online counseling California

Do this to sleep like a baby at night

I have always been a big believer in self advocacy. When you struggle with insomnia, it's important to try out different avenues so that you can perhaps figure out the cause of your insomnia. Here are 6 things you can do to help you sleep better at night.

1) Ask your doctor about your medications: Some medications can change your sleep cycle. If you are currently on any medications, it's important to have a discussion with your prescribing physician about how your medications could be affecting your sleep. But if you don't talk to your physician about sleep patterns, you could continue to struggle with sleep. Sometimes a little self advocacy cab go a long way.

Concerned about your sleep meds? Read more about sleep medication here. Insomnia and sleep Insomnia chronicles: The scary truth about those sleeping pills you take

2) Try journaling: Often times, anxiety or worries can bring on sleeplessness. If your mind is spinning around with worry thoughts, it is going to be difficult to get good quality sleep. About 30 minutes to an hour before your bed time, sit in a quiet spot and write out what's bothering you. Some people like to write in full sentences, while others use bullet points. If you're creative, you could even draw how you feel or write some poetry about it. The point of journaling is to wrap up your day and get your worries out on paper, so they stop swimming around in your head. 

While journaling, if important tasks for the next day pop up in your mind, it's also a great time to create a to do list for the next day. 

3) Avoid alcohol, nicotine and caffeine a few hours before bedtime: It is an erroneous thought to believe that a 'night cap' is actually helpful for sleep. Actually, alcohol, nicotine and caffeine can interrupt your sleep patterns and worsen your insomnia. In the case of caffeine, it has a half life of 5 hours. This means it takes 5 hours for half the amount of caffeine you drink to be fully metabolized (absorbed) into your system. If you drink multiple cups of coffee throughout the day, you are essentially layering more and more caffeine in your body. So, by night time, chances are all that caffeine is still in there keeping you awake.

And if you find yourself awake late at night, click here to read about Insomnia tips: 10 things to do when you can't sleep at night

4) Practice relaxation about an hour before bedtime: The concept is simple- a relaxed mind is calm, and calmness helps you sleep. But a worried and harried mind is a bad environment for sleep. Remember that your mind and your body are connected. About an hour before bedtime, do something relaxing. Some examples are yoga, medication, prayer, stretches, breathing techniques or listening to soothing music. Let's not forget your sense of smell. Try using a drop of your favorite essential oil and also putting on soft, cozy pajamas. It would also help if your sheets are cool, clean and soft. To help your sense of sight, dim the lights or close the blinds, so that your body's sleep mechanism can also be triggered.

5) Take a nap: Many people who struggle with insomnia or sleep disorders often feel a dip in energy in the middle of the day. If your schedule permits, try taking one 30-minute nap in the middle of the day. This helps to recharge you, but doesn't get you so awake that you cannot sleep at night. Although naps can be beneficial, avoid napping in the evening or too close to bedtime. If you do this, you'll be wide awake at night.  

There you have it. 5 easy tips to help you sleep like a baby. And if you're a woman in Murrieta or Temecula who has struggled with insomnia, and you're ready to sleep soundly again, click here to schedule a free 15 minute consultation call to see if CBT for insomnia is the right treatment for your insomnia. I also provide online sessions for women throughout California.

The benefits of online therapy

You've been struggling with anxiety for a while. You feel very unsure of yourself and you're becoming someone you don't recognize.  Maybe you're crying all the time or your anger is off the charts. It's affecting your work, your relationships, your kids,  and you're sick and tired of it. You know one or two friends who have seen a therapist before and the idea of going to see one has popped in your head, but you just aren't sure you're ready to go to see someone. You imagine sitting in the waiting room. What if someone you know sees you? What will the waiting room look like? Would it be cold and sterile? What if I told you that you could actually see a therapist without ever visiting her office?

Did you know that in the state of California you can actually see a mental health therapist or counselor online? That's right. As long as you are physically located within California's boundaries, you have access to a licensed therapist. Think about it- there are thousands of mental health professionals just waiting to serve you. It doesn't matter if you're in Murrieta or Temecula or Beverly Hills or Los Angeles, all you need is a computer, a webcam and internet connection. Just like that.

How is online therapy different?

When I conduct online sessions, I use the same specialized knowledge and skills that I use in regular in person therapy sessions. You fill out the same paperwork that you would if you were to see me in my office in Murrieta and I still provide you with individualized service that caters to your needs. It's the difference between a face to face conversation and a Skype or FaceTime call. And we all know there's very little difference between the two.

Is online therapy cheaper?

Well that depends on the therapist. Some therapists charge a little less for online sessions, but others charge the same. Think about it this way, when you are talking to someone on Skype, are you using less energy or fewer brain cells? Probably not. You get the exact same service and probably very similar results. But the benefit of online therapy for you is that you do not have to drive to my office, park your car, then drive back to your next destination. You can sit in the comfort of your home or office and have your session. Some people schedule their sessions during their breaks. Some people who travel for work regularly like to schedule online sessions so they don't lose the progress they've made in therapy. But remember, you have to be physically located in California to see me.

 Can I get good results from online counseling?

Yes you can get the same results from an online session as you would from an in person session. Actually you can have an online couples therapy session as well as an online individual therapy session. Like I said previously, when I conduct online sessions, I'm still using the same resources and skills that I would use with you if you were sitting across from me in my office.

 Are online counseling or therapy sessions confidential?

When I conduct online sessions, I use a secure platform called Vsee. Think of it like Skype, but more secure. The reason why I don't do Skype is because it can easily be hacked and your identity is not protected. But Vsee was created for professionals, so you can rest assured. And when I'm in an online session, I'm sitting in a room with the door shut. I'll never be at a coffee shop or at the mall. I treat the online session the same way I'd treat an in person session.

So, do you think you'd ever try online sessions?  If you are interested in scheduling a free 15 minute consultation to talk about how to get you from anxious to calm and confident, call me on 951-905-3181 or email me here. You don't have to be stuck forever. I'm just a click away.

Are you a scaredy cat or do you have phobias?

"You're such a scaredy cat," they say. But what they don't know is that when you go to the beach, your heart races uncontrollably, your palms become sweaty, you become nauseous and all you want to do is get the heck out of there.

What they also don't know is that when you were 3 years old you almost drowned. After that you could no longer go to the beach, go on a cruise or be around large bodies of water. But no one has ever asked you why you're so scared, they just assume that you are being irrational.

Well, you my dear, might have a phobia. To the outside world the person with the phobia makes no sense. After all, all your friends go surfing and swimming at the beach, so they see no harm in large bodies of water. On the contrary, the beach is their happy place. But they don't understand that their happy place causes you terror. You have to summon up the courage to even drive past a beach.

People can have a phobic reaction to just about anything- thunder, lightning, elevators, white t-shirts, the park, the dentist, birds, snakes, strawberries and even good ol' pizza. It also does not matter where you're from, your gender, race or socioeconomic background. Phobias are equal opportunity bandits. They steal your joy, comfort and sometimes, it feels like they steal your sanity.

Simply put, a phobia is an unreasonable fear (which obviously seems very reasonable to you) which causes a person extreme fear and anxiety. You become so petrified that you instantly feel the need to run, hide or even cry. Even if you know that the object you fear is 'harmless,' it still does not reduce the amount of fear you feel around it. Sometimes a phobia will affect your social life or career. When you know your company is going on their annual beach trip, you call in sick and miss the opportunity to network with other professionals. Or you miss out on having fun with friends who want to lay around in the summer time.

So how are phobias treated? Well there are many different ways, but one of the most common is through a treatment called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT. Your counselor or therapist will ask you a list of questions, to get to know your background and even your health history. He or she will sometimes also refer you to your primary care physician so that he or she can determine if your phobia is caused by a physical health condition or by some medications you're taking.

Do you have any phobias? Are you ready to stop feeling afraid? Reach out to a therapist or counselor today. It's important to ask them if they have experience treating phobias as well as how they actually go about the treatment. Help is out there. You don't have to suffer alone.