“When the work indicates:  collaborating with nutritionists, physical therapists, psychiatrists, adjunct psychologists, medical doctors, and lawyers or mediation experts  may be required.  Such collaboration ensures the clients we see make the changes they desire more quickly – and all of us tend to enjoy the therapeutic process more as a result!  While some clients are interested in long-term ‘deep work’, others choose therapy or counseling for support and guidance through a specific difficult experience, life-transition, or decision-making process.”

Michael Nee Same Sex Marriage Counselor Venice
West LA Depression Therapist Michael Nee
Michael Nee Family Counseling Marina Del Rey
Michael Nee Grief Therapy Los Angeles

We all experience anxiety from time to time.  Some of us may even experience the occasional moment of panic due to a current or impending event.  These experiences may be quite normal.  But when anxiety or panic begins to interfere with social obligations, previously enjoyable social plans, or day-to-day living in general; we’re here to help.

Clients often indicate that anxiety robs them of either joyful or more traumatic emotional experiences, leaving them with nothing more than increasing levels of anxiety over time.  While every individual is different, anxiety tends to follow a set of rules which allow clinicians to determine how problems capture our minds, take us out of the present moment, with consistent disorienting results.  We’ll gladly map the problems tied to anxiety to figure out the alternative options to better navigate life.

Moods within this disorder category may be mainly manic or depressive, cycling rapidly (4+ cycles per year) or more slowly.  The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates that bipolar disorder effects roughly 3% of the population, impacting men and women in mostly equal numbers.

If typical mood variations between high and low were not difficult enough, bipolarity can swing moods to hypomanic and manic states well outside the range of ‘normal’.  While high’s may feel awesome, the inverse is devastating, and both high’s and low’s can be dangerous, if not deadly.

Whereas unipolar depression may mean a person contends solely with major depressive episodes, bipolar is distinguished by both ‘poles’ ensuring moods go up or down in drastic, confusing, and often disorienting ways.  Because both mania and depression may disrupt sleep patterns, impact weight, cause irritation, and loss of capability to focus or concentrate, medication is typically the first round of defense, even if merely cyclothymic (never fully hypomanic mood or major depressive mood).

Our clients contending with a bipolar diagnosis may be individuals, but typically come to us with relational issues taking place within a couple.

Whether life-long allergies, asthma or eczema; diabetes, stroke, COPD, or cancer; hepatitis C, HIV / AIDS,  HPV, or other medical issues; the results are that more and more people contend with health challenges that may be kept in check but are lifelong.

Whether a person contends with a new diagnosis, a new phase of the disease, or simply wants a safe space to reflect, appreciate life, and make good decisions, a few sessions or a series of sessions may be of long-lasting support.

As Marriage Family Therapists, our expertise is relationships. We see many long-term couples in relationships of various types, from traditionally western or “nuclear,” to more modern.

While marriage may be defined as “the legally or formally recognized union of two people as partners in a personal relationship (historically and in some jurisdictions specifically a union between a man and a woman)” [Merriam Webster], we are equally comfortable with a much broader definition.  With people waiting longer to officially ‘tie the knot’, long-term committed relationships may or may not mean traditional marriage.  (https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/02/13/8-facts-about-love-and-marriage/)

We understand these commitments.   What works for one couple (or throuple) does not necessarily work for another couple. Yet, we find that whether heterosexual or LGBTQI; monogamous or open; polyamorous or otherwise that  honesty, trust, mutual acceptance are key to long-lasting relationships.

According to national statistics, 36% of the general population may currently experience a depressive episode; that is over one-third of the adult population.  Digital platforms to support social connectivity and pleasurable escapism seem to create as many issues as they were intended to alleviate.

Our approach aligns with the concept that if no other way for our desires to be expressed, such desires will be expressed through what we label as ‘symptom’.  A general physician (GP), nutritionist, psychiatrist, or physical trainer may be an integral part of the plan to mitigate issues associated with a depressive episode – and keep depression away.

Like marriage, family is in our licensure.  Working with families as a holistic system avoids undue stress or pressure on a single member of a family unit. Change may be faster and easier when the entire family’s considerations and voices are heard in real time.  This approach also avoids the designation of one particular person as ‘problematic’ or ‘the patient’.

We hold dear the values of Virginia Satir, Carl Rogers, and Michael White as hallmarks to familial systemic approaches that work.  Our focus is to ensure each individual’s needs are met, alongside the group’s flexibility for long-term health.

Loss of those we care about in life can be both depressing and disorienting in totally unexpected ways. Whether foreseen or abrupt, loss may be felt so deeply that a person is left distraught, unable to contend with day-to-day demands, confused about how what was meaningful and satisfying about life can be so changed beyond compare.  Complications to bereavement only add to sadness and confusion; our once socially fulfilling life may become isolating, alienating and increasingly private or alone.  Areas of life we think could be – or once thought would be – untouched by death may be increasingly distressed by its effects.

Recognizing how uncomplicated grief may be compounded by persistent or major depressive episodes is a critical determination.  For it is not only how but why we live and love that is incredibly important.  Victor Frankl once wrote, “(e)motion, which is suffering, ceases to be suffering as soon as we form a clear and precise picture of it.”  Therapy may enable a clearer picture to come into focus more quickly so real healing may begin.

Whether short-term solution-focused work, or longer-term goals for how therapy may support improved quality of life, our clients’ personal values ensure a solid, practical path forward.  While many individuals seek support through a difficult decision-making process, others seek changes to life-long problematic emotional and behavioral patterns.

The focus of therapy typically includes the improvement of their spousal, partner, familial, and/or professional relationships. For many clients, their own identity, experience, self-concept is part of this process.  Our goal is to be collaborative and curious on behalf of goal-oriented change.

Whether experiences during high school, college, career changes, a recent or an impending move, a relationship break-up or divorce mid-life crises or retirement: fife-transitions do not always go according to expectations or plans.

Even when results are gratifying, many of us struggle with mixed emotions or contrary thoughts and urges.  We may even feel overwhelmed, isolated, or fearful.  Speaking with a neutral professional with years of experience, theoretical and philosophical training, and professional schooling provides useful, practical support to avoid unnecessary emotional and mental distress.

Our experience indicates that repeated traumatic experiences during child developmental stages may result in layered defense mechanisms to avoid present-day threats, actual or perceived.  These defense mechanisms involve long-term patterns of thoughts and behaviors that are characterized as unhealthy and inflexible. Struggles with everyday life stressors and problems include behaviors that cause serious problems with both relationships and work.

All human beings exhibit particular traits of these types of disorders at one time or another.  However, the spectrum of traits and behaviors on display for people diagnosed with personality disorders are more severe and more frequent.

CBT and now DBT are evidence-based practices that work well for personality disorders.  The clients we see may be concurrently enrolled with either modality when they meet with us.  As adjunctive therapy to process concurrent or recently ended individual or group DBT treatment, positive results through rigorous acceptance and responsibility for present-day choices are paramount.  Also essential arel:  empathy, patience, and resiliency for client and therapist alike.

Masculinity and ‘what it means to be a man’ in our current era seem to be expanding beyond traditionally narrow boundaries.  Anger, stress and anxiety are often symptoms of such narrow guidelines for self-expression, whether single, a husband, or a family-man.  Sexual issues related to objectification, body-image, intimacy, as well as virility as we age, including erectile dysfunction, are also common concerns with few options for safe discussion.  We can help.

Men with histories of sexual abuse or trauma, physical abuse, domestic violence, addictive behaviors (including alcohol and drugs, behaviors associated with adrenaline or dopamine); sexual orientation or gender identity questions, depression in the form of somatic complaints or lack of drive often require men to seek support.  Sessions help to ensure health, safety, and satisfaction despite challenges unique to the male experience.

We may even be able to help a guy avoid related major mid-life crises.

Sex and sexuality are perfectly natural.  It just so happens that they are often sublimated, mediated, augmented and subjugated by cultural, political, social and religious norms. Technological advancements can contribute to potentially unrelenting dissatisfaction.  Making time for open dialogue respects this vital aspect of our human experience.

Whether anxiety about sex, uncertainty about sexual orientation, or conflicted about sexual desire, people can feel isolated and unable to talk with anyone about questions and concerns related to sex and sexuality.  Impotence, lack of drive, or a seemingly out of control sexual drive, sex may seem too dangerous to discuss with family, friends, or clergy.  Shame, guilt, or moral dilemmas can silence discussion of sexual reproduction or the pleasures associated with masturbation and our sexual fantasies, even with supportive friends or romantic partners.  To make matters worse, medical or clinical professionals – with our biological and emotional health in mind – may shy away from the topics of sex and sexuality unless comfortable themselves with a wide range of options, information, knowledge and experience.