Therapy Services

Welcome to “”
(Alcohol Counseling Seattle, Bellevue, also offering individual psychotherapy and couples counseling.)

Something is bothering you, or you would not be on this webpage. Could be your own drinking/drugging or someone else’s. Could be anxiety, depression, anger, panic, even despair. And it could be your relationship, not to mention the stubborn reluctance of your mate to see things your way.

What do all of these “bothers” have in common?

One thing: they are all different from how you want them to be. Whether it is your own drinking/drugging or someone else’s, your emotional pain or someone else’s, or your relationship. You are f-r-u-s-t-a-t-e-d. You have tried everything you know to “deal with” your frustration. And you have reached a point of hoping some guy with a degree and a website might have ways for you to get relief from this frustration.

So it might be useful for you to know how I understand and deal with frustration before you even think about going further. Here goes.

A frustration is the gap between what you want and what you have right this moment.

There are only two healthy, (wise, effective,rational, realistic) ways to get rid of that gap. One, you use the energy of your wanting to do some “footwork” – you change things to get what you want. But there is a “necessary condition” for that to be possible. Control. If you do not have control, no amount of footwork will get you what you want. Not only that, your frustration will continue to wear you down until you face this lack of control and embrace the second alternative. To stop wanting what you cannot have because you cannot have it. Not because it is “good,” “right” or “fair.” Only because there is nothing you can do to make it the way you want. This is called “acceptance.”

The first thing that makes acceptance so hard is a deficit in the hard-wiring of the human brain. Mother Nature neglected to install an “OFF” switch for desire. Just because I cannot have something, does not make my desire go away. The second major obstacle to acceptance is the word “should.” When we believe reality “should” or “should not” be as it is, we have declared war on life – we are emotionally unable to accept. Not without changing our belief system. The third big obstacle is the myth that “acceptance” means “quitting” and/or “doing nothing.” Acceptance means basing my reactions, decisions and actions on reality. You cannot act effectively on a problem you do not accept having. And there are other obstacles to acceptance, most of them arising from whatever my frustration means to me. As for changing things, using the control we do have, that is often blocked by fear, guilt, inadequacy, shame, and/or unworthiness. Dealing with the barriers to acceptance and change is the work of psychotherapy and all forms of personal growth.

So, whatever frustration brings you to my office, what we do together is try to identify what it is you want, what parts of it you do or do not control, and ways to help you change the first part and accept the second. It is not as simple as it sounds and it is seldom easy. If it were, you would already have done it.

So my webpage addresses three kinds of frustration with three different forms of clinical practice. A page for those of you frustrated with your own drinking/drugging or someone else’s – click on “Relapse Groups.” Another for those of you frustrated by your own emotional states and/or self-defeating behavior – click on “Psychotherapy.” And one for those of you who are frustrated with your mate and how the two of you interact – click on “Couples”.