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Holly Daniels, MFT – Psychotherapy

Individual and Group Psychotherapy

Hello and welcome. Whether you are struggling with an in-the-moment crisis or have been feeling not-quite-yourself for a while now, I’m glad you are doing some research to find someone to talk with who can help you find the happiness and peace that you deserve in your life.

I provide individual and group psychotherapy for those struggling with eating disorders, relationship strife, addictions, compulsive behaviors, and other mental health issues including depression, anxiety, trauma related symptoms and creative block. Coming from a solid psychodynamic background, I use a blend of modalities including narrative and solution focused techniques and DBT skills training. I also teach meditation and mindfulness skills for present-moment anxiety reduction and mood stabilization.

If you’re interested in talking with me, please give me a call at (323) 428-5009 and we can set up a free consultation via phone. If we are not the right fit for one another, I will do my best to help you find the therapist who is right for you.

Wishing you peace of mind and joy in your heart always,

Holly Daniels, MFT

You Are Not Crazy

Holly Daniels, MFT, psychotherapist and meditation teacher, explains the concept of Negative Bias and why our brains are wired to look for what is going wrong. She also outlines strategies to diminish the effects of Negative Bias and discusses the importance of practicing positive emotions.

A Blessing for All This Holiday Season

This is a Buddhist Metta chant which is often repeated at the end of a session of meditation.  I find it to be calming and joy-producing.  I invite you to say this once in the morning as you wake, once in the middle of the day and once again at night.

May all beings be happy
May all beings be at peace
May all beings be free from suffering
May all beings awaken to the light of their true nature

Wishing peace, joy, love, laughter and light for all at this holiday time and always!!

xo Holly

True Recovery Requires Holistic Transformation

I’ve decided to re-post this amazing article from MindBodyGreen about Yoga & Recovery that a friend of mine sent me recently.  Enjoy!!  (and look for a new blog soon regarding the differences between concentration and insight meditation).  Blessings and peace to all!!

Why Are We Laughing at Charlie Sheen?

I’m a little shocked to watch the world continue to gawk and laugh at Charlie Sheen.  I’m all for laughter and I value a keen sense of humor, but I’m perplexed that people find it so easy to mock and giggle at Sheen’s behavior.  I’m curious as to why so many find it so easy to so publicly point at him and say “Man, he’s crazy!”  Would these same folks gawk at a man with no hair, eyebrows or eyelashes, who recently underwent a few rounds of chemotherapy, and laugh and shake their heads, loudly proclaiming, “Man, does that man have a wild case of cancer or what?!”

Sheen is ill.  Obviously so.  He’s having a manic psychotic break in front of the whole world.  Why is it so easy for us as a culture to sensationalize and sneer at such profound illness?  As a mental health professional, I stand in awe at our ability to blame people for their own mental incapacities in ways we would never blame them for having, say, leukemia.  That said, I do understand the psychology behind the laughter.  Because mental illness affects our very human-ness, our very presentation of our Self, it scares us to our very core.  We want to be able to blame the mentally ill for their erratic behavior, because we simply cannot bear to watch someone’s Selfhood, someone’s very consciousness, be so compromised.

To try to get a handle on mental illness, among other interests, consciousness scientists are working hard to try to figure out what exactly makes up our mental processes, our consciousness.  Researchers scan the brain waves of Buddhist monks and use the precepts of complex systems theory (a cousin to quantum physics and particle/wave theories) to try to piece together a model of consciousness.  But the truth is we can’t really define what it means to be humanly conscious–to think and talk and both process and propagate information and emotion.  The human psyche is a mysterious thing, and yet this mysterious thing defines each and every one of us.  When we see something going wrong with someone’s consciousness, someone’s psyche, it scares the heck out of us because we can imagine our very own complex consciousness system, our definition of who we are, being compromised.  We worry at a deep, unconscious survivor-level, that the same thing could happen to us.  And so we do what humans have done throughout the centuries in extremely uncomfortable situations–we laugh and make jokes.

I’ve heard people blame Sheen’s drug use as the sole reason for his breakdown.  That would be an easy explanation, wouldn’t it?  But we have to remember that although Sheen’s drug use did not help his current situation, his drug use is both a symptom and a cause of his bipolar behavior.  People who suffer from serious mental illness use drugs to self-medicate, usually from an early age.  The drugs’ chemicals then mix with already off-balance brain chemistry to sometimes lessen the symptoms and sometimes exacerbate them.  But drugs are very rarely the pure cause for psychosis.

Sheen is sick.  His symptoms are very easy to see and, although his behavior is very interesting to watch, I wonder if we can watch with compassion and understanding instead of vitriol and jeer.  Yes, the same kind of thing could happen to us and no, scientists haven’t figured out exactly how to fix these kinds of illnesses.  But maybe, just maybe, we can find a way to tolerate our fear and uncomfortableness, find love for a sick man, and hope that he finds a way toward health before hurting himself or someone else.

Auditioning and Pitching from a Place of Strength

It’s human nature to want validation and attention. We are communal beings who know at a biological level that we are safer in packs than flying solo. We want to be part of a group because in the group we know we’re protected.

Our need for communal support is not only biological but psychological. Existentially speaking, we keep people around us because we don’t want to face the reality of being alone: alone in our heads, alone in our hearts, alone in our bodies. We want to deny the truth of our alone-ness because alone-ness can feel scary and sad.

As creative professionals, this need to be needed can seriously get in the way of professional progress. When you enter an audition or a pitch meeting from a needy emotional place, you are so much more vulnerable to rejection and so much more likely to be rejected! Casting directors and executives don’t want to feel the extra burden of your neediness, they just want to see your work. They want to need you, not the other way around. As we all know, desperation isn’t sexy.

So, if you are biologically and existentially primed to be needy, and you work in an environment in which jobs are few and far between, how do you find the emotional presence to enter an audition or a pitch meeting from a confident, take-me-or-leave-me stance? Here are a few tips.

  • 1. Build and maintain your support network outside of work. Take care of your friendships and value your family members. Find a supportive person to talk to, someone who always has your back, whether it’s a best friend, a sibling, a therapist, a clergyman, a coach, a trainer. Check in with your support people before auditioning or pitching. Know that no matter what happens in your meeting, you will still have support and you will not be abandoned.
  • 2. Always have something else going on. A casting director friend of mine says she tells actors “Never come into an audition with $0.00 in your bank account.” Don’t put yourself in an automatically needy situation. Wait tables, cater, sell jewelry, hock Tupperware, tutor or find some way to bring in some cash until that network all-over deal comes along. Know that no matter what happens in your meeting, you will still be able to pay your rent.
  • 3. Fix your internal broken parts. Many of us have an extra-sensitivity to abandonment and rejection because of childhood wounds or traumatic life circumstances. No, these issues will not resolve themselves. I’m not kidding. Take the bull by the horns and find someone to help you resolve your emotional and mental wounds. If you don’t, no amount of smiles and repeated mantras will mask the desperation underneath.

As a final note, don’t beat yourself up for feeling needy. Know that some amount of neediness will always be present in everyone—it’s human nature. But use these tips to keep your neediness in check, and you will navigate the rejection-rich ocean of creative life with a much stronger boat.