Ali Borden, LMFT
Individual, Couples & Family Counseling
"The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new."
-- Dan Millman
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT)
I have been working in the field for over 20 years, seeing individuals, couples, and families, developing treatment programs, training therapists, and speaking all over the world on how to help people improve their lives. I have a particular interest in how to help develop and sustain motivation when change is difficult.
Problems would be easy to overcome if they were simply bad or good. I know from experience in my own life and from listening to clients for many years that the things we struggle with are challenging because we are pulled in many directions at the same time. We want to get enough sleep but we also want to watch one more episode on TV. Choices in life are always harder to make than they first appear and what we choose has many effects that play out over time in ways we did and did not intend. Clients often say: "I know on one level that I don't want this (action/habit), but at the same time, for some reason I keep repeating the same thing."I believe these places of indecision, these sites of complexity, can be used in therapy to tell us more about ourselves and become opportunities for inspiration and change.
These complexities can be even more challenging to manage in relationships. It can be so difficult to have a collaborative conversation when people have conflicting but strongly held beliefs and there is no easy compromise. Whether it is a couple or a parent and a child, people in relationship inevitably hold different perspectives, and often come from different cultures, genders, or generations. These differences makes it easy to fall into arguments and it can feel impossible to find a way out. Therapy can be a place where people can come to understand each other better and find a new way forward.
Even good marriages fall prey to drifting apart, lack of communication, and arguments. Conversations that turn into debates leave both people feeling unappreciated, resentful and misunderstood. When effective communication is difficult, it can be helpful to have a third party to draw out a sense of empathy and connection and offer new perspectives that lead to previously unseen solutions.
Divorce brings many challenges. There are complicated feelings and difficult conversations. When children are involved it means negotiating with your previous spouse about custody schedules, financial arrangements, new partners, and differing ideas about what is best for the children. Good communication is essential for working out these differences but can seem impossible with a difficult ex-spouse.
I believe that most people are highly aware of what they feel are their ‘failures’. Our culture, jobs and relationships can feel like they are constantly pointing out where we are too much or where we are not enough. Unlike some other therapies, our conversations will not be centered around all of the things you are doing wrong but instead on getting a clearer and clearer version of where you are headed and what is holding you back.
I have a lot of experience helping people bring forward different aspects of their sexual selves to get what they want out of love, relationships and sex. I help couples have difficult conversations about desire. I am open to everyone’s orientation, gender, kink, and how they choose to identify themselves -- even if they don’t fit the mainstream and even if those definitions change over time.
Anxiety is the worst. It keeps you up at night. It distracts you when you are trying to focus on work or visiting with friends. Worrying about the future can have you constantly bracing yourself for the worst case scenario. Friends and family try to boost your confidence with reassurance and encourage you to 'be in the moment' but that can leave you feeling misunderstood or frustrated and hopeless that you will ever find relief.
Life is constantly changing. The need to adapt can be externally provoked by something like a pandemic, divorce, or children launching. Or change can be internally driven by a voice that says: "I am not happy. Something needs to change." To keep growing, we need to be able to course correct, to evolve, to take risks, and move ahead in new directions.
Bring your whole self. I am committed to creating an environment that supports inclusivity and respects all people regardless of race, ethnicity, color, culture, religion, spiritual practice, sex, age, socioeconomic status, neurodiversity, perceived or actual sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, relationship status or configuration, national origin, citizenship, or physical and mental abilities. The greatest discoveries come from a diverse mix of minds, backgrounds and experiences, and points of view.
With the Covid-19 pandemic upon us, many people are feeling higher amounts of stress, fear and grief. It can also be tricky to negotiate levels of risk that suits everyone within a household. I am committed to reducing the spread of Covid-19 in our community and vulnerable populations by offering video and phone-based services through secure and encrypted platforms.
Land Acknowledgement Statement
It is important to acknowledge that we reside on what was historically the homeland of indigenous peoples who were dispossessed of their land. This land acknowledgement recognizes the Gabrielino/Tongva peoples as the traditional land caretakers of Tovaangar (the Los Angeles basin and So. Channel Islands). We pay our respects to the Honuukvetam (Ancestors), ‘Ahiihirom (Elders) and ‘Eyoohiinkem (our relatives/relations) past, present and emerging.
A Land Acknowledgement is a formal statement that recognizes and respects indigenous peoples as the stewards of this land who have called and still call the land home before and after the arrival of settlers. Acknowledging the land works to undo the intentional erasure of indigenous peoples and is a first step in decolonizing land relations and supporting reconciliation. If you are interested in learning more, please visit the link below.
Mapping Indigenous LA: http://www.arcgis.com/apps/MapJournal/index.html?appid=a9e370db955a45ba99c5