Marriage and Family Associate, MFT-LP
Frances is an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in working with adults, couples, and families. Frances obtained her Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology at Pepperdine University. She works to collaborate with her clients and believes that no two clients are alike; believing therapy should be catered to the individual instead of a "one size fits all" mentality. Frances works to empower her clients by helping them heal both mind and body and learn the skills to achieve their goals.
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"I believe the therapeutic relationship can be extremely healing, and although our work is clinical, it will also be filled with warmth and humor."
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
As a child, I had terrible anxiety. I remember fainting as I walked through the doctor’s office, feeling dizzy arriving at school, and constantly asking my mother “will [fill in the blank] kill me?” It felt endless. And, like many others who suffer from anxiety, I was too nervous to attend therapy. Speak to someone about these intrusive thoughts? No way! But, when my brother returned from his deployment in Afghanistan, I watched as his own mental health took a turn for the worse. In hopes of finding him help, I sought out a therapist. And, in the midst of reiterating the symptoms my brother was suffering from, the therapist asked me “how are YOU feeling throughout all of this?” It was the first time I paused. “I’m terrified.” I never thought my own symptoms were worth exploring, but suddenly I realized that in order to support my brother, I would first need to learn to support myself. Since that moment, I’ve been determined to help others find a greater understanding of themselves and explore the stories and insight that their symptoms may be telling them. Since attending my master’s program in clinical psychology, I have worked with those suffering from alcohol, drug, and gambling addictions, complex trauma, anxiety, depression, and couple/family issues. I have discovered that my time as a client has informed my work as a clinician directly, and my hope is to help my clients in their journey to discover their true realized selves.
What should someone know about working with you?
At the beginning of treatment, I will work with you on becoming comfortable in our sessions and understanding the concerns that bring you into therapy. I integrate an attachment-focused perspective into my work, so I will often explore early childhood experiences and relationships, as well as patterns in past interpersonal or romantic relationships. We will discuss both your mental health history as well as any history of physical ailments, as I believe that both our bodies and minds can hold onto trauma, anxiety, and various other symptoms. I find that many clients struggle with chronic illness and pain, which is rooted in experiences that they have yet to fully understand. Sessions may look and feel different each time as I adapt my approach to your current state of being and concerns. I believe the therapeutic relationship can be extremely healing, and although our work is clinical, it will also be filled with warmth and humor. As we begin to explore the underlying roots of your symptoms, I look for feedback from my clients to better understand the tools that are working for them as well as those that are not.
How do your own core values shape your approach to therapy?
I do not believe in a one size fits all mentality, which leads me to take a holistic approach with all my clients. Each session in uniquely for you and your needs. Instead of working under one theoretical orientation, I modify my approach to integrate tools from various theories in order to best create a therapeutic environment that is safe, constructive, and encourages growth. I also believe in the utilization of humor. In my own experience as a client, the main difference I found with therapists that helped me feel comfortable was their own implementation of humor. Therapy is hard, yes, but it is also rewarding. There are moments in healing where laughter is truly the best medicine. And, overall, I want my clients to know I too am human. My core value as a therapist is allowing my clients to know that this therapeutic relationship is powerful for both client and therapist. I will not lecture you or be condescending. Ultimately, you have many of the answers to your own questions, and I am only there to guide you.
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
I believe that all clinicians should continue expanding and building upon their skills throughout their careers. As a therapist, it is essential that I engage in conversations with others in my field regarding the most up-to-date information and effective interventions. I view curiosity as one of the greatest assets a therapist can have, and in order to foster my own curiosity, I am a member of various psychological communities, such as the American Psychological Association. I am also currently in the process of becoming fully Gottman certified through the Gottman Institute in order to better my work with couples and implement techniques that are based in years of peer supervision.
"My core value as a therapist is allowing my clients to know that this therapeutic relationship is powerful for both client and therapist."