Clodagh O' Herlihy, MFT, CCHT
Marriage and Family Therapist/Hypnotherapist
San Francisco and Palo Alto offices
Hello. My name is Clodagh 0' Herlihy and I work as a Licensed Marriage and Family therapist and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist down town Palo Alto and San Francisco.
What ever is drawing you to seek therapeutic support,I like to share that in my personal experience it's not so much about a therapist's techniques and qualifications as it is about how it feels when I am sitting in front of a therapist.We have to feel safe, comfortable and got.In fact research shows that strength of the therapeutic relationship far outweighs any specialized training or technique. So trust your intuition or that familiar gut feeling.All that said I do have a wide variety of trainings and techniques that help me as a therapist to better access client's emotional mind, body and spirit.
Each client that I sit in front of is unique and there are many ways to access their mind, body or spirit/ attitude. Some people feel through their back, neck, jaws and struggle with language , others burst through the door with words spelling off their lips. So I offer an integrative therapeutic approach so as to address the different ways that us humans communicate and feel.I support clients to explore their deeper unconscious desires, beliefs, pain, inspiration, and wisdom.
Witnessing each client 's presence is akin to the resonance of a unique musical tone, varying its style, tempo, and volume along the way. It's important that I listen attentively to what needs to be heard, seen and what yearns to be transformed.
And its also important that I offer constructive feedback with clarity and compassion in order to collaborate with the client in their growth and transformation.Personally, this type of work is rich, alive and I feel very privilidged to witness clients move through shame, fear into light and joy.
My speciality is working with individuals and couples challenged with mood swings that interfere with relationships and work. I view moods as a form of passion or expression that need to be heard and seen. Quite often those that are challenged with erratic mood swings, have an enormous capacity for creativity and expression.
Types of issues that I work with :
I work with individuals, children, families and couples with a wide range of emotional challenges:
- Relationship issues
- Mood disorders
- Insomnia and or obsessive thoughts
- Self esteem issues
- Test anxiety / performance anxiety
- Support with Financial stress
- Sexual and intimacy challenges
- Spiritual exploration and growth
- Artistic /career blocks
- Parenting challenges including adoptive and foster parents
- Cross cultural issues
- Support for food allergies and dietary restrictions. An explanation of some of the techniques and processes that I use to support clients are as follows;
Mindfulness and hypnotherapy are two techniques that can be helpful to slow things down with couples, families, and individuals. The mind can start running " to do lists " the minute it wakes up in the morning. By using mindfulness techniques clients report having more energy, more clarity and passion. Hypnotherapy invites individuals to go into a deeper form of meditation, into a trance much like the sleepy state just before you fall asleep or before you wake up fully in the morning. This state allows us to access the unconscious or sometimes called the "body mind" which stores our wisdom and personal power.In Hypnotherapy, once a client has accessed this trance , it is also much easier to listen to positive suggestions supporting growth and creativity.The hypnotherapy section on this site explains more in detail the hypnotherapy process.
Individual therapy can allow an individual to enjoy a safe place to process their fears, anger, sadness, anxiety,desires and dreams . Sometimes our friends, family, loved ones and work colleagues give us feedback that challenges our intuition and causes us to second guess ourselves.
I work intuitively and feel into the strengths and passions of each client. The relationship between the client and I is the key element in this healing process.The techniques can really vary according to the clientS' needs.I find allowing clients to speak their mind what ever form this takes is how we start. We then discuss goals and expectations. I orient towards introducing techniques that will compliment the client's process. The beauty about this process is that it is a journey, and there is an element of exploration and discovery. Some clients surprise me when they share how adverse they are to any form of mindfulness, and yet take to it like they were practicing for many years. Mindfulness can be experienced in the way we clean our house or run marathons, it's just a different packaging. So in a way my job is to understand each person's packaging and authentic selves so we can team up together on this fascinating journey of life.
Couples therapy can take a lot of courage for a couple to invite a therapist to witness their private and personal relationship.Whether couples are challenged by communications, intimacy, infidelity , sexual or parenting challenge it is important to focus on the couple's strength and dreams in order to support the couple as a unit. A safe and trusting relationship is essential to the process so as to allow the couple to uncover any stuck or unconscious patterns. My specialty in anxiety, addiction, depression and trauma allows me to understand some of the deeper emotional and psychological challenges as the dynamic with a couple can get complicated at times.
IFS ( Internal Family systems) / Parts Work This work involves addressing the parts of us that might be wounded and too vulnerable to be exposed. Out of fear of being further wounded, the part hides behind a shield of some form .This protecting shield might show up in the form of anger that is out of control, shame that is often hard to identify or anxiety that is overwhelming. This pained part is likely to be linked to the role that we played in the face of rejection or pain in our family of origin or with caregivers and mentors. Life teaches us to cover up these scared parts and it can become a part of what we believe to be our " personality". However, when these parts start to take over our relationships,and we feel lost or out of control, we can then start to ask for help.
In this work ,I explore with the client ways to get permission from these defenses or protectors in order to help heal the vulnerable parts. Its important to honor the role of the protectors, and also explain how healing the wound that is in hiding might help the role of the protector. The more the client becomes aware of what is the real authentic self versus the defended self, the more confidence, and self compassion is experienced by the client. This work can be used with individuals, couples, families and children.
Family Therapy is a form of therapy that helps address the whole family as a unit rather than targeting a particular child as being the "problem child". The theory behind family therapy suggests that each family member has a role to play which contributes to the disruptive dynamic in the family. Family therapy can help to establish reasonable boundaries in a family which can often mean strengthening the parental unit, and also strengthening the voice of the
children.Family therapy can be a lot more time and cost effective than sending the child into individual therapy mostly because of the amount of emotional investment that family therapy takes.Plus parents can validate the learning obtained when this process ends and allow it continue as a way of being in the family.
Nutrition and mental health.Nutrition can often play an important role in the livelihood of individuals both physically and mentally.With the fast paced lives that a lot of us live, their can be a lot of temptations to sacrifice nutrition for convenient processed fatty foods with high sugar and carbohydrates.Sometimes clients struggle with yeast or bacterial infections that directly affect their moods. Since a major portion of the neurotransmitters that we need to process thoughts and emotions are located in our gut which is often referred to as the " second brain," our moods are directly affected by the way we eat.Poor diet can also affect digestion, and sleep which in tern affects our moods and also physical beings.
Whether a client has food allergies , is on a restrictive diet or desiring to lose weight , diet can be a challenging thing to maintain long term. Breaking the pattern of older "habits" often helps with the combination of psychotherapy, hypnotherapy and a good understanding of nutrition and diet. Since diet and food is very complicated,psychotherapy can allow for the deeper exploration of the psychological blocks that prevent growth.Hypnotherapy can be very supportive to help clients come into more awareness around their stuck patterns, and subsequently sourcing alternative live style choices.
Energy Psychology: Is a modality that explores the relationship between the body mind and spirit or attitude.
Emotional Freedom Technique-EFT otherwise known as "Tapping" is technique that use energy psychology to explore the energy blockages along meridians in the body ( much like the pressure points used in acupuncture) By tapping on the energy meridians, and addressing the psychological challenges, the tapping can clear the energy blocks, and help to make room for positive thoughts and beliefs to be fully embodied. This can help alleviate anxiety, depression, insomnia and other painful emotional and sometimes physical conditions.
Voice, music & sound therapy can offer an additional exploration of the client's psyche by learning how the vibration of sound, voice, music or silence can enhance expression and livelihood. Most people enjoy music and have certain styles or genres that help them relax , reflect or become revitalized.
When a client is open to exploring different ways of learning how to relax, I invite the use of "binaural beats " (specific sounds that help to induce creativity or relaxation) which helps to entrain the brain into a healing rhythm, much like playing the drums! Our survival is dependent on the rhythm of the heart, brain wave activity and the breath.Each of these three components have a specific rhythmic systems and quite often when we are stressed or sad, these rhythms become stuck or flattened." The creative expression of voice or sound can often inform the individual of what needs to be released in form of sound.
Clodagh O' Herlihy, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist
California MFC 50969
Clodagh O'Herlihy, CCHT
As a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, I am licensed by the state board of Hypnotherapists.
Phone & Locations :
Phone number : 415-533-3989
361 Kipling street,
Palo Alto , Ca 94301 ( few minutes walk from cal train station)
One Hallidie Plaza, Suite 700, ( right next to Powell Bart /Muni station)
San Francisco Ca 94102