a.k.a. "The Talky Bit"
Welcome! I am pleased to meet you. Feel free to call me Paul or Mr. White, either one is perfectly acceptable. I am a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) based in Sant Monica, California. Throughout my five years as a mental health professional, I have worked in a variety of positions with all levels of mental health disorders. Some of the work was volunteer and others were paid position; however, I have never felt like I worked a day of them. I have truly found my calling and I am wholly grateful when I wake up each knowing that I get to do this for a living.
Here is a summarization of what you will find below:
Suicide Prevention Teen Hotline (2 years)
Military (4 years)
Group home for boys with psychiatric disorders (3 years)
Middle School English teacher (5 years)
Non-profit mental health agency (3.5 years)
Doctoral student Mind-Body Medicine/Integrative Mental Health (nearing completion)
private practice (2 years)
If you would like to dive a little deeper, you are welcome to continue reading!
Firstly, I would like to make two honorable mentions…After months of specialized training, I spent two years in high school as a volunteer for a teen suicide prevention hotline; this is where I got my first taste of mental health and it set the stage for what laid ahead. I went on hiatus for about five years from mental health as school ended and my career in the military began. Afterward, I worked in a group home for boys with psychiatric disorders and those three years were some of the most challenging yet rewarding of my life.
Prior to my work beginning as a psychotherapist, I had been a middle school English teacher. This was one of the most rewarding careers of my life, as I got to interact and impact the lives of adolescents daily. It was a challenge maintaining the demand of the curriculum while paying heed to the needs of the individual students in my charge. Often, I found myself pseudo-counseling the teens. I learned that too many of their basic needs were not being met at home because their parents were either incapable or uninterested in parenting. That is why I felt it a natural step into a career as a mental health professional.
Five years ago, it was Brandman University who was responsible for jettisoning me directly into the field of psychotherapy. I took on a role within a non-profit community mental health agency where I did some of the most important work of my entire life. I was afforded the opportunity to work with individuals, couples, and families from all walks of life. Many of these people were simply trying to find their way through mental health disorders ranging from mild to moderate in severity. I helped them identify their goals for brief therapy (10-15 sessions) and effectively reach tangible results.
With this non-profit, I was contracted to travel throughout the county visiting pubic schools to provide training for staff and on-site therapy for students (aged 7-18 years old). I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the school bearing witness to each child’s breakthrough moments. It reminded me of my time in school where I had a special relationship with school counselors. I wanted to do the same for the kids while I was there.
Two high school placements were particularly moving for me. I spent half a year leading groups on anger management for teens at a military-style academy. Each group consisted of 10-12 girls attempting to grapple with sudden changes in their families and manage to explosive anger which arose from that.
For 18 months, I was placed at a tech-centered magnet high school. There I had my own little office where I would bring in the students and provide them with a safe and comfortable place to explore their concerns. During my tenor there, I developed therapeutic groups for the teens which included LGBT+, anger management, anxiety, and social skills.
After leaving the non-profit, I worked for a local college as a mental health counselor and presenter for psychoeducation with the students and staff. I was, also, a volunteer with a regional organization providing counseling and social services for members of the LGBT+ community.
Mind and Body Integration
Understanding the connection between mind and body and using that information to influence health is very important to me. I have been informally studying various aspects of mind and body health from the time I began practicing Tai Chi and Qigong years ago. My study became formal once I stepped into the Ph.D. program for Mind-Body Medicine through Saybrook University over two years ago; it is there where I am learning how to use the connection as a means to support mental and physical health.
My approach is based on my study of mind-body medicine, integrative mental health, and wellness at the doctoral level. I facilitate deep exploration, healing, and transformation while teaching gentle yet powerful grounding techniques in a casual, relaxed atmosphere where you are honored and respected for simply being you.
I specialize in integrative mind-body psychotherapy, hypnosis, mindfulness meditation, somatic psychology, qigong, and therapy for adolescents and young adults struggling with grief, trauma, anxiety, depression, relationship challenges, academic & career issues, mood swings, anger, and psychospiritual/existential crisis. My approach is grounded in respect and inspires the desire for change.