Individual, Couples, and Family Therapist
“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”
– Henry David Thoreau
This quotation has had a lot of meaning for me throughout my life. When I first heard it, I realized that it had been true for me during most of my growing up years. From the time I was very young, I excelled at many things—dance, music, ice-skating, straight-A student, etc. But, in retrospect, was I happy?
I lived in a home atmosphere that was either completely silent, or tense and chaotic with verbal abuse. I felt lonely and invisible most of the time. By the time I was in high school, I had signed up for a work-study program and had three part-time jobs. People would ask me why I was so busy. I had no answer for them at the time. Later, through counseling, I understood that I was avoiding the painful conditions at home.
I found out that my parents were each suffering from their own desperation stemming from unresolved family pain. My father lost his father at a young age and was a captain in the U.S. Navy during World War II. My mother—a native of Vienna and a teenager at the time—was torn from life as she knew it when her family escaped to the United States just days before Hitler annexed Austria. They each have unresolved family trauma that goes back in history for generations.
When my first daughter was born, many challenging emotions began to surface for me, and I was reminded again of the above quotation by Henry David Thoreau. I was very sad that it was true for so many people, including my own family. Somehow I just knew that there had to be a better way! I made a promise to myself that I would not live my life out of quiet desperation nor would I pass that way of life on to my children if I could possibly help it.
This was the beginning of my personal journey in therapy, and it was absolutely life changing. I became so excited about what I was learning that I couldn’t get enough. I asked my therapist for homework assignments and books to read, and I soaked them up like a sponge. I wanted to be in my therapist’s chair, and I wanted to know everything he knew and more.
Education and Experience as a Therapist and Counselor
Eventually, I decided to return to school to finish the Bachelor’s degree I had begun at UCLA many years earlier as a prerequisite to the path toward becoming a therapist. Eight years later, in 2000, I became a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. I earned my Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy in 1997 from Phillips Graduate Institute (formerly California Family Study Center) in Encino, California. An abstract of my Master’s thesis, “The Determining Factors in Successfully Treating Anorexia Nervosa in Young Women,” was selected for publication in Phillips’ 1998 Progress Journal. Both Progress and a copy of the thesis in its entirety are available in the Phillips Graduate Institute Library.
A 3-year internship at the Maple Counseling Center in Beverly Hills provided me with some of the highest quality training and professional therapy experience available in southern California. I worked at the center with individuals of all ages on a variety of issues. I also made weekly visits to Beverly Hills High School and Moreno High School, where I offered students personal guidance counseling on relationships, eating disorders, and stress reduction.
As a therapist intern, I co-facilitated a parents’ support group for Parents Anonymous in Canoga Park for 2 years. I also did therapy with individual adults, couples, and teens whose lives had been impacted by trauma at the Trauma Recovery Center in Westlake Village.
Following licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist, I started a private practice. In addition, I spent close to a year serving as staff therapist at a Partial Hospitalization Program and Intensive Outpatient Program in Pasadena for adults and adolescents recovering from eating disorders. I ran counseling groups, and did therapy with individuals and their families on their road to recovery from anorexia, bulimia or compulsive overeating.
Advanced Training in Therapy
During my own relationship counseling, which included a phenomenal experience of healing childhood trauma using Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR), I became highly motivated to acquire advanced training in the use of EMDR, as well as other cutting-edge methods known to be effective in therapy. I began my EMDR therapy training in 2001, and became a Certified EMDR Therapist in 2004. I have continued to acquire advanced training in other somatic (body-based) therapies, and have integrated these in my work with EMDR. For more information, please see my page on EMDR.
The results from using these methods of therapy, both for myself and for my clients, have been extraordinary. They have been a huge part of what keeps my passion and enthusiasm for doing therapy alive and growing all the time. Again and again, I am amazed at the dramatic changes that take place in the lives of my clients during the therapy process. For me, nothing could be more meaningful and fulfilling. I look forward to going to work every day, and I am excited about helping people transform their lives.
If you have suffered enough and would like to stop the pain now, please call my voicemail 805-375-5860 to schedule a no-charge 15-minute telephone consultation. Let me know the best times to call you back to discuss the problems you are experiencing, as well as how we can work together to resolve them.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Linda K. Laffey, Marriage and Family Therapist
Lic# MFC 37134