Hello and welcome! I am Laura Cutler, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT). For more than 20 years, I have been working with adults, children, youth, families, and communities in the field of psychotherapy and child welfare in a variety of settings, including private practice, the foster care system, and hospital setting. It has been said that one of the most courageous things a human being can do is to enter therapy. The inner world of thoughts, feelings, and body sensations can often feel overwhelming. Whether you are struggling with anxiety, depression, anger, current or post-traumatic experiences, relationship problems, grief and loss, or any other human experience for which you need support, healing, individualized strategies, and encouragement, you have come to the right place.
My own journey began with anxiety and depression as a young child, which continued into adulthood. As a child and adolescent, I lived in a private hell of anxiety and a deep sadness that I could not understand. Learning about proper nutrition and meditation helped significantly. But it was not until I entered therapy in my mid-30's that I began to see how my childhood experiences and current ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving, were shaping me, dictating the degree to which I could explore and enjoy my own life. During my first session, I experienced a thrill of hope beyond description, a glimmering of what may be possible in my quest for total freedom to live, love, create, and make my contribution to the world in this lifetime. I loved the therapeutic experience so much that I went back to school to become a therapist.
My therapeutic style is warm, supportive, solution-focused, and based on Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, which teaches us to notice and question our negative thoughts and perceptions of self and other in order to come to a more balanced view. I also incorporate "body-focused" therapies, having been trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and the Trauma Resiliency Model (TRM. Research has shown that trauma lives in the body, not just the mind, and that sometimes talk therapy alone is not enough to resolve our deepest emotional wounds. Also included in my therapeutic approach is psycho-education, or a teaching element, to provide you with new knowledge and to support skill building. I grew up in a house filled with books and two parents that revered learning. So, naturally, being in a state of continuous learning is something that I value greatly and trust will benefit your therapeutic process. As I continue to learn, too, I will happily share my discoveries when pertinent to your own journey in psychotherapy.
Our work together will rest upon several core beliefs:
1. We come into the world with a brain that is hard wired to adapt. Effective therapy seeks to enhance and strengthen the adaptive information processing mechanism and adaptive memory networks that already exist in your brain and help to calm your nervous system. These adaptive mechanisms support our work in therapy to honor, reprocess, and integrate your traumatic memories into your experience, so that you can live more fully in the present moment.
2. All feelings, negative thoughts, and body sensations are valuable and serve as our constant teachers.
3. When we get good at slowing down, noticing and questioning our thoughts and assumptions, magical changes can begin to happen.
4. Focusing on our existing personal strengths and seeking to build upon them is the most effective way to move forward in our lives. Past regrets and traumas are to be honored and learned from, but we need not live there.
5. Good therapy does not need to take years. When we develop a treatment plan together, based on a comprehensive assessment, your insights and needs, and with my clinical input, significant progress can be made in weeks or months.
6. The skills you will learn in therapy with me can serve you for the rest of your life. You will become your own therapist and even share your experiences with others to encourage and support those who are still suffering.
7. Therapy alone is never enough. We must give attention to our nutrition, exercise, work life, need for creative expression, sexuality, and play. Spiritual practices, such as a faith tradition, yoga, meditation, and other spiritual tools, are also extremely helpful in reconnecting you with your truest self - which is always unfolding!
But even with all of the insight and knowledge in the world, I have seen and personally experienced that, ultimately, it is relationship that heals - relationship first and foremost with ourself and then others. It is deep listening that heals. It is kindness, patience, giving up the need to be right, being curious, being gentle with ourself, seeking to love and understand ourself and others, that heals.
I invite you to experience the therapeutic space with me and see what is possible. Know that there is no such thing as failure or "getting it wrong" with me - only new discoveries about what works and what feels right to you, moment by moment. You have the capacity to grow and change. And, you don't have to do it alone! With new knowledge and skills - with a new way of simply being - we can come to know a new freedom and a new happiness. Our unnecessary suffering begins to melt away...
Additional areas of focus: LGBT, Family conflicts, Grief, Intimacy-related issues, Eating disorders, Parenting issues, Anger management, Self esteem, Career difficulties, Bipolar disorder, Coping with life changes, Coaching, Compassion fatigue, ADHD, Abandonment, Aging and Geriatric Issues, Attachment Issues, Body Image, Codependency, Commitment Issues, Communication Problems, Control Issues, Coping with Natural or Human-Caused Disaster, Dependent Personality, Dissociation, Eating and Food-Related Issues, Emptiness, Family of Origin Issues, Family Problems, Fatherhood Issues, First Responder Issues, Forgiveness, Guilt and Shame, Immigration Issues, Infidelity, Isolation / Loneliness, Life Purpose, Midlife Crisis, Mood Disorders, Multicultural Concerns, Obsessions, Compulsions, and OCD, Panic Disorder and Panic Attacks, Phobias, Post-traumatic Stress, Prejudice and Discrimination, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), Self-Love, Sexual Assault and Abuse, Sexuality, Social Anxiety and Phobia, Somatization, Women's Issues, Workplace Issues, Young Adult Issues
Clinical approaches: Client-Centered Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Mindfulness Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Solution-Focused Therapy, Somatic Therapy, Trauma-Focused Therapy
CA LMFT 39659
Talk about a professional that really meets you where you’re at and has the kindness and patience to walk with you millimeter by millimeter to wherever you want to go!
Written on Jun 23, 2023 after therapy with Laura for 1 year and 9 months on issues concerning depression, stress, anxiety, relationship issues, family conflicts, trauma and abuse, grief, intimacy-related issues, coping with life changes, and compassion fatigue
I have been with almost half a year and we have meetings weekly. Her sound advice and expertise have never led me astray and I truly appreciate how she’s helped me stay grounded. Thank you, Laura for all your help. Not all heroes wear capes
Written on Feb 11, 2022 after therapy with Laura for 4 months on issues concerning depression, stress, anxiety, family conflicts, trauma and abuse, grief, intimacy-related issues, parenting issues, self esteem, career difficulties, and compassion fatigue
Laura really listens to what I have to say and checks in on me, updating me on what we will be discussing prior to our session which I greatly appreciate. She is flexible, attentive, accommodating, and compassionate.
Written on Oct 03, 2021 after therapy with Laura for 2 weeks on issues concerning depression, stress, anxiety, lgbt, relationship issues, family conflicts, grief, intimacy-related issues, self esteem, and coping with life changes