I am a licensed Marriage and Therapist specializing in addiction, co-occurring disorders and issues of trauma. I love working with individuals, adolescents, couples and families.
Along with my master’s degree in marriage and family therapy, I graduated from an additional two year program where I earned a specialized credential for treatment of addictive disorders, a CATC-IV. A designation given by the State of California, I have learned more about the depth of addiction, treating the disease and how the disease can move from generation to generation without each member abusing a substance. Addiction is really an attempt at self-repair.
In my work as a Clinical Director for an inpatient alcohol and drug treatment facility, I see many addicted individuals deny their emotions via their compulsive and numbing behaviors. As emotions are denied, they layer and build up. In the avoidance and repression of emotion, individuals are more vulnerable to illness and chronic pain and experience dysfunction in their lives and relationships.
I also work with those who have mood disorders, I recognize and challenge maladaptive beliefs which hold many individuals hostage and rigid in their lifestyles. I can clearly see in family systems the imprints of “shoulds” which come from beliefs of the family system and of society. Breaking free of old patterns of behaviors and old types of thinking is not only esteemable; it is freedom in the development of self. Many grow from the experience of learning who they are and discovering their value and place in the world and finding their own meaning of happiness. Additionally, I have extensive education in working with couples, identifying the dance of distancing that couples create within relationships.
Relationship work is built around the science of attachment and those attachment bonds. Learning to repair relationships bonds and identifying the steps that take the couple down a destructive path is important. Once the maladaptive pattern of behavior is identified, couples learn to trust each other and turn towards each other rather than away. Partners then learn to reveal their fears and longings and express their needs.
Looking at the individual, the meanings given to them through their upbringing, and their means of coping with the world, I can highlight different areas of strength and challenge the non-effective coping strategies, replacing old ideas with the new.
My extensive education and personal growth has contributed to my own sense of deep empathy and commitment as I listen and honor each human being and understand their journey through life.
Jo Ellen Fletcher ReachesCalabasas CAAgoura Hills CA