April L'Heureux, LMFT

My hope is to give you an experience of yourself in our sessions, that is different from your experience the rest of the time. You will be able to internalize the experience of peace, safety, courage and confidence so that you can carry it into your life outside of our time together.

My desire for every person who comes into my office is to help you come to the point where guilt, shame and anxiety are no longer the controlling factors in your life and are replaced by courage, love and trust. When you are firmly rooted in love and compassion for yourself, you are capable of facing and achieving more than you can even imagine.

Many people express a sense of knowing what they want to do but not feeling capable of carrying it out. This is often a result of unconscious anxiety and defenses, which create a barrier between what we know intellectually and what we feel experientially. My primary theoretical orientation is a research-based, Emotionally Focused Therapy, with emphasis of study and practice on ADEP-Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy-a continuation of CBT.

Based on early experiences in life, we often learn that certain emotions are “bad” or “off-limits.” When these taboo feelings are activated, they may trigger conscious and unconscious anxiety, causing us to become disconnected and split off from parts of ourselves. Using Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT) we can monitor and regulate anxiety, in order to gain greater access to our true selves and the healing properties of being deeply, authentically connected.

The focus of EFT is bridging the disconnect between the intellect and intuition through the deep experiencing of long-suppressed emotions such as anger, joy and grief. Using these principles we can together identify and break down unconscious defenses and anxiety, allowing you to become free of the harmful, self-protective strategies that cause feelings of isolation, numbness or confusion and contribute to the development of unhealthy relationships that fail to meet your true needs.

This powerful approach can restore your capacity to experience joy and intimacy in relationships and can transform a sense of helplessness into a state of strength, mastery and vitality.

THERAPY SPECIALIZATIONS:

  • Anxiety, Panic Disorder, OCD
  • Depression and Mood Disorders
  • Couples Therapy
  • Codependency
  • Mindfulness and Mindfulness Cognitive Therapy
  • LGBTQ Issues
  • Abuse and Trauma
  • Grief, Loss, Bereavement

TECHNIQUES:

  • Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Psychodynamic Therapy
  • Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT)

CBT LOOKS AT HOW YOUR THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS AFFECT THE WAY YOU SEE YOURSELF IN THE WORLD. PSYCHODYNAMIC WORK LOOKS AT YOUR PAST AND HOW IT SHAPES YOUR PRESENT, HOW YOUR EARLY RELATIONSHIPS AND EXPERIENCES CAN CONTRIBUTE TO THE WAY YOU SEE THE WORLD AND THE WAY THAT YOU PROCESS FEELINGS. EXPERIENTIAL (EFT) WORK LOOKS AT THE HERE AND NOW WITHIN THE SESSIONS, IT LOOKS AT WHAT YOU ARE FEELING IN THE MOMENT AND WE DIG DOWN TO SEE WHAT IS THERE, WHAT MAY BE EMERGING FROM STUFF THAT IS UNRESLOVED FROM THE PAST.

HOW I WORK:

I take a very active role as a therapist. I actively monitor and regulate anxiety within the session so that we are not reinforcing in our sessions the very patterns you wish to break. I will also point out unconscious defenses that are arising within the session.

By regulating anxiety and relating to one another without defenses, we can develop an authentic connection and your true healing can begin. I want to help you become free from the feeling that your love for yourself is contingent upon your success, performance, perfection or external circumstances. I want to help you come to a place in which the real, uncensored, struggling, hurt you is loved exactly as you are. Paradoxically, when we accept ourselves as we are, that is when true transformation begins.

Our work together will bring you out of your head and into your heart—that is into your intuition. Our intuition is like a compass that guides us and helps us navigate the waters of our lives. When we take a strictly rational approach to the world it cuts us off from this invaluable navigational tool.

The deductive approach to life is almost universal in our culture, but it ignores a huge chunk of rich human experience—arguably, some of the most important aspects of life.

The worst part is that this form of thinking is so commonplace that it is invisible to most of us. We don’t see the perils in our system of thinking so we assume it must be that we are broken or there is something wrong with us.

Together we will begin to learn to regulate anxiety through bringing awareness to the body and breath as well as through thoughts and feelings. We will begin to release the blockages that have been preventing you from feeling present, connected and alive.

Through a mindfulness-based approach to therapy we will begin to gradually draw you into a different kind of existence, a way of being in which you are more present and aware of your experience, rather than addicted to your thoughts, attachments and illusory sense of control. As the former system melts away, you will begin to embody a more authentic, alive and peaceful self.

In addition to my 20+ years of clinical work, I enjoy creative writing, dance classes, singing, the beach and playing the Cello. I am fascinated by neuroscience and theoretical physics and like exploring philosophical, spiritual and metaphysical questions. I am drawn to learning about other cultures and speak French. I have taught school at the elementary level before graduate school, and lectured at Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles. I performed in two Operas and sang with the Los Angeles Master Chorale.

I attended University of Texas, Antioch College and Phillips Graduate University.

CONTACT US at (858) 259-0599 for an appointment.

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