Gail Gabriel, MFT
  Marriage and Family Therapist  

Challenges and Problems

The problems we encounter throughout our lives contain the seeds of future growth. When we explore our difficulties in depth, it is within them that we find the key to potential solutions. Most often, our problems contain some element of our participation as well as an invitation to grow personally.  In the various modalities of therapeutic process, Gail will help you discover the possibilities for empowered change while working through the difficulties you encounter.

  1. Relationship Issues
  2. Parenting Concerns
  3. Teen Challenges
  4. Depression
  5. Post Traumatic Stress
  6. Anxiety, Anger and Phobias
  7. School or Occupational Issues
  8. Stress Management
  9. Starting Over

Whether brief or more encompassing, exploring our problems with a professional therapist facilitates a resolution that respects the people involved, strengthens our connections to each other, and promotes healthy interpersonal relationships.

Relationship Issues

Relationships are the basic foundations of human interaction. We simply cannot survive without engaging in relationships. Whether in the family, community, work place or school setting, healthy relationships promote physical and emotional well being, develop empathy and understanding, and facilitate learning. That all-important sense of belonging softens the impact of life’s challenges. When our relationships thrive, we thrive and grow. When relationships are stuck in rigid, unsupportive, or even dangerous patterns, we are in trouble. It is then that we cannot see how to untangle the chaos and make sense of the dialogues and feelings exploding between us. Relationship therapy can help to unravel the complexities you encounter in important relationships and offer strategies to alter the dance of your interpersonal dynamics. In individual and couples therapy, you master the skills of the dance. You will be learning effective communication, assertiveness techniques, boundary definition, non-verbal messages, and the art of effective listening. You will acquire the skills to respond proactively rather than reactively in any given circumstance. With the practice of these skills and others, you will promote the development of mutually satisfying and healthy relationships. See Marriage Counseling

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Parenting Concerns

Parenting is so important to us that problems in this arena often sabotage our ability to even function. When our children experience pain or difficulties we cannot remedy, we often feel powerless, frustrated, frightened and ineffective.  We suffer when our children:

  1. Experience depression or anxiety
  2. Act rebellious, angry or defiant
  3. Struggle with peer relationships
  4. Falter academically
  5. Abuse alcohol or drugs.
  6. Seem impulsive or hyperactive
  7. Recover from emotional trauma
  8. Suffer mood swings and attitude shifts

As your therapist and parent counselor, Gail helps to translate the language of a child’s behavioral patterns into useful information. Therapy uncovers and reveals how the mechanisms of development intersect with the demands the child faces in his/her environment. It provides a new lens through which to see the action as well as intervene in ways that promote a child’s health, safety, self worth, strengths, education, and resourcefulness.

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Teen Challenges

Often young people want and need a guide in the process of understanding themselves, their families and peers.  Adolescents want to manage their own internal experiences as well as their behavior to improve their lives. Young people today manage a vast array of external stimuli, but suffer the pressure of many conflicting demands for their efforts and attention. Often they are overwhelmed with expectations while they are trying to establish their identity, personal values, and a life with meaning.  Adolescents will seek therapy because they want:

  1. Safety, support and understanding.
  2. To untangle complex and confusing circumstances.
  3. Emotional regulation.
  4. To make healthy and wise behavioral choices.
  5. To participate in family and social relationships.

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Depression is so compelling that it interferes with the ability to manage our daily lives. Symptoms run the gamut of chronic sadness, despair, sleep and appetite disturbances, exhaustion, social isolation, or substance abuse. Gail helps you pinpoint circumstances you can change, identify defeated and distorted thinking patterns, reconnect with friends and family, rediscover your self-worth, and feel more positive about the future. Finding that flicker of hope while processing the pain can help unleash your understanding and creative energy to activate new opportunities for healing.

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Post Traumatic Stress

The emotional trauma associated with life and death events is called Post Traumatic Stress. Major trauma shatters the very belief systems that establish our internal foundation of safety, shelter, sensibility and stability. We are tossed about on turbulent waters with no safe harbor. Nothing seems to make sense any more. The body and the mind are not separate entities, but rather participate in a deep interconnected and interdependent duet charged with navigating experience. Post Traumatic Stress disrupts this duet such that physical, emotional and mental experiences are not integrated. The Here and Now is contaminated by memories, flashbacks, and fears of the traumatic experience. Gail helps you manage the torrent of scattered  experience to create a narrative that makes sense, solidify memories to be treasured, integrate the past with the present, and helps you find the courage to risk reconnecting in the future.   

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Anxiety, Anger and Phobias

Navigating the many tasks and responsibilities of your life can easily disrupt your personal balance. Symptoms may include panic attacks, anger outbursts, specific phobias, fragmented efforts, chronic agitation, fear, or sleep problems. Usual coping mechanisms may not keep pace with the flood of emotions and thoughts hijacking your sense of resourcefulness. Help is important when you feel out of control or powerless. Effective therapy helps you examine how your think about your world, how to draw conclusions about your experiences, calm your weary spirit, and realign your efforts with your goals.  

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School or Occupational Issues

Whether in work, school or family, our occupations compose a vast amount of our time, resources and energy. They account for a lot of our opportunities, problems, goals and possibilities. We associate much of our personality with how well we manage these important aspects of our lives. Navigating the web of influence and boundaries in these social and occupational relationships can be quite challenging. Therapy with Gail can assist you with conflict management, goal setting, time management, and negotiation skills. She will help you respond proactively rather than reactively to authority figures, co-workers, colleagues and employees.

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Stress Management

Stress is the result of adjusting to constantly changing circumstances. The rapid pace at which you have to respond to the world and its trials can compromise your sense of equilibrium. In her Pleasanton practice Gail helps you find safety and an opportunity to slow the onslaught of experiences. Stress management therapy can help you explore coping strategies that relax hyper vigilance, increase perspective, prioritize expectations, facilitate time management, and create opportunities for new and more flexible responses.

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Starting Over

There are many events that invite life transition and that require what seems like major personality shifts. Marker events like divorce, a geographical relocation, school changes, job changes, kids leaving the nest, and retirement are invitations to re-examine how we participate in the world. We are faced with new roles to fulfill, new responsibilities to tackle, and new circumstances to navigate. Competent adults often become beleaguered even with the confluence of positive changes such as a new marriage or a new baby. Therapy helps to slow the action and create a map to direct your attention, assess risks and challenges, utilize your strengths, visualize your goals, and promote responses aligned with your core values.

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Gail Gabriel, MFT
Gail Gabriel, MFT
555 Peters Avenue
Suite 230
Pleasanton, CA 94566
Tel: (925) 997-1799
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Pleasanton Family Therapist
Pleasanton Family Therapist