Although I am trained as a psychotherapist I don’t try to diagnose anyone or consider them ‘ill’. Instead I focus on learning all about you, including your strengths and your hopes and dreams, so that I can help you find a new way to approach the challenges of your life. I am quite practical in the way I approach your concerns – sometimes I may offer specific suggestions or ask you to consider something in a new light.
In our first session I do more than just begin “getting to know you”. I will teach you a simple technique which you can use when you become anxious. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is effective for almost everyone, and it’s something you can use immediately whether or not you are taking medications.
How I work
Often I use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which teaches anxious people to shift the way they perceive the environment so they don’t need to emotionally react to everything negative that comes their way. CBT has powerful effects that last long after the session with me is over, protecting against more anxious thought in a way that drugs cannot.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprogramming (EMDR) is another technique that is extremely helpful for people who have experienced any type of trauma. EMDR is an invaluable counseling adjunct that combines talk therapy with bilateral stimulations such as eye movements or tones to facilitate the brain’s natural ability to heal. I’ve also found that EMDR is helpful for those who suffer from anxiety, depression, addictions, phobias, and a variety of self-esteem issues. More
For some people, connection with their spirituality is an important part of creating the life they want. I often use insights from mindfulness and other Buddhist practices because these are powerful tools to help us become calmer and more peaceful in our lives.
If you and a loved one are coming to me as a couple, I will usually meet with the two of you first so we can map out the kind of change you both want to experience in your relationship. Since most people have some things they feel awkward discussing with their partner present, I will then invite each of you back for an individual session as soon as possible. With most people I then follow a rhythm of seeing you both individually alternating with meeting with you as a couple.
Another option after the initial meeting is for both of you to complete a computerized inventory that will provide the three of us with invaluable information about your strengths and growth areas as a couple. It covers everything from conflict resolution to financial management to spiritual beliefs.
In couple sessions the two of you will not just sit there complaining about each other to me! I often coach and gently guide from the sidelines while you talk and listen to one another. This way you can EXPERIENCE actually communicating in a way that will “stick” after you leave my office. I will teach you how to CONNECT in ways that take you beyond criticism, condemnation, defensiveness, and stone-walling.
I particularly enjoy working with couples and have additional training and experience in helping with sexual issues. You can find more information about this aspect of my work here.
If your partner is reluctant to take part in counseling don’t despair! If you change, your partner is going to have to respond in some way. If s/he won’t participate, you can still benefit from individual counseling or phone coaching.
Not everyone can come to my office so I also offer coaching by phone. Unlike many therapists I’m quite comfortable working this way and many clients actually prefer the convenience and privacy phone work offers. I refer to this as “coaching” because psychotherapy can only be done face to face. Many of my coaching clients live far from the central California coast but want to take advantage of the extensive training and expertise that they can’t find where they live. EMDR is the only modality that I cannot offer by phone.
Phone coaching is not appropriate for everyone. If I feel that it is not the right approach for you I’ll try to help you find someone else you can work with.
If you’re interested in learning more about my particular approach to counseling and coaching, please read the free article “Talk is Cheap?”
Through her business, Access Point, Jill Denton provides psychotherapy, counseling and coaching to couples and individuals who live in Los Osos, Morro Bay, Cayucos, Cambria, Atascadero, Paso Robles, Templeton, Santa Margarita, San Luis Obispo, Atascadero, Oceano, Pismo Beach, Grover Beach, Shell Beach, Santa Maria, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Bakersfield, Fresno, Clovis, Los Vegas, Seattle, Houston and New York City.