Interview in AllTreatment

What therapy modalities do you use in your practice?

My approach is eclectic in that I borrow from a variety of modalities in order to tailor treatment to the unique needs of each client. I am highly influenced by psychodynamic and humanistic psychotherapy, attachment theory, and interpersonal neurobiology.  I have a background in yoga and mindfulness practices and maintain a integrative or holistic approach to therapy; which emphasizes the role the of mind-body connection in mental health. I am also trained in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and have had great success using this model to treat trauma.

When should one seek treatment?

I think individuals, couples, and families should seek treatment when they are unable to solve the problems they are faced with, on their own, or simply would like to improve their relationship to themselves and others. A few common issues that can be effectively addressed in treatment are: low mood, lack of motivation, irritability, stress, substance abuse, sleeping/eating problems, difficulty with communication, marital discord, and parenting challenges.

What relationships exist between mental health and substance abuse? What services do you provide for someone suffering with either and/or both?

I think there is a direct relationship between mental health and substance abuse and believe both issues should be addressed in treatment. Substance abuse is often a indicator that their may be a untreated mood disorder such as anxiety or depression. People suffering from mental health issues often use alcohol or drugs as a way to self-medicate. It is important to provide client's with education about how substance use negatively impacts mental health symptoms and hinders treatment progress. When working with individuals suffering from co-occurring disorders, I utilize a harm-reduction approach and mindfulness practices, in conjunction with 12-step support, and psychiatric referrals if necessary.

Ana Santaolalla is a Marriage & Family Therapist Intern in Pasadena, California. For more information regarding Ana’s services, please call (323) 682-0113.