Individual Therapy

Uncover Your "Good Enough" Self

Anxiety & Stress

Anxiety is an over-stimulation of the fight or flight response by the nervous system, and the physical symptoms are associated with the emotion of fear. Sometimes the cause of the anxiety is known, but often it is unconscious, related to misconceptions, or past experiences and feeling states. Phobias (specific fears about spiders or flying, for example), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and panic attacks are also forms of anxiety disorders. Healing comes from awareness, understanding, expression, and through the connection with the therapist.

With both anxiety and depression, one typically experiences feelings by oneself. Therefore, it is vital to treatment that the therapist accompanies the client through those feelings, so that the afflicted can heal through relationship.

Relationship Issues

Therapy provides a safe place to explore your current relationships as well as the formative ones with primary caregivers. I can help you learn the skills you missed out on in childhood, and create vibrant, reciprocal adult friendships and relationships.

I can help you:

  • Create strong friendships

  • Overcome feelings of loneliness and isolation

  • Remove obstacles in your way to a healthy relationship

  • Heal anger and rage

  • Notice your ways of relating to others

  • Strive for wholeness

Bad Habits & Compulsive Behaviors

Wonder why you’re eating all the time, even though you want to lose weight? Or do you promise yourself you’ll stop your “retail therapy,” but can’t seem to follow through?

Surprising as it may sound, compulsive behaviors start out to serve your best interests. You developed your compulsion as a coping mechanism, albeit a maladaptive one, to manage emotional distress. You may find now that your behavior is not serving you in the way it used to and/or that it’s causing more harm than good. Bottom line – your compulsions are a response to anxiety that may now be compounding the problem.

There is relief and you can learn to do things differently. Together we will explore the reasons you developed your behaviors, alternate ways to manage distress, and cultivate awareness so that you have more freedom and choice in your life.

Anything can become a compulsion if you've tried to stop and can't, or it's negatively impacting your life and you still continue to do it, including (but not limited to):

  • anger

  • bingeing

  • cleaning

  • drinking

  • overeating

  • porn

  • relationships

  • screen time (computer, TV, video games, etc.)

  • sex

  • shopping

  • smoking

  • starving

  • sugar

Depression

Are you feeling  guilty, bad about yourself, unmotivated, and/or have chronic aches and pains you can't really explain? These are just a few of the symptoms of depression. At best, it's a nuisance and at worst it renders people unable to function, or to want to just check out of life. Depression is generally associated with loss – it may be concrete, like a loss of a relationship, or it may be more metaphorical, like a loss of childhood. When a person experiences a loss, his/her depression typically lifts in one to six weeks if a satisfactory adjustment and adaptation can be made. If not, he/she may enter a state of clinical depression. 

I can help you with:

  • feelings of isolation

  • low self-esteem

  • sadness

  • grief

  • loneliness

  • disrupted sleep

  • lethargy and more...

Multi-Cultural & Immigrant Issues

If you're a person of color, you know that discrimination and prejudice is not a figment of your imagination. Given my life experiences with my own bilingual education, and spending time traveling to various countries around the world, I've found that a part of my life's work is to champion inclusion and diversity. I've been both a student and teacher of various diversity trainings, and have had many jobs working with international students and executives, along with international professors, musicians, and artists. I will recognize the concerns of those whose race, ethnicity, religion, gender identification, income, disability, or other social factor fall outside of the majority. However, more importantly, I want you to be able to tell me about your experiences.

I can help with:

  • generational trauma (trauma that has been passed down, like with slavery or the Holocaust.)

  • first generation immigrants who live in two different worlds

  • the acculturation process

  • discrimination at work or school

  • familial expectations

  • and inter-cultural issues in families, with couples, and communities.

Rape & Sexual Assault Recovery

Maybe you were molested as a child, or raped as an adult. Maybe you were sexually harassed at work, or had unwanted sexual encounters along the way. Whatever has happened in the past is impacting you now - you don't feel safe in the world. You have a very sensitive startle response. You've lost or never had a sense of your own personal boundaries or space. You act out in ways you know are not healthy or good, but you also don't know what all the fuss is about. It's time to heal.

It's time to move from victim to SURVIVOR! It's time to give yourself a break. It's time to accept that this bad thing really happened to you and it MATTERS. We will work through it together so that you can thrive on the other side. You are stronger than you think you are.

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Discover Your Greatest Self! Contact Laura Today.

Laura Gardner, MFT Logo

tel: 510.594.4300

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1240 Powell Street, Suite 2C

Emeryville, Calif. 94608

© 2006-2019 Laura Gardner, MFT