New Beginnings

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Happy Easter Weekend.

Spring is here at last – a time of new beginnings, of the earth awakening, flowers and trees blossoming, blue skies and new possibilities. Our old winter selves and coats are ready to be shed so we can burst forward, new like the daffodils.

Who would you like to be when you Spring clean your house and yourself?
You can have a fresh start, you can begin a new chapter and renew yourself.

Focus on loving yourself and on giving yourself the change possible that comes with the Spring because one day you will understand. Happiness was always about learning how to live with yourself, that happiness was never the job of, and was never in the hands of other people.

Who would you be, how would you improve and change if you believed you could this Spring?

Sometimes the smallest change starts the ball of momentum rolling in the strongest of ways.

Sharon Valentino, LMFT, Psychotherapist, Behavioral Health
Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.
Valentino Therapy
CA LMFT, Masters RAS, CATC level IV, ChT
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (51746)
Serving individuals & couples in the San Francisco Bay Area
Psychotherapist, Registered Addiction Specialist, Certified Addiction Treatment Counselor, Masters Counseling Psychology,
Stress, Anxiety, Relationships, Depression, PTSD, Pain, Family & Couples Issues, Memory Issues, Adult Children of Alcoholics / Substance /Anger Abusers, tech execs & engineers.
PRIVATE ONLINE THERAPY AVAILABLE FOR CALIF. ONLY
p: 415.215.5363
a: 3030 Bridgeway, Suite 108, Sausalito, CA 94965
w: www.valentinotherapy.com       e: sv@valentinotherapy.com

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Anxiety Therapy

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Anxiety, please… Anxiety Therapy

There is help available for anxiety.
If you aren’t living the sort of happy, relaxed, fulfilled life you really want – if self-esteem and self-confidence issues are troublesome – if you feel too unsure and anxious…you don’t have to.

Anxiety manifests itself as physical tension, apprehension, uneasiness, fidgeting, fatigue, and sleep disturbance, a lack of concentration, negative thinking, perspiration, nausea, elevated heart rate, and muscle tension.  These symptoms can occur even if you logically know that there is no real danger.”(Durand & Barlow, 2003).

Living with anxiety can be very uncomfortable, causing you to avoid situations in which you need to be present. It can cause the feeling of never being able to relax or feel safe – or to never feel good enough. You may worry too much about what may happen; what people may do or think of you or your performance (professionally, inter-personally and sexually).

Living this way generally has a terrible effect on the quality of life and enjoyment and can lead to many other problems such as; hypertension, eating and digestive disorders, headaches, other health issues, avoidance, negative attitudes and a feeling you can’t cope or just aren’t “normal”.

The good news is that all of this can be reversible: Feeling better can be in your immediate future.

Though there are a number of accepted methods of treating anxiety disorders, I prefer Behavioral Therapy and Cognitive Therapy, initially. Many sufferers live with very negative self-talk, obsessive thoughts, destructive behaviors and distorted automatic thoughts that come after a feeling – not vice versa.
Some of my clients have told me, “I can’t help it. I don’t know why I keep acting that way; it’s just how I feel.”
But it’s not.

Clients generally experience rapid anxiety relief by using Cognitive Therapy in the first session to examine the feeling that occurs, often without notice.
When you break it down, you realize that you can become aware of the first thought and then the next thoughts that seamlessly follow. Relaxation techniques can speed progress along too.

I’d like to help.

It’s important to note Anxiety Disorders include a number of different categories, many of which are treated differently to gain relief. Some of these categories include obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder (PD),  post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), generalized anxiety disorder  (GAD), social anxiety disorder/social phobia, and specific phobias, such as fear of the outdoors (agoraphobia) or confined spaces (claustrophobia), among many others.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is much more commonly diagnosed these days than in the past. This may be due to the increased pressures in today’s society to perform at very high levels in many categories of life: professionally, as a friend, parent, neighbor, as an involved citizen of your community, as a housekeeper/handyman, in the bedroom, the kitchen and, often, in some sport or other area of expected excellence.

While I do acknowledge that the constant electronic information and contact overload can be very stressful, it probably doesn’t count right up there with a saber tooth tiger chasing you. One difference is that the tiger chasing will stop – either with a good or bad outcome, but daily stress in our lives does not and can wear down your ability to really live and enjoy your life.

The below quote can help to shed light on what anxiety feels like to many:

“It is characterized by constant, intense, and uncontrollable worries about everything.  These worries are accompanied by tenseness, irritability, fatigue, and restlessness.  GAD is not only distressing for the people affected by it, but also for everyone around them (Durand & Barlow, 2003).”

If you would like specific information about other types of Anxiety Disorders, please contact me at: sharon@valentinotherapy.com.

Do you feel anxious? Be kind to yourself. Therapy

Sharon Valentino, LMFT, Psychotherapist, Behavioral Health
Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.
Valentino Therapy
CA LMFT, Masters RAS, CATC level IV, ChT
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (51746)
Serving individuals & couples in the San Francisco Bay Area
Psychotherapist, Registered Addiction Specialist, Certified Addiction Treatment Counselor, Masters Counseling Psychology,
Stress, Anxiety, Relationships, Depression, PTSD, Pain, Family & Couples Issues, Memory Issues, Adult Children of Alcoholics / Substance /Anger Abusers, tech execs & engineers.
PRIVATE ONLINE THERAPY AVAILABLE FOR CALIF. ONLY
p: 415.215.5363
a: 3030 Bridgeway, Suite 108, Sausalito, CA 94965
w: www.valentinotherapy.com       e: sv@valentinotherapy.com

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Dreams vs. Goals

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Dreams vs. Goals

So we have a new month, April, upon us. Thirty new days of new chances. Thirty new days this month for new happiness, and more happiness, more moving, more health, more sleep, more laughter – less stress, less stuff, less waste, less plastic.

Several clients have asked what’s the difference between dreams and goals?

If we don’t have a goal, it is incredibly hard to get what you want and need out of life, let alone fulfilled and happy. We can’t dream about what we want and our goals cannot conflict with one another…and most importantly of all, our goals cannot be in conflict with our core values.

When you consider these issues, what you are sorting out is: Who are you, really? At your very core, what are your values? What are your non-negotiable needs and values? What will you not even agree to compromise (or shouldn’t)?

In my field, this is called “Integrated Thinking”. We, therapists, work on this with our clients so that conflicts won’t sabotage the time and work put into figuring out your goals. If your daily conversations, actions, and thinking are not carefully integrated, then your life, employment, and relationships can be chaotic and may be going nowhere.
When your actions, thoughts and even your words take you closer to what you really want, while staying true to your values of who you are and who you want to be, then you are closer every day to a truly happy life – if not living it already.
If they are not, then you know what to do.

But…it helps to review your actions every day and assess if they’re in line with who you need to be, to be happy. “The unexamined life is not worth living.” – said Socrates, in Plato, Dialogues, Apology, the Greek philosopher in Athens (469 BC – 399 BC). This is a truth known and taught centuries ago.

Often, figuring out your core values takes as much time and careful thought as listing the goals you want to achieve.

Sharon Valentino, LMFT, Psychotherapist, Behavioral Health
Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.
Valentino Therapy
CA LMFT, Masters RAS, CATC level IV, ChT
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (51746)
Serving individuals & couples in the San Francisco Bay Area
Psychotherapist, Registered Addiction Specialist, Certified Addiction Treatment Counselor, Masters Counseling Psychology,
Stress, Anxiety, Relationships, Depression, PTSD, Pain, Family & Couples Issues, Memory Issues, Adult Children of Alcoholics / Substance /Anger Abusers, tech execs & engineers.
PRIVATE ONLINE THERAPY AVAILABLE FOR CALIF. ONLY
p: 415.215.5363
a: 3030 Bridgeway, Suite 108, Sausalito, CA 94965
w: www.valentinotherapy.com       e: sv@valentinotherapy.com

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Depression and Therapy

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Depression and Therapy

Many people have come face to face with depression at some point in their lives: feelings of sadness, unhappiness, loss, and frustration.  It is when these symptoms persist for longer than a couple of weeks and interfere with your quality of life that normal depression becomes clinical depression.  

Depression can manifest itself in countless ways.  Some of them are:

  • Feelings of being “less than” and intense insecurity
  • Loss of energy
  • Ongoing irritability
  • Sudden onslaughts of anger and anxiety
  • Feeling overwhelmed by a relationship, job or life in general
  • Not being able to enjoy the things you once did, including companionship, activities, hobbies, and sex
  • Compulsion and risk-taking to block out these negative emotions and to feel something other than “numb”

These manifestations of depression can be troublesome or represent a serious danger if untreated.  It is safe to say that most people would rather feel good instead of bad.  So when these negative feelings don’t go away on their own, people might choose very unhealthy ways to deal with them.  Many an addiction (to alcohol, drugs, food, sex, spending, gambling, etc.) can trace their roots to depression.  And ultimately most addictions lead to more depression.  People whose symptoms of depression stay the same or worsen may begin to lose hope in anything getting better leaving them vulnerable to suicidal thoughts.  

Some Causes of Depression:
Depression can attach itself onto its host (you) in a myriad of ways, wreaking havoc and causing chaos in different aspects and stages of life. Depression can sneak up on us because of:

  • Biology: Chemical imbalances in the brain and things we choose to put into our bodies.  
  • Situational circumstances including changes in your life structure.  
  • Trauma and Grief
  • Postpartum 
  • Seasonal
  • Interpersonal relations, including sexuality, divorce, and loneliness.
  • Health conditions
  • Substance abuse 

Serious Clinical depression rarely dissipates by itself.  Some may have experienced discomfort for so long they mistakenly believe “it’s just who I am.” 

What We Can Do About This:

Many times we don’t see what’s right in front of us. By discussing your situation in a safe and non-judgmental environment with a trained clinician, we can shine a light on the root cause of your depression. I believe that every person is unique and do not subscribe to a one size fits all approach.  During our initial consultation, we will work together to find a therapeutic approach and solution that works best for you and makes you the most comfortable.  

The therapeutic process can be one of the most life-affirming and proactive ways to regain control of your life.  By understanding where you’ve been, you will be better able to see where you could be going and claim the life you want to have.

Do you feel depressed?  Please talk to someone soon.

The Best Way Out is Always Through.

 – Robert Frost

Sharon Valentino, LMFT, Psychotherapist, Behavioral Health
Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.
Valentino Therapy
CA LMFT, Masters RAS, CATC level IV, ChT
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (51746)
Serving individuals & couples in the San Francisco Bay Area
Psychotherapist, Registered Addiction Specialist, Certified Addiction Treatment Counselor, Masters Counseling Psychology,
Stress, Anxiety, Relationships, Depression, PTSD, Pain, Family & Couples Issues, Memory Issues, Adult Children of Alcoholics / Substance /Anger Abusers, tech execs & engineers.
PRIVATE ONLINE THERAPY AVAILABLE FOR CALIF. ONLY
p: 415.215.5363
a: 3030 Bridgeway, Suite 108, Sausalito, CA 94965
w: www.valentinotherapy.com       e: sv@valentinotherapy.com

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Narrative Therapy — Your Life Story

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Narrative Therapy — Your Life Story

– The Past, Present, and Future

You may find Narrative Therapy useful now or in the future as it can lead to greater happiness. We all have stories (narratives) about our lives and our past that hold us back, that prevent us from excelling or trying new things, from setting boundaries and perhaps also prevent us from being happy. The surprising thing is that most people are not aware of the stories we carry around on a repeat cycle inside our heads that may not be accurate, limit what we think we can do, may cause damage and are likely negative since we are more prone to remember those events. When you look at those stories and pull them out of the recesses of your mind, you can find meaning and value to then free yourself and no longer be held back. Often we develop stories without realizing it – stories of trouble, and unfairness but we neglect to adjust our stories to show what we’ve done to overcome challenges and hurt. We often overlook our steps to survive and how it made us stronger, gave us strengths and skills, plus we also benefit by writing what we should do to protect ourselves in the future.

Perhaps you will choose to use the below form to sort out the story you carry of your past, or maybe you will keep it for a future time to use it. I hope you find it of value, regardless, you now have the chance to rewrite your understanding of your past and write a new future for yourself due to your new insight.

The Past

Write the story of your past. Be sure to describe challenges you’ve overcome, and the personal strengths that allowed you to do so. Your life was not just a “Problem Saturated Story”.

The Present

Describe your life and who you are now. How do you differ from your past self? What are your strengths now? What challenges are you facing? What are you doing today to be happy and at peace?

The Future

Write about your ideal future. How will your life be different than it is now? How will you be different than you are now?

Use extra room. Write as much or as little as you want. This is your story – and your time to reinvent yourself if you want. I hope you find it useful.

-Providing in-office therapy, support, counseling and coaching for individuals and couples on a variety of issues (depression, anxiety, relationship concerns, grief and loss, addiction, self-esteem, memory loss, work-related issues, and more). Online therapy is also available. Based in Sausalito, Marin County, CA right off 101 w/ample parking.

Visit the below sites for more.
Author: Sharon Valentino, MFT
Valentino Therapy – CA LMFT, RAS, ChT, CATC IV (#51746)
Facebook: Valentino Therapy and Ask This Therapist
Pinterest: Ask This Therapist
Instagram: askthistherapist
Email: sv@valentinotherapy.com
Visit my web: www.valentinotherapy.com 

Some limited content from Therapy Aid

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Name It!

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Name It!

One thing that could help with your family, spouse, work, school, anything – is to learn to “Name It”.
Naming it just consists of just saying what you are seeing as soon as it makes you uncomfortable.
You say what you see, “Name It”, accuse no one of doing anything wrong or making them bad, telling what they should do differently and then you immediately walk away so that an argument can’t get started. Don’t stand there to argue or even hear their potential remark as you leave.

It might look something like this:
– That felt harsh.
– It doesn’t seem necessary to say that.
– This is making me uncomfortable. I’m going to take a walk.
– It wasn’t necessary to say that.
– When you speak like that it hurts me.
– When I’m pressured to do something it makes me resent you.
– I don’t respond well when someone argues (raises your voice, talks down to me, etc.)
– I hope our relationship isn’t damaged/ruined by this pressure.
– I wish I was treated in a way so that I’d want to ___.
(I’m sure you could come up with much better examples that suit your situation better.)

You are calling out something that isn’t very good, but you are only saying how it affects you, no blaming, no name calling, etc.
It is an excellent way to start setting boundaries without starting an argument.

Providing in-office therapy, support, counseling and coaching for individuals and couples on a variety of issues (depression, anxiety, relationship concerns, grief and loss, addiction, self-esteem, work-related issues, and more). Online therapy also available. Based in Sausalito, Marin County, CA right off 101 w/ample parking. 

Visit the below sites for more. 
Author: Sharon Valentino, MFT
Valentino Therapy – CA LMFT, RAS, ChT, CATC IV (#51746)
Visit my web: www.valentinotherapy.com
Facebook: Valentino Therapy and Ask This Therapist
Pinterest: Ask This Therapist

 

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Start 2019 Off Right

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Start 2019 Off Right – New Years Resolutions

Happy New Year.

This year you’ve been through a lot and there have been enough ups and downs to say it was a good year – or a bad year depending on how you choose to look back on it.
However, you are still here when some aren’t.
You are still able to help yourself and others, smile, be kind to a stranger, eat better, learn, grow and you are still able to count your blessing.
You are also so blessed to be able to tell everyone that’s still in your life – Thank You. I appreciate you.

If you are inclined to make Resolutions for the New Year… here’s a secret.
In order to be able to achieve them with much more certainty, instead of listing what you want to have or to do – list WHY.

Example: I want to lose 15 pounds.

Better: I want to live longer.

How:

  • Eat more produce
  • Move more
  • Count calories and nutrients
  • Find a sport/activity that is so fun it must be enjoyed.

What are your Resolutions?

Visit the below sites for a great deal of helpful information about a variety of subject.
Author: Sharon Valentino, MFT
Valentino Therapy – CA LMFT, RAS, ChT, CATC IV (#51746)
Visit my web: www.valentinotherapy.com
Facebook: Valentino Therapy and Ask This Therapist
Pinterest: Ask This Therapist

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