Struggle-Free Living for Women

Women's Counseling Bellevue, Women's Counseling Kirkland, Women's Counseling EastsideAre you struggling with life rather than living your life?


Struggle-free living for women – How to be comfortable in your own skin and confident in your decisions and yourself.

 
 
 

Are you spending more time feeling stressed rather than enjoying your life? Are you dissatisfied with yourself, your body, or your accomplishments?

Perhaps you find yourself pretending everything is okay when it really isn’t. Or you find yourself feeling lonely and longing for more connection and intimacy. Do you hold back from saying what you want for fear of disappointing or upsetting others? Do you blame yourself for relationship problems? Perhaps it is uncomfortable for you to be alone with yourself. Or you become overwhelmed by your emotions. Is it difficult to trust your decisions?

Wouldn’t it be nice to find a much better way to navigate through life? How about a proven approach that will guide you in actually becoming comfortable with yourself, your decisions, your body, and your relationships?

In this culture, a woman’s sense of herself becomes relational to others. We are rewarded for sacrifice and taught to “give,” often taking care of everyone else before ourselves. This tends to result in women placing themselves last and, in so doing, letting go of their personal dreams and desires as the seemingly urgent daily routine of life takes over. Why is it important to hold on to your dreams? Your personal dreams are the callings from within that guide you throughout your life. Without your personal dreams, you have lost an important part of yourself. Has your life simply become something to get through rather than a place to explore your passion, creativity, and excitement for living? Have you lost your inner roadmap to guide you in your life?

Wouldn’t it be nice to genuinely feel comfortable “in your own skin?”

To learn new ways to be comfortable with your body, your decisions, and your life. To really believe that you deserve lots of good things to happen. You may not know how to feel hope and the possibility for change, but I do, and I will lead you on a journey of self-discovery.

You will learn to reconnect with your authentic self, your “inner knowing” which will guide you throughout your life. We will work on letting go of negative thoughts that may keep you limited and focus on reclaiming more positive ways of thinking. If you engage in any self-defeating behaviors, you will find it easy to release these behaviors as we work together to help you nurture and protect yourself. Yes, self-acceptance, being kind to yourself, is the foundation for healthy self-esteem. You will learn to step out of the role of “giver” long enough to replenish your stores of energy. You will learn to genuinely like yourself all of the time without thinking you are being “selfish.” If you have relationship concerns, we work together to help you gain the confidence you need to express yourself in ways others, including your partner, can both hear and respond well towards. If you have children, we create a parenting style that respects and honors yourself and your children. After all, life was never meant to be a struggle so why should it be one now?

Well, wait a minute …

Life isn’t perfect and some days will just be harder than other days. Aren’t we suppose to accept this? Besides you really can’t have it all. That is just too much to expect.

Yes, you can have it all! Many of the women I have helped have felt the same way as you do. Perhaps you believe that it is not possible to have what makes you truly happy. Or that it is just too much expect or to even to ask in life. Perhaps you believe that it is not possible to feel comfortable with the uncertainty of life’s ups and downs and you are fortunate to enjoy a few good days. What if life held more satisfaction and joy for you? What if you knew each morning you could wake up and feel happy and sustain that level of happiness throughout the day? Many of the women I help have felt the same way as you do and this is what we discovered as we worked together.

When Heidi (not her real name) first came to see me, she lived in a world where she could not truly be herself. She tended to be around people who were disapproving and critical. Of course, Heidi didn’t realize she was around critical people. Instead, she thought of herself as “too sensitive.” During our work together, Heidi began to feel more confident in being herself. She learned ways to emotionally protect herself. She began to challenge the ways she thought. She discovered her thinking style was heavily weighed on the pessimistic side. No wonder she felt moody so much of the time! In fact, she was “always waiting for the other shoe to drop” whenever too many good things happened in her life – a way of thinking she had learned as a child in a stressful family. We worked together to identify negative belief systems and to replace them with more positive ways of thinking. Heidi’s journey of self-discovery resulted in a new ability to experience the possibility of life and to trust that she could truly be herself.

“I am already struggling to feel okay about myself. What if I come see you and find out that I am not as okay as I thought and that I really do have problems?”

You may feel uncertain and perhaps afraid that we will discover feelings within you that could make you feel worse. Many of my clients felt the same way as you do and here is what they found as we worked through this together. Andi (not her real name) was such a woman. She had been living a “pretend life” for many years. Showing the outside world a version of herself that was near perfect. Of course, Andi could not possibly sustain this “pretend life” and during those times that she was alone with herself, she felt anxious. She often would engage in binging and purging and drinking alcohol in an attempt to “feel better.” Unfortunately, these strategies seldom worked for long leaving her feeling much worse and more lonely. When I first met Andi, I experienced her as lost, her authentic self tucked far away. She was working so hard on surviving that she simply had no energy to enjoy her life. In therapy, Andi began to feel validated and very relieved to know her feelings were normal and she was not “crazy,” a fear she had long held. She realized that her frequent episodes of binge eating and her use of alcohol were her attempts to cope with a life that felt out of control. Andi began to discover herself as we worked together. She left the sessions feeling better and wanting to return to learn more. Today she is happy, content, and living life well. She is no longer holding herself up to unobtainable and unrealistic standards. She is no longer living a “pretend” life and she is free of her self-destructive behaviors.

Feelings live in the body and those deeper feelings have actually been with us a very long time. If during our work, some deeper feelings emerge we will be able to identify where they come from and why you are currently experiencing them. People report feeling much better when they can understand their emotions and experience them in less distressing ways. I teach people how to have more distance from upsetting feelings and how to develop more compassion for themselves and the experiences they have endured in their lives. Whenever deeper feelings come up, it is important to identify what events are associated with these feelings and to remember if the feelings are distressing that you have survived and that is a great thing. It is just as important to learn to be engaged and present in our lives and to make choices that help us focus on the positives and the possibilities in our current lives!

“I think something is wrong with me and I can never be happy.”

You may feel on some deep level that something is terribly wrong with you. I know your pain is real. I have helped many women who have felt this way. We live in a culture that encourages women to see themselves as “less than” or “not good enough.” Just look at all the magazines out there with “improvement” articles targeted at women. Whether we need to be fixing up our bodies, our families, our homes, or our careers, we are constantly told what is wrong with us. Laura (not her real name) believed no one could ever love her. Laura was sensitive, caring, and generous to a fault. She tended to see the good in everyone. Instead of having wonderful boyfriends, she had boyfriends who were rejecting and insensitive. When I first met Laura, I met her “inner critic” – a part of Laura that she took everywhere. What we discovered working together was how critical and rejecting Laura was of herself! Laura worked hard in therapy and over time she could let go of the parts of herself that hurt her and reclaim the parts that helped her. As she changed, she went on to create a relationship with a partner who truly loves her.

“What if I feel embarrassed or even too ashamed to talk about my personal life with a therapist?”

I understand how you feel. It takes a great deal of courage to come to a therapist and talk about very private information that is linked to strong emotions. Many people feel exactly like you do and this is what they found working with me. Your emotional safety and comfort is my utmost concern. I will never ask you to talk about anything you are uncomfortable discussing. Moreover, I will help you gain a new perspective on your issues which can dramatically erase shame. This makes it much easier to talk about painful or shame-based concerns without overwhelming emotion. We will find a way, together, to get through your emotional pain.

“I really want to start therapy but I am afraid it will cost too much.”

I understand your concerns. Many of my previous clients have felt the same way. What is the cost of achieving happiness? Therapy is a personal decision to invest in yourself and your future. Those individuals who have made the decision to invest in themselves have found that the positive changes they were able to make in therapy greatly outweigh the cost. Almost all of my clients state that therapy has made a huge difference in their ability to live a richer, fuller, happier life. They have been able to remove obstacles that had prevented them from living the lives they wanted. Many clients often end up making more money in their jobs after therapy due to increased levels of confidence and self-esteem. My clients usually fill out a survey when our work is completed, and it asks them if they felt that therapy was worth the money. Their answers to this question routinely include “of course it was,” “It is well worth the money,” and “priceless.”

“How do I know I am working with the right person?”

Read the articles on this site so you can get a feel for whether I am a “fit” for you. If you’re interested in getting help sooner, then contact me for a full session introductory meeting. At the end of this meeting, if you feel “right” about what I say and offer then I will charge you my regular fee. If, for any reason, you do not feel our work together will be helpful then you owe me nothing. I also offer a free 20 minute phone consultation to answer your questions. Finding the best therapist for you is very important. The most powerful predictors of success in counseling is the “fit” between the client and the counselor.

I believe it is important to “walk the talk.” I grew up in a loving family with a lot of anxiety and only as an adult learned that love does not coexist with anger or fear. Needless to say, I spent many years working through my personal and relationship issues so that I could live a life I believe in. I did the work necessary in my own life to be able to teach women how to achieve complete acceptance and comfort in their lives. My professional credentials include:

  • I hold a Ph.D. in Psychology (2000).
  • I hold a M.A. in Psychology (1982).
  • Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Washington State.
  • Clinical Member, American Association for Marriage & Family Therapy.
  • Professional Member, The National Eating Disorders Association.
  • EMDR Therapist since 2002
  • I have over 30 years of experience with women’s counseling in Kirkland, Bellevue, and the Eastside area.

It is a privilege and an honor to sit with people and hear their stories. I am understanding and accepting and can be more direct when it is needed. I genuinely enjoy people and love the work I do.

“When is a good time to start therapy?”

It is a good time to start therapy when you feel ready to engage in the process. Sometimes we know because we have that nagging feeling something is wrong in our lives. Sometimes we just need another person to talk with to decide if therapy is right. And sometimes we just need to do it. The most important thing is to trust your own inner sense of what is right for you!

Here are self-discoveries from women I have helped on their personal journeys of healing. They have given permission for their words to be shared with you.

  • “I abandoned everything I knew that was true about myself…for what? I really do not know.”
  • “His acceptance of me became more important than anything I knew about myself.”
  • “When who I am becomes less important than what others think of me, I know I am in trouble.”

I teach women how to be comfortable & happy with themselves, their bodies, their decisions and their lives. After all, you deserve it!