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MY APPROACH

 

How do I work? I always get a kick out of the names of different types of therapy modalities, because to any regular person they all sound equally great, and equally opaque. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Emotion Focused Therapy. Client-Centered Therapy. Solution-Focused Therapy. That’s why to describe my approach as “Contemporary Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy," although accurate, is pretty meaningless to anyone outside the mental health field. I can tell you that for me, the foundation of any successful therapy experience is the co-creation of an emotionally safe environment where you feel deeply heard and understood. I’ll work hard to build an authentic relationship in which you feel both supported and respectfully challenged, and where you can be honest with yourself about what you’re struggling with. And we’ll often have a good laugh.

Is this approach empirically supported?  Has it been shown to be as, or more, effective than other common modalities such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy?  Yes, and yes.

    

So what can you expect?  We’ll start with what’s most distressing to you at the moment, whether it’s a chronic issue that’s recently gotten worse, or a new major life event that’s causing stress. How deep the work goes and how long you stay is entirely up to you. Some people come once a week for a few months and feel that they’ve gotten the support, healing, and skills they were needing.

    

Other people are seeking deeper change, and a more holistic understanding of themselves. You may have had some previous experience of therapy and now feel more ready to explore the root sources of painful relationship patterns, or address old trauma. Many people who seek out therapy had parents with mood or personality disorders, addictions, or who for other reasons were neglectful, rageful, or highly critical. Whether they, or you, have ever received an official diagnosis or not, you don’t really need one to know that you’re carrying around old pain and old ways of coping that you need help addressing. 

MY AREAS OF SPECIALTY

I specialize in depth-oriented treatment with adult individuals only. Within that population, I enjoy the vitality of a diverse practice encompassing adults of all genders, ages, and backgrounds. In addition to the most common issues that lead people to seek out therapy--anxiety, depression, grief, and compulsions/addictions--I've been fortunate to receive advanced training and supervision in the following areas:

TRAUMA

I’m a graduate of the one-year Trauma Studies Program at LAISPS, which included modules on treating complex PTSD, the neurobiology of trauma, and massive group trauma. I have also completed the Trauma Resiliency Model (TRM) Level 1 Training, which focuses on the biological basis of trauma and skills-based interventions to improve the quality of life for survivors of all types of trauma. I have extensive clinical experience and training in working with adult survivors of ‘relational trauma’ stemming from having had parents with mental health issues and addictions.

 

CREATIVE BLOCK

 

From my dissertation research, I’ve developed a deeper understanding of how one’s need to create can become a source of pain rather than joy, and I have a roadmap of how to rehabilitate a dysfunctional relationship with one’s art or craft. I start with an assessment of stuck points (e.g. perfectionism, procrastination, coping with rejection, feelings of disconnection from your artist self), and provide a mixture of psychoeducation, behavioral techniques, suggested reading, and an exploration of the internal 'parts' of yourself and the extent to which they support or block your creative engagement. Artists are often trauma survivors as well, and the intersection of these two aspects of self can be a fruitful area of investigation.

 

MINDFULNESS

I have studied and trained in meditative and mindfulness techniques, as well as Buddhist metapsychology, at the Shambala Center in Los Angeles, as well as during my UCLA coursework. I’ve also been fortunate to attend several weekend retreats at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY with American-born Buddhist nun Pema Chodron. I never impose meditation or mindfulness on patients, because it’s a powerful, but not necessarily a benign, tool.  But my clinical outlook is rooted in the wisdom tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, as well as in psychoanalysis and trauma-informed therapies.

 

MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS

I love working with other pre- and post-licensure therapists, from various angles. I have been a group supervisor for interns in clinical training at Southern California Counseling Center; a supervisor for pre-licensed psychological assistants beginning their foray into the realm of private practice; and a past board member of the Wright Institute Los Angeles Alumni Association, where I created and implemented a year-long mentorship program that matched current trainees with Alumni and aided in their professional development. I also have experience working with licensed therapists in my private practice, who are seeking a depth-oriented treatment of their own as the underpinning of their professional work.

 

CHRONIC HEALTH ISSUES

I have sought out expert supervision to support my work with individuals living with chronic health and chronic pain issues, or who are survivors of past health crises (e.g., cancer, serious illness in childhood). I assist patients in navigating the delicate balance between accepting and handling the reality of living with illness, and being curious about connections between the body’s distress and unconscious mental and emotional contents. Many people with health issues also have a history of past medical trauma, which makes my trauma-informed outlook a useful complement. When needed, I’m happy to help form, or participate in, a treatment team approach, communicating with patients’ other doctors and treatment providers.

 

TRANSITION TO PARENTHOOD

There is perhaps no other life event in which you are as radically and permanently changed in an instant as the moment you become a parent. I love working with individuals who are in the discernment process about whether to try for a child (including same-sex and trans couples who are exploring the options available to them); with expectant parents; and with patients in the midst of the unique, extreme stresses and joys of early parenthood. My training has included a one year infant observation experience, which sharpened my understanding of how infants' and parents’ mental states intertwine, and how having a child dramatically reactivates the earliest self-states inside the parent, for better and for worse.

3611 Seneca Avenue

Los Angeles, CA 90039

Tel. (213) 444 - 6612

drlillygallay@gmail.com

Lic. # PSY27206