Steve is a Registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist who graduated from the Counseling Psychology program at CSU Bakersfield. He also holds a B.A. in Psychology from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington. He has experience providing therapy and counseling to couples/individuals/groups in the larger community of Bakersfield as well as an inmate population.
"DBT" for Helping Couples
He has been trained in using Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) to teach couples how to navigate life’s challenges with a more skillful approach. DBT teaches practical skills to help people live with greater mindfulness of their emotional life and a non-judgmental approach to their relationships. Some of the elements of this approach include:
Using the "Wise Mind" in your relationship
Learn skills to effectively manage negative emotions
“Reconditioning” a difficult situation so it triggers more effective emotional responses and intensity
Using Mindfulness to transform communication
Steve brings his personal experience as a husband of 22 years and a father raising four sons in a blended family. His experienced of being divorced, remarried, and having both biological and step children all provide him with a deep reservoir of wisdom that he can offer to you and your family. By his own experience, he knows that developing successful relationships requires a willingness to invest a great deal of time and effort. He will help you make sure that these investments will be made wisely.
Couples raising children in a blended family face unique challenges. This necessitates the development of relationship skills operating at a much higher level than required in the typical relationship. You will benefit from Steve's therapeutic training and from the very personal lessons his wife and he learned when blending his family. He will work together with you on a variety of issues such as establishing best practices for your child(ren)’s visitation with their other parent, helping to nurture children who are not yours by birth, and resolving conflict in the new family you’re creating together. When you are struggling the most, Steve will help you find hope.
Working together in a collaborative model, Steve will empower you to support each other. You can learn to navigate your rough spots using improved communication and conflict resolution skills. He will also help you work on practical goals like developing a vision for your successful blended family and finding ways to strengthen the marital relationship so you can create a strong foundation for your children’s well-being.
Anger can be a toxic force that slowly builds in a relationship and ultimately interferes with the growth of intimacy. For couples, learning to manage anger will help you grow in ways that feel nurturing and address the underlying hurt or pain that is driving the anger in the first place. Steve will bring his extensive experience teaching anger management to prisoners into his work with your relationship.
Steve will teach you to use mindfulness skills to identify your anger triggers. As a couple, you can help each other create a personal “Anger Meter” as a visual aid that helps you monitor your anger. Together, you will learn how to use a “time out” to give each other some space to regulate your emotions so you can eventually reconnect. Couples must remember that anger is an emotion that we all experience. You will use the skills you learn in therapy to understand the message behind the anger and allow that message to provide greater understanding and intimacy with your partner.
Steve believes that a neurodivergent partner brings strengths to a couple’s relationship including attributes like strong values, honesty, loyalty, and intelligence. In therapy, both the neurodivergent and neurotypical partner will find a safe, non-judgmental space in which they can each talk about their own needs. The two of you will learn to make sense of the each other’s behaviors.
In our work together, Steve will provide you a structured environment and provide tools and exercises to bridge the communication gap that divides you. Practical exercises, such as creating a relationship schedule, will insure that both partners have the freedom for time apart and the security of time together. Steve will offer you a compassionate place to practice engaging with each other and learn to understand your partner through a new lens.
My faith in God has been the driving force that has carried me through the challenges of my life. I believe that faith in a Being greater than oneself can give us the strength we need to overcome life’s obstacles. I have worked with individuals from different faiths including Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Sikhism. I respect the rights of all individuals to choose their own path for growth. In my own life, I have experienced the power of faith to propel growth in ways that transform my relationship with my wife. With the invitation of my clients, I will use faith as a vehicle to drive growth that changes their lives.
As human beings, we are vulnerable to the power of loss to shape our experiences. In his own life, Steve has personal experience with the loss one experiences in divorce. Steve benefited tremendously from couples therapy as it provided a safe space in which to process the painful emotions felt by all involved. He also learned to build a new productive non-marital partnership with his former wife as they co-parented their son. When couples “uncouple”, therapy can help them grow into a powerful parental team.
Furthermore, the loss of a loved one through death can place an ominous cloud over a couple’s relationship, especially if the couple does not have a roadmap of how to grieve with each other. In therapy, Steve will help you recognize the tendency to avoid the pain and, instead, learn to comfort each other in ways that honor the memories of the lost loved one.
Areas of Focus
Blended Family Issues
Separation and Divorce
Forgiveness and Self-Forgiveness
Working Through Anxiety
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Dialectical Behavior Therapy