I am originally from Santa Monica and San Diego, California and moved to Kyiv, Ukraine last June 2021 to research and develop trauma-informed mixed reality to treat trauma and relationships in the metaverse with military, veterans, first responders and trauma survivors and then...the war happened and have remained to continue trauma-informed humanitarian efforts. This is my passion and the work I have researched. So, when you work with me I will be working with you from Kyiv, Ukraine.
I provide trauma-informed relationship psychotherapy methods and models from our office to virtual reality to video and tele-health to create safe conversations to treat Complex-PTS and PTS (Trauma) within the context of a couple/family environment. I work best with couples, individuals, military, veterans, first responder's and those who "rage against the dying of the light!"
I implement and integrate multi-disciplinary theories, concepts, interventions, methods and applications to treat complex-ptsd within and between couples using the best of current practices with Virtual Reality Experiences, PACT, Gottman Method, Imago Therapy, Real Life Therapy, Executive and Life Coaching, EMDR and attachment-based Emotionally Focused Couple Trauma and Somatic Experiencing processes in what makes sense for a couples.
I believe health is social and with a shared context, tools, resources and evidence based trauma-informed relationship research and development we can target through our deep and comprehensive assessments that each couple can and will break through the upper limit barriers that block the relationship from your true heart desires.
We, too, as the Celtic saying goes, "live in the shelter of each other."
No one can dance with a partner and not touch each other's raw spots. We must know what these raw spots are and be able to speak about them in a way that pulls our partner closer to us. So, I think ultimately, hurt will come. However, love, like a dance, is a constant process of tuning in, connecting, missing and misreading cues, disconnecting, repairing, and finding deeper connection.
It is a dance of meeting and parting and finding each other again. Minute to minute and day to day. Just learning to dance more gracefully over time and experience means committing to being on the dance floor every day, paying attention and attuning to the music, steps, and emotion of the dance.
Distressed partners no longer see each other as their emotional safe haven. Our lover is supposed to be the one person we can count on who will always respond. Instead, unhappy partners feel emotionally deprived, rejected, even abandoned. In that light, couples' conflicts assume their true meaning: they are frightened protests against eroding connection and a demand for emotional reengagement.
Learning to love and be loved is, in effect, about learning to tune in to our emotions and that of our own partners so that we know what we need from a partner and expressing those desires openly, in a way that evokes compassion and support from him or her to create a secure base both partners can rely on.
Here Is What To Expect When You Work With Me
This will give you a sense of my guiding beliefs and my approach to working with couples.
What I Believe
• Couples are seeking connection. We want to feel that connection with each other, that aliveness, that excitement, that sense of well being. It is an emotional, physical and spiritual connection. It is what we feel when we first come together with someone and “fall in love”.
• Conflict is the motivating force for healing and growth in relationships. I believe the conflict couples experience after the “honeymoon period” of their relationship is actually necessary. Conflict points out where we don’t get our needs met. Unmet needs create a breakdown in connection, destroying passion and intimacy. Many couples don’t navigate this “power struggle” phase successfully and eventually break up or settle for a less than satisfying relationship.
• Connection requires Safety and Passion. We want the emotional safety to be ourselves, to be open and honest, to feel accepted and understood. With this safety, comes deep connection. From this nurturing environment, passion can arise and be sustained. I mean sexual passion, of course, and also, emotional passion. The freedom to be spontaneous, to express who we are, to be intimate and excited by our lives is also a key desire.
• Expressing and meeting your needs creates a healthy, passionate relationship. I will teach you to create the emotional safety which will allow you to recognize and express your needs consciously. From this place of safety and satisfied needs, a conscious, passionate relationship can develop.
• You can learn how to connect again with your partner! You can share with each other on a deep, loving, meaningful level. You can feel heard and understood by your partner. You can learn to be more compassionate and empathic with them and they with you.
• You can have a passionate, exciting sex life with your partner! You can spontaneously express your feelings towards your partner through your lovemaking.
• You can feel good about yourself and your relationship again! You can know your needs, share them with your partner and together you can help each other to meet those needs! You can respect and cherish each other and treat each other and your relationship with that deep caring and nurturing.
• You can recapture that playfulness, that innocence, that pure joy of being together that you once had! You can tap into and recreate those wonderful, idyllic moments you once shared and have them available to you once again!
• You can reignite the passion of your relationship! You can remove the baggage that has weighed you down and be lifted into a new romance, a new love, a new depth that you have always wanted and you will be able to sustain it.
What Working With Me Is Like
• You’ll learn skills, tools and exercises to help your relationship. My ultimate task is to put myself out of a job. I want you to be able to be responsible for your relationship and have the skills to make it the best it can possibly be.
• I’ll expect you to practice between sessions. The majority of the work takes place between our sessions. The results you receive will be in direct proportion to the work you put into this process. I’m committed to doing everything in my power to help you in your relationship. I expect the same from you.
• I’ll shoot straight with you. I’m not afraid to speak my mind. I’m not afraid to take charge of our sessions. I won’t collude with you in the sustaining the unhealthy parts of your relationship. I’ll hold you accountable to your goals and our mutual agreements and for creating the relationship vision that you desire so strongly to create.
• I’ll help “translate” between you and your partner. This is something I’ve had a great deal of practice at, and I’m really good at it. I can speak your language, whether intellectual or emotional, whether masculine or feminine, whether verbal or non-verbal. It’s one of my greatest gifts as a couples’ therapist.
• My job is to keep you emotionally safe and secure while you do the work. I take that very seriously. Couples are generally not very comfortable with the process of beginning couples work. They are airing all of their issues in front of a total stranger. There can be a lot of finger pointing and blaming, criticizing and condemning. I don’t allow that. We’ll create a space where you can be honest AND kind and loving. Developing intimacy requires the freedom to be open and vulnerable, which requires safety.
• We’ll laugh and have fun. This is serious work, and needs to be balanced with a sense of humor. I’m professional, yet relaxed and easy-going. I’m flexible, creative and out-of-the-box. I’ll do my best to set you at ease and have you be as comfortable as you can be through this challenging, yet rewarding process.
The Bottom Line
I believe that I can help you to have a better relationship, that is more passionate, more intimate, more romantic, more sensual.
Qualifications & Experience
I have been counseling and training informally for 25 years and formally for 20 years. I served in my church as a marriage and family ministry leader, educator and mentor for 20 years and as a professional, licensed marriage and family therapist for 15 years.
I did my training for a B.S. in psychology with an emphasis in neuropsychology with University of Maryland, B.S. in Organizational Management with University of Phoenix, Masters in Clinical Psychology with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy with Pepperdine University, and all but dissertation for Doctorate in Psychology in Marriage and Family Therapy with The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.
My clinical practicum and internship was with La Vie Christian Counseling in Pasadena and Santa Monica, and Turning Point Christian Counseling in Pasadena. I also trained in Christian Counseling with Gary Smalley, Henry Cloud and John Townsend, and Emerson Eggerichs for Christian Marriage and Relationship Therapy.
My other training and certifications include:
Certificate in Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy
Gottman Level I and II
Certified Gottman Educator
Certified in EMDR
Certified in PTSD and Trauma Therapy
Certified in Couples Intensives with Smalley Institute
Certified and trained in Dynamic Marriage
Certified and trained in Love and Respect Couples Intensives with Emerson Eggerichs
Certified and trained in Cloud and Townsend
Certified as a facilitator and trainer in SYMBIS (Save Your Marriage Before It Starts) with Les and Leslie Parrot
Certified and trained as a Facilitator and Trainer for Prepare and Enrich
Certified in Christian Marriage, Couples and Relationship Intensives with Sharon Morris May
Additional areas of focus: Stress, Anxiety, Addictions, Grief, Parenting issues, Self esteem, Career difficulties, Depression, Coping with life changes, Coaching, Compassion fatigue, Abandonment, Antisocial Personality, Attachment Issues, Avoidant Personality, Blended Family Issues, Codependency, Commitment Issues, Communication Problems, Control Issues, Coping with Natural or Human-Caused Disaster, Dependent Personality, Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD), Dissociation, Divorce and Separation, Domestic Violence, Emptiness, Expats, Family of Origin Issues, Family Problems, Fatherhood Issues, First Responder Issues, Forgiveness, Guilt and Shame, Impulsivity, Infidelity, Isolation / Loneliness, Jealousy, Life Purpose, Men's Issues, Midlife Crisis, Military and Veterans Issues, Mood Disorders, Panic Disorder and Panic Attacks, Personality Disorders, Phobias, Post-traumatic Stress, Process addiction (porn, exercise, gambling), Self-Love, Sex Addiction, Sexual Assault and Abuse, Social Anxiety and Phobia, Somatization, Traumatic Brain Injury, Women's Issues, Workplace Issues, Young Adult Issues
Clinical approaches: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Attachment-Based Therapy, Client-Centered Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Emotionally-Focused Therapy (EFT), Existential Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Gottman Method, Imago Relationship Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Psychodynamic Therapy, Solution-Focused Therapy, Somatic Therapy, Trauma-Focused Therapy, Internal Family Systems
CA LMFT 51093
Joe is awesome, knows a lot about serious trauma, and has a happy, adventuresome additude.
Written on Aug 20, 2023 after therapy with Joe for 8 months on issues concerning trauma and abuse, and intimacy-related issues
Joe is amazing! He understands me, he gives me the tools and support to keep becoming a better version of myself.
Written on Jul 04, 2023 after therapy with Joe for 9 months on issues concerning relationship issues, trauma and abuse, and anger management
Joe is a wonderful therapist who listens. He helps me see areas where I can improve and helps me actually do it.
Written on Apr 12, 2023 after therapy with Joe for 1 month on issues concerning depression, stress, anxiety, addictions, relationship issues, intimacy-related issues, self esteem, bipolar disorder, and adhd
Joe’s gentleness brings so much support, peace and clarity in the midst of the worst storms. While I’m zooming from stress and grief, he brings me back down to “calm” and practical baby steps that will ultimately lead me to empowerment. He’s helping me to break cycles and reconstruct the way I think and interact with the world, my employer, friends, family, and my spouse. I feel like I get extra therapy time with the resources he sends my way and the tips and homework he gives me to connect with myself and my values . Eternally grateful Joe!
Written on Jan 26, 2023 after therapy with Joe for 4 months on issues concerning depression, stress, anxiety, relationship issues, family conflicts, career difficulties, and adhd
Joe is great!
Written on Jan 22, 2023 after therapy with Joe for 2 weeks on issues concerning stress, anxiety, relationship issues, family conflicts, trauma and abuse, and anger management
I very happy to have had find Joe as therapist.
Written on Jan 14, 2023 after therapy with Joe for 7 months on issues concerning relationship issues, family conflicts, parenting issues, and anger management