lack of validation we received throughout our lives. Anger can also have a negative impact on one's self-esteem. When you hold anger in, it eventually turns against you and lowers your self-esteem.
Substance Abuse and Other Addictions
People may use drugs for a number of reasons. Some take them out of curiosity to see what they feel like or because their friends are using them. Others take them to escape painful feelings and situations. Some use drugs because they are addicted and they cannot stop; the drug becomes more important than family, friends, or school. Still others use drugs because they believe in myths - that a drug can make someone more confident, get more work done, feel less sad, improve their sex life, and have more fun. The biggest myth is that occasional drug use is harmless.
Career Change and Job Stress
Career change and job transition can be stressful. Many individuals end up more stressed out than is necessary. There are productive ways to control and manage stress in your life. Life does not need to feel unpleasant or out of control.
Work/ Life Balance
People often talk about their personal and professional lives separately as if one does not affect the other, but the opposite is true. It is known that your work is intrinsically entwined with the rest of your life and believe that as one improves, so does the other. Unbeknownst to you, your professional life might be getting in the way of attaining your personal goals and vice versa. Counseling can help you explore these possibilities while at the same time clarifying a vision of your ideal work and personal environments that will enable you to feel at the top of your game in all aspects of life.
Depression, uneasiness, dissatisfaction, disappointment, fear, stress, curiosity, wanting to hide, feeling unappreciated are all words that men and women have used to describe their life transitions and some of the feelings that they felt. Your own experience will, no doubt, be somewhat different. There is no single description of the experience that is sufficient, but you can get the general idea.
The positive side to this particular crisis is that in most cases these feelings are all healthy, normal, natural reactions to a person’s need to grow. If you are experiencing something like this ask yourself to evaluate the growth possibilities in your life.
Grief and Loss
Grief and loss is a natural and important part of life. Everyone deals with grief and loss differently. There are various stages to grief and loss that can be explored through counseling that will enable an individual to successfully cope with their situation.
Critical Incident Stress Management
A critical incident or a traumatic event is defined as an event outside the range of usual human experience which has the potential to easily overcome a person's normal ability to cope with stress. It is very common for an individual to experience an emotional or stress reaction after a critical incident. Sometimes the emotional reaction occurs shortly after a traumatic event or it can be delayed for some time. When stress reactions persist, professional assistance from a counselor is beneficial in assisting the person to work through the event.
Problem Gambling- CalGETS- Free Counseling is Available
Substance Abuse Evaluations Following the Department of Transportation Guidelines
Lisa Montalvo, MFT, CEAP, SAP
1395 San Carlos Avenue, Suite C#4
San Carlos, California 94070
Phone (650) 631-0909
Fax (518) 671-2884