Category Archives for "Anxiety and Trauma"

Jul 12

Rediscover Healing Connection: Embrace In-Person Psychotherapy Sessions

By Cisais | Anxiety and Trauma

In a world where technology has become an integral part of our lives, there is an undeniable allure to the convenience and accessibility it offers. From virtual meetings to online therapy sessions, we have witnessed an incredible transformation in how we connect with others. However, amidst this digital revolution, the value of in-person interactions should not be overlooked. As a psychotherapist, I am excited to extend an invitation to all individuals seeking personal growth and healing to experience the transformative power of in-person psychotherapy sessions.

The Power of Physical Presence

There is a profound and unique energy that emerges when two individuals share the same physical space. In-person psychotherapy sessions provide an opportunity for a deep, authentic connection, enabling both therapist and client to build trust and rapport. The subtleties of body language, facial expressions, and non-verbal cues often reveal more than words can convey, fostering a richer therapeutic experience.

Creating a Safe Haven

The therapy room serves as a sanctuary—a safe space where individuals can explore their emotions, vulnerabilities, and traumas without judgment. In-person sessions create an environment conducive to emotional healing, where clients can feel secure and supported. The presence of a compassionate psychotherapist, physically present, enhances the sense of safety and encourages clients to dive deeper into their healing journey.

Tailored Therapy Approaches

In-person sessions allow for the utilization of a wide array of therapeutic approaches and interventions that can be adapted to the client’s unique needs. Whether it’s experiential techniques, body-centered therapies, or somatic exercises, being physically present enables therapists to employ modalities that require physical touch or proximity. These approaches can greatly enhance the effectiveness of therapy, facilitating emotional release and promoting holistic healing.

Connection in a Disconnected World

In today’s fast-paced, technology-driven world, many individuals experience a deep sense of disconnection and loneliness. In-person psychotherapy sessions offer an opportunity to bridge this gap by fostering authentic human connection. The presence of a compassionate therapist creates a supportive bond, reminding clients that they are not alone in their struggles. This shared experience provides solace, validation, and a sense of belonging that can be profoundly healing.

Stepping Out of Comfort Zones

Sometimes, growth and healing require stepping out of our comfort zones. In-person psychotherapy sessions can challenge individuals to confront their fears and anxieties surrounding social interactions. By engaging in face-to-face therapy, clients can develop resilience, build interpersonal skills, and experience personal growth that extends beyond the therapy room.

While technology has undoubtedly revolutionized various aspects of our lives, the essence of human connection remains vital for our well-being. In-person psychotherapy sessions provide a unique opportunity to cultivate genuine, transformative connections in a safe and supportive environment. As a psychotherapist, I invite you to embrace the power of in-person therapy, allowing yourself to embark on a profound healing journey that extends far beyond the boundaries of the digital world.

Rediscover the beauty of personal connection and take that courageous step toward holistic healing through in-person psychotherapy sessions. Your path to personal growth and emotional well-being awaits you.In a world where technology has become an integral part of our lives, there is an undeniable allure to the convenience and accessibility it offers. From virtual meetings to online therapy sessions, we have witnessed an incredible transformation in how we connect with others. However, amidst this digital revolution, the value of in-person interactions should not be overlooked. As a psychotherapist, I am excited to extend an invitation to all individuals seeking personal growth and healing to experience the transformative power of in-person psychotherapy sessions.

Jan 03

Legal Update: No Surprise Act

By Cisais | Anxiety and Trauma

Happy New Year!

In December 2020, Congress passed the No Surprises Act to reduce unexpected medical bills on patients. This goes went into effect January 1, 2022. New information about this law and requirements just became available. Below you will find information regarding this law and links to gather more information

There are important requirements when seeking out of network care or if you are uninsured. The information is somewhat unclear as to how this impacts our relationship, however I am taking a proactive step to address this and provide notice and documents. 

You will find 2 forms to complete prior to our next appointment. These forms in no way change or supersede our current billing arrangements

  1. A Good Faith Estimate for 2022, based on our highest clinical rates, although your rate may be lower if you have made prior arrangements with your clinician.
  2. A notice of acknowledgment regarding about Good Faith Estimates

Information regarding this law and links to gather more information

According to The Center for Medicare and Medicaid services :

What are surprise medical bills?

If you have health insurance and get care from an out-of-network provider or at an out-of-network facility, your health plan may not cover the entire out-of-network cost. This can leave you with higher costs than if you got care from an in-network provider or facility. In the past, in addition to any out-of-network cost sharing you might owe, the out-of-network provider or facility could bill you for the difference between the billed charge and the amount your health plan paid, unless banned by state law. This is called “balance billing.” An unexpected balance bill from an out-of-network provider is also called a surprise medical bill.

What are the new protections if I have health insurance?

If you get health coverage through your employer, the Health Insurance Marketplace®, or an individual health insurance plan you purchase directly from an insurance company, these new rules will:

  • Ban surprise bills for emergency services, even if you get them out-of-network and without approval beforehand (prior authorization).
  • Ban out-of-network cost-sharing (like out-of-network coinsurance or copayments) for all emergency and some non-emergency services. You can’t be charged more than in-network cost-sharing for these services.
  • Ban out-of-network charges and balance bills for supplemental care (like anesthesiology or radiology) by out-of-network providers who work at an in-network facility.
  • Require that health care providers and facilities give you an easy-to-understand notice explaining that getting care out-of-network could be more expensive and options to avoid balance bills. You’re not required to sign this notice or get care out-of-network.

What if I don’t have health insurance or choose to pay for care on my own without using my health insurance?

If you don’t have insurance or you choose to pay for care without using your insurance (also known as “self-paying” for care), these new rules make sure you can get a “good faith” estimate of how much your care will cost, before you get care.

Are there exceptions to these protections?

Some health insurance coverage programs already have protections against high medical bills. You’re already protected against surprise medical billing if you have coverage through Medicare, Medicaid, Indian Health Services, Veterans Affairs Health Care, or TRICARE.

Regarding Good Faith Estimates:

Getting cost estimates before you get an item or service if you’re uninsured or self-pay

Beginning January 1, 2022, if you’re uninsured or you pay for health care bills yourself (don’t have your claims submitted to your health plan), health care providers and facilities must provide you with an estimate of expected charges before you get an item or service. This is called a “good faith estimate.” Providers and facilities must provide you with a good faith estimate if you request one, or after you’ve scheduled an item or service. It should include expected charges for the primary item or service you’re getting, and any other items or services that are provided as part of the same scheduled experience.

Thank you for your cooperation!

davis ca online teletherapy
Apr 02

What is Teletherapy?

By Cisais | Anxiety and Trauma

Teletherapy, (also referred to as telehealth, online therapy or telemedicine) is a form of video meetings that allow therapists to provide services to clients via a secure 2-way video session. It also provides the opportunity for consultation with family members, teachers and other providers involved in the client’s care. Surveyed patients participating in teletherapy say they are very satisfied with the care they are receiving and that they feel teletherapy is a reliable form of practice. In addition, they find that they are able to keep their appointments on a more regular basis.

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Who is Teletherapy For?

Teletherapy is beneficial for a range of people, for a diverse set of circumstances or experiences, including couples, individuals, groups and teens. Teletherapy has been around since the 1990s in the United States and is considered a highly effective method for therapy delivery.

Research studies, many of which are listed in bibliography format by the Telemental Health Institute, also indicate that telemental health is equivalent to face-to-face care in various settings and an acceptable alternative.

Here’s some research:​

  • 2014 study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that online treatment was just as effective as face-to-face treatment for depression.
  • 2018 study published in the Journal of Psychological Disorders found that online cognitive behavioral therapy is, “effective, acceptable and practical health care.” The study found the online cognitive behavioral therapy was equally as effective as face-to-face treatment for major depression, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder.
  • 2014 study published in Behaviour Research and Therapy found that online cognitive behavioral therapy was effective in treating anxiety disorders. Treatment was cost-effective and the positive improvements were sustained at the one-year follow-up.

How can I prepare for my first Teletherapy session with Life Compass?

Joining your first session is straightforward. Here are some items you will need or should consider”

  • A private space (office, home, parked car, or even a walk in the park).
  • A computer, tablet, or phone (no applications or software to download).
  • A web camera (built in to your computer, external or on your phone).
  • A microphone (built it, headset, or earbuds).
  • An internet connection with a bandwidth of at least 10 MBPS. We recommend an Ethernet cable over Wifi when possible to ensure you receive the best possible connection through your internet provider (but this is not mandatory). You can check your internet speed here.
  • Shut down all background applications to ensure Teletherapy session receives the majority of your internet’s bandwidth, especially applications that use your camera.


Not quite sure if online therapy is right for you? Do you have questions? 

Life Compass offers a free, 15 minute consultation. We’ll talk a about your goals, gather some background information, and see if we’re a good fit.

Complete the form below or call/text us at 530.341.8180 to get started.



Oct 25

What is Play Therapy?

By Cisais | Anxiety and Trauma

As psychotherapists, our focus is in child development and play therapy. We use a playful and individualized approach to empower children to cooperate, self-regulate and effectively communicate their needs.

Play therapy is most often used with children ages 3-12 and usually occurs in weekly sessions.  Some children’s behaviors may improve very quickly with play therapy (averaging 15-20 sessions), while others may have more serious or ongoing problems that may take longer to resolve. Play therapy works best when a parent, family member, or caretaker is supportive and actively involved in the treatment process.

Why Play Therapy?

Developmentally, even the brightest children have not developed the capacity to use the insight-based verbal reasoning– which is needed to be successful in one-on-one talk therapy. What works in the world of play therapy is that it play can be used as a language by the child,  overcoming the challenge of more traditional language-based communication while still allowing the therapist to assess and respond to the underlying needs of the child-client. Also, because therapy sessions are child-centered, there is less resistance and often more rapid change than with talk therapy.

Play therapy is different from regular “playdates” because in these specialized sessions, therapeutic space is created to allow the child-client to express, address, and resolve the challenges they have faced. Play provides a psychological distancing from a child’s issues and allows expression of thoughts and feelings– which is the process work of therapy. Through play, therapists can help children learn more adaptive behaviors when there are emotional or social skills deficits. Children learn to communicate with others, express feelings, modify behavior, develop problem-solving skills, and learn a variety of ways of relating to others. Even the most troubling problems can be confronted in play therapy and lasting resilience can be discovered, rehearsed, mastered, and adapted into lifelong strategies.

Play therapy is effective with children experiencing life stressors, such as relocation, hospitalization, chronic illness, abuse, domestic violence, and natural disasters. Therapeutic play and can be used with children dealing with:

  • anger management
  • grief and loss
  • divorce, family dissolution, and abandonment
  • crises and trauma
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • ADHD
  • Autism or pervasive developmental disorder
  • academic and social problems
  • learning disabilities
  • conduct disorders
Nov 16

What is PTSD?

By Cisais | Anxiety and Trauma

PTSD is the acronym for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and refers to a cluster of symptoms that result from a past trauma. But what’s a trauma?. Trauma refers to a psychological or emotional imprint that occurs when an event or series events threatens our sense of safety or well-being to the extent that our minds react to protect us from any further exposure.

In order to protect ourselves until we are either healthy enough or supported well enough to address issues from the past, sometimes, our experience or memory of a traumatizing event can be compartmentalized or stored away. PTSD can be diagnosed as soon as 30 days after an event or as long as 30 years or more after an event. The good news is that the healing process can begin at any time.

Nov 10

EMDR Therapy and Trauma

By Cisais | Anxiety and Trauma

Trauma survivors often complain of recurring nightmares, sudden tearfulness, flashbacks, aversions to places or people and even somatic/physical discomforts. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), is a technology created about 20 years ago by Francine Shapiro, PhD. EMDR involves systematically bringing highly charged images/experiences to the conscious self without hypnosis where they can be rationally dealt with and resolved into normal memory. This process is rapid and is noted in psychology journals as the most effective treatment available for PTSD.

Sep 02

A Soldier’s Unseen Wounds

By Cisais | Anxiety and Trauma

A gun, a tank, a rocket launcher all make sense if you are a member of any of our armed services on a tour in the Middle East. They are necessary for the tasks that these men and women have been trained and, for better or worse, fit into the context of war.

Just as a rifle is a tool with a specific design; the sight to hone in on a target, materials that resist wear and damage, a magazine to hold rounds to defend or attack, a trigger to engage the sole purpose of the tool. So too, can a mind be conditioned to serve a specific purpose to suite an environment and a context that can be imagined, practiced and realized in mission after mission.

The difference is that the rifle is not expected to change purpose at the end of a tour. Whether in ‘that’ environment or another it maintains it’s function and form. We expect our servicemen and women to suddenly, and with little preparation or explanation to change context, change purpose, dial back intensity, leave the thousands of hours of training in the camps.

If you are one of them. It may be one of the most difficult experiences you have ever had or will have. Feelings of detachment and isolation even when around familiar people, not feeling purposeful or needed, having a loss of direction and confusion about the future. These are all common to the returning soldier.

Aside from the personal effects, behavioral issues compound the problem. Poor sleep patterns, rapid mood changes, aggression and irritability, depression and even panic attacks can all be an unfortunate result of a rapid transition into what many soldiers had hoped for upon their return.
These symptoms are all part of a syndrome related to Acute Stress Disorder. This is the diagnosis that precludes Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In later years the military has done a much better job of acknowledging wars effect on soldiers. However, the treatment modalities used such as Systematic Desensitization and Group therapies often offer little help.

The good news is that the prognosis for Acute Stress Disorder, PTSD and other trauma-related issues is very good in that symptoms can be managed in a relatively short time and a healthier experience of themselves can begin immediately.

Please read more regarding EMDR and Neurobehavioral Medicine or call me to see if you or someone you know may be a good candidate for treatment. And, Thank you for your service.

Aug 16

Anxiety Snapshot

By Cisais | Anxiety and Trauma

One of my many reasons for working with individuals with Anxiety, Panic Attacks and PTSD is that they all carry a very good prognosis. Meaning that, when treated properly, we can expect positive results and we can expect them to last.

When I hear of someone or meet someone who has suffered from long-term generalized anxiety or Panic Attacks I feel a sense of urgency to make changes early on. There is simply no reason why a person should suffer with either of these debilitating clusters of symptoms.

Anxiety and Panic are expressions of a problem at a deeper level. Much like pain in the body, anxiety is a signal that something needs to change. Part of the work is discovering what change needs to occur, part of the work is finding behaviors to manage, reduce or eliminate the attacks/anxiety and part of the work is trusting the change that occurs over the long run.

That being said, treatment approaches can involve emotional, behavioral, environmental, familial and spiritual aspects of a person’s life. While the work to minimize the suffering is primary, the secondary changes that occur in this exploration enrich every aspect a persons’ life.

I work with individuals with problems with anxiety, PTSD, trauma as well as with couples and adolescents.

Sep 22

Decisions, Decisions… How to Stop Fearing and Start Deciding

By Cisais | Anxiety and Trauma , Motivation and Choice

The last time I checked the DSM-IV (and I try not to check it too often), the treatment of Decidophobia, the fear of making decisions, included everything from “cognitive re-mapping” to anti-depressants. Pretty serious stuff for a common problem.

But, if it’s so common, what’s the fuss all about? That is the real damage to indecision?

Often, people who fear making decisions tend to vacillate and procrastinate in an effort to avoid the choices they must make. When the fear of making decisions begins to harm the psyche and affect daily life, it can become a serious problem. Even on a lesser level, individuals who vacillate , are ambiguous or procrastinate can hurt others and their relationships with this indecision. Consistent lack of follow through breeds resentment and distrust.

Making decisions requires confidence. It requires a degree of certainty. When tough decisions with serious consequences are called for, it can be difficult for some people to know what is best. The fear of making the wrong decision can cause a sort of mental paralysis. Individuals who are unable to be decisive may feel angry and agitated when faced with choices, because they are unsure of themselves.

Decisions sign in the skyIn the business world and in personal life, the choices we make can define us. The decisions we make can be wrong, and if they are, they can be very costly. In our busy world, every day brings a barrage of new decisions to be made. But what if decision making could be as easy and instinctual as  dealing with all those small choices, such as what to order at a restaurant?

Effortless Decision Making

I’ve been learning (but haven’t mastered) the principles of Effortless Decision-Making. It’s a way of making decisions where you can flow through the constant stream of decisions we must make every day of our lives, without getting stuck, without being paralyzed by fear. We choose, and flow, and we let go of worry.

What follows is a very brief guide to making effortless decisions.

Let go of perfection.

 We’ll never make perfect decisions, and wanting to make the perfect choice keeps us paralyzed.

Get more information.

Don’t let this hold you up, but if you’re stuck it’s often because you don’t have the necessary info. What info do you need? Can you easily get it? Get it now if you can, but don’t be held up by the lack of info.

Try and err.

If you don’t have enough info — and that’s usually the case — just choose. It doesn’t really matter what you choose, just make a choice and let go of the idea of making the right choice. Now live with that choice for a bit, and see what happens. This is called trial and error, and it’s often the best way to get information. We try something, and see how it works out — and then we have more information to make better decisions in the future. When you look at it this way, decisions are just a series of trial and error experiments, and it doesn’t matter what the outcomes are, because any outcome is good information.

Try intuition.

If you’re stuck and don’t have enough info, let go of worry and just make a choice. How do you make a choice? You could flip a coin, but you could also just go with your gut reaction. What does your intuition say? Start listening to it — often it’s an unconscious decision based on lots of factors that we can’t consciously process, so a part of our unconscious brain processes it and comes up with a split-second decision. Intuition can be wrong, but that’s still OK: we’re going to learn from the results no matter what. So just learn to hear your intuition, and go with it.

Let go of worry.

If you learn the above principles, it’s easy to see that there’s nothing to worry about. You don’t need to be perfect, and a decision is very rarely the end of the world (at least, no decision has led to the end of the world yet). Sure, history is littered with the corpses of those who made bad decisions, but there are a million times more decisions that were made without any really bad consequences. You won’t die, you’ll just learn. So don’t worry — just choose.

Practice, and flow.

You’ll get better at this with practice, as you learn to let go of perfection and worry and see decisions as experiments. You’ll learn to do it better, faster, with more intuition. Soon you’ll flow through your daily decisions with ease. Do it consciously at first, keeping in mind all of the above principles, but it gets easier as you go.

Making decisions is something we do all day long, and it doesn’t have to be difficult. We build certain decisions up in our minds because we think they’re incredibly important, but in truth they’re rarely that big a deal. This isn’t the Cuban Missile Crisis — we’re not deciding the fate of a nation. See choice as an opportunity to learn, and you’ll be happy for every single effortless decision that comes your way.

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