WHO WE ARE | Our Values

At Live Oak, we believe that the roots of a healthy life are integrity, authenticity, wholeness and connection. In an increasingly de-humanizing world, Live Oak helps individuals more fully connect to the deeper parts of themselves and others. We emphasize fully integrating identity, roles and life experiences in order to maintain psychological health.
The following principles inform our work:

We recognize the uniqueness of each individual.

What works for one person may be very different than what works for others. We therefore conduct a very thorough assessment in which we take time to listen to all concerns and come to understand the unique history, background, culture, and current situation of everyone with whom we work. From there, we formulate a set of goals and identify the most effective methods we might employ to achieve them. Our clinical and educational practice is not limited to a “one-size-fits-all” approach. Rather, we incorporate various perspectives including systems theory, mind/body therapies, group therapy, cognitive-behavioral treatment, and expressive, developmental, psychodynamic and psycho-educational therapies.

We also recognize that each person may need to balance many identities at any one time (e.g. man, daughter, employee, Latino, Catholic), a feat that may at times be quite challenging. Our approach is to understand how these identities provide strength as well as vulnerability-for individuals, couples, and families.

We are goal-oriented.

We like to know what our clients wish to accomplish so that we can evaluate our progress and insure that we are working toward the same end. We can always change our goals, but it’s imperative to agree on the direction in which we are headed.

We employ a strength-based approach that begins by respecting the courage it takes to attempt change.

In addition, we believe that everyone carries with them survival strategies that have served him or her well. Part of our work involves identifying and understanding past survival strategies-how and why they came to exist. In valuing them, we can then support change; letting go of old strategies that no longer serve us while simultaneously strengthening or developing those strategies that bring more of what we seek into our lives.

We recognize that real and lasting change requires action.

Although insight is helpful and certainly feels good, change occurs when we actually do something different. We may not only suggest different ways of looking at or thinking about a given situation, but encourage experimentation with different behaviors that reflect these new perspectives. Changes in behavior often generate more positive changes in our feelings and beliefs, and create new and better habits of living.

We also seek to ensure that changes occur beyond the psychotherapy, training, or consultation relationship. Toward this end, we may give “homework,” begin to integrate community resources into the psychotherapy or training experience, and point out how to apply to daily life the changes obtained through psychotherapy.

We are systems-oriented.

We attend to not just what is happening within each individual, but what is happening between the individual and the other arenas or systems in one’s life, such as family, community, friends, and workplace. No person, couple, or family can be fully understood without acknowledging how these forces influence our daily life.

We establish a partnership based on mutual accountability and trust.

Trust and safety form the foundation of our work. We will attend fully to our work and apply all of our professional skills, knowledge and experience toward achieving the goals we set. The partnership works best when we both agree to be honest and open, to be actively involved in our work together, and to abide by our agreements with each other. In this way, we establish a high level of trust that allows us to progress more rapidly.

We recognize the harm that comes from discrimination and stigma, and therefore practice psychotherapy, consultation, and training that affirms the value of difference.

We believe many individual, family, organizational, and community problems are not internal to a given person or group of people, but arise as the result of stigma or discrimination. In responding to the effects of stigma, people often find ways to cope that actually magnify feelings of shame, low self-esteem, and disconnection (to themselves and to others).

Our affirmative and inclusive approach is based on an understanding of an integrative change process, and therefore provides our clients (individuals, families, organizations, and communities) with opportunities to reduce the disintegrating effects of stigma and promote self-actualization and integration. We emphasize the extent to which growth and connection is enhanced more from our differences than from our similarities.