Natalie M. Mills, LMFT

Natalie M. Mills View Specialties

The average lifespan of an emotion is 90 seconds. From the time the brain thinks a thought, triggers the emotion, and it works its way through the nervous system, 90 seconds have come and gone. This hardly ever means we feel an unpleasant feeling for 90 seconds, though. Why? Because we continue to feed it thoughts. We start thinking about something stressful, and then we feel bad. Then we think more stressful thoughts. Then we feel worse. Before we know it, hours, even days have passed, and we're still feeling the same uncomfortable emotion. (And if you're here, chances are you already know it doesn't stop there.) This impacts our behavior, our relationships, our jobs, what we believe is possible for ourselves- so much.   
When we're stuck in this cycle, it's easy to feel hopeless.
The pathway out of this cycle isn't obvious to us. In fact, it might not be obvious to us that there's a path out at all; sometimes it's altogether invisible, and this can produce even deeper feelings of frustration, hopelessness, despair. We feel frozen in stress and dissatisfaction. This experience manifests in myriad ways- negative self-talk, anxiety, sadness, irritability, chronic arguing in a primary relationship, interpersonal conflict, job dissatisfaction, body dissatisfaction, and a general sense of restlessness.

Sometimes we've been stuck in this pattern for so long that we feel resentful toward others for not somehow "making it better" for us, hopeless, insecure, and lonely. We don't know how to get what we want so we fight, withdraw, look outside of our primary relationship to meet our needs, or sabotage ourselves. We can't trust anyone. We experience increased tension in our bodies. Fear and instability turn into terror. We feel increasingly mired.   
This turmoil is not permanent and can be used to fortify you. It's an opportunity to learn about what isn't working and find what will.
Often, our first instinct is to brace ourselves against stress and conflict. We brace for a fight or a struggle, to resist, to strong-arm our way through it. It's uncomfortable to think about our suffering, why it's happening, and what we can do to change it; but the more we avoid something, the scarier and more overwhelming it becomes. It dominates us, our thoughts, our decisions, our feelings, and every-day life.       
With a collaborative, compassionate, and mindful approach, I will help you look at what's happening now, how and why it's happening so that you can avoid repeating it. Together, we will find concrete strategies to abate and extinguish the behaviors and patterns that don't support your goals and create and nourish ones that do.
How do we benefit from therapy? When we own our narrative and our experience, we empower ourselves. It stops feeling like life "just happens" to us. We can respond to our thoughts, feelings, and symptoms instead of living in them. They stop being who we are and become an integrated part of us. And when we come from this place of empowerment and authenticity we are free to see our choices and stop reading from scripts that no longer serve us. We don't have to feel stuck in the dread and fear. 
I would love the opportunity to give you the tools that will help you to free yourself, trust yourself, effectively manage stress, feel confident about your choices, and form stable and lasting bonds. 

Natalie M. Mills Reaches

San Francisco CA