I have over six and a half years treating individuals (children, teens and adults), couples and families. I have helped people who are challenged with anxiety, depression, trauma, eating disorders, and substance abuse. I have also assisted people who are in transition, whether it be a young adult acclimating to a new college experience or a middle-aged adult going through changes in a relationship.
My internship at the Southern California Counseling Center was great preparation for dealing with diverse situations. I worked with families, from a Family Systems perspective; treating the whole family as one organic system, challenging roles and exploring relational dynamics. In addition, I worked with teenagers, offering a supportive environment in transitioning toward adulthood. I also assisted couples in regulating stress and improving communication. And I have helped individuals revisit past traumas, reprocessing them and building on hope for the future.
At SCCC, I was part of a 9-month trauma-training program, where I learned EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing); an effective tool for revisiting traumatic memory. I also developed an interest in Narrative Therapy, which is an orientation that involves re-authoring one’s story from a strength-based position.
After training at SCCC, I completed my remaining internship studies at an eating disorder center, leading therapy groups with teens and young adults on topics ranging from CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), Emotional Regulation, Art Therapy and Mindfulness. Sometimes, I incorporated improvisation games/exercises as a way to add playfulness to the group experience. Prior to becoming a therapist I was an actor and graphic artist; I like to draw upon creative approaches when appropriate.
As a creative person and professional, I understand the challenges of life/work balance. Stress and anxiety is often an unpleasant byproduct of leading full lives. Yoga and meditation has taught me the importance of practicing mindfulness as a way to manage stress and anxiety.
Mindfulness is a wonderful tool. There are many ways in which I use mindfulness in my practice. One way involves tracking sensations in the body and focusing on neutral areas. Breath work is also something I may introduce as a way to create calmness and focus.
Humans are very resilient. We need compassion for where we are and hope for where we are going. My supportive, non-judgmental stance is intended on providing you with an environment that helps you thrive.
We all have original ways we view others, the world and ourselves. Sometimes that vantage point gets distorted with wounds from our past experiences. Working through the pain and re-authoring our own story can instill us with newfound hope and determination.
Whether you are in transition and need the support to get through a difficult time or you want to break through repeated patterns, I can offer you an attentive presence and compassionate perspective.
One of the techniques I use is CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). CBT is useful in reframing distorted thoughts. It can help with regulating your moods and ultimately can contribute to wellbeing.
Another technique I use is EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). Some amazing results can transpire from participating in EMDR. People often have a renewed sense of optimism after processing old memories and gain new ways of seeing themselves.
All these methods and practices are useful but even more beneficial can be just having someone as a witness to your life, engaged in your story and offering non-judgmental support. I am genuinely interested in who you are as well as who you want to become. It is my pleasure to offer you an attentive presence where you can feel comfortable being yourself and sharing what feels safe for you to share.
When we can accept ourselves for who and where we are in the moment, the real change begins. I would like to be with you on that journey, witnessing the steps you take and cheering you along the way!
Patricia McMahon ReachesLos Angeles CA