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Stuck in a cycle that just won’t end.

You want things to change, but you don’t know where to start.

Avoiding, delaying, and trying to find your way around the situation, so you don’t have to deal with it right now.

But none of those tactics work.

It’s a new day, and you’re still struggling with the stresses, worries, and unhappiness of years ago, months ago, and days ago.

Read about the kind of clients who come to therapy with me and how I can help:

“If I ignore it, it will go away.”Photo of a person's feet standing in a corner

Mia* hasn’t had an easy life, but she’s managed. She’s put all the ugly memories in little boxes and shoved them onto the back shelf of her brain. It works. Right?

But when did her life get so small? When did she get too scared to date? When did she stop going out with friends?

She used to escape into video games to tune out from all the chaos in her head. Now she feels perpetually tuned out from life, but the head traffic is still there. And she can’t even slow her mind down enough to sleep at night.

“Everyone says I should talk to someone. Maybe they are right.”

“Maybe I’m not broken!”

Mia learned that all the bad crap she endured in life isn’t her fault. She was able to see her behaviors as desperate attempts to keep herself safe. And she learned better tools for feeling safe.

She explored that chaos in her head and learned not to react to it.

She learned about parts of herself that were trapped in trauma that was many years old. She learned to love and heal those parts.

Most of all, Mia learned that fear did not have to control her life.


*names and details have been changed to protect client confidentiality

Leaves forming the outline of a human head in the clouds.“I just want to live MY life.”

Against all odds, Manny* completed his degree and has a good entry-level job. He is ready to build his career, find a partner, and have a family of his own someday. He has dreams and goals.

But the phone rings. Through tears, his mom begs him to help her with yet another crisis. It feels like the same story every time. When he tries to move forward with his life, his family’s needs seem to suck up all his time and energy. But it’s his family. Of course, he needs to jump in and help.

“What would it be like to walk away from it all?” he fantasizes sometimes. To tell his family “no” once and for all? Wait, how could he even be thinking this way? His little siblings depend on him, and he can’t leave them on their own to deal with the never-ending crises.

“I can’t see any way out!”

“I don’t have to rescue everyone!”

In therapy, Manny recognized that his role in his family taught him that his family’s needs come first. And he shouldn’t have any needs. But we ALL have needs.

He learned how to understand the part inside himself that feels duty-bound to “rescue” his family. And the part that resents the heck out of his family for needing rescuing.

He realized that “helping” his family members may actually prevent them from growing themselves.

Manny learned that it is okay to want things for himself and go after his dreams while still loving his family.


*names and details have been changed to protect client confidentiality

“I want to believe we can change the world. But can we?”Two hands holding a globe.

Jill* has a job with a social justice non-profit. She got the solar panels and an electric car. She grows some organic food in her backyard. She and her wife are doing everything they can to make the world a more sustainable, equitable place for their small children.

But there are days when she wonders if she should have even brought children into this world.

Her efforts never feel like enough. All her work barely seems to balance out her neighbor who drives that giant, gas-guzzling SUV and uses gallons of toxic chemicals to keep his lawn green.

And don’t get her started on the climate-change deniers. Every angry, resentful, bitter impulse seems to come through when she goes there. But she’s not an angry person.

Sometimes, it feels that no matter what she does, she’s facing a dystopian nightmare.

“I am beyond burnt out!”

“I don’t have to do it alone.”

Jill wanted to take her therapy outdoors where nature could support her journey.

She learned to deepen her connection to the natural world, her community, and ultimately to herself. In this connection, she found a source of comfort, energy, and resourcefulness.

She learned that nature has its seasons and storms, just like she has her moods and outbursts. When she’s in tune with that, life is less of a struggle.

Yes, living with integrity and purpose can still feel like a lot of work at times. And she has learned that the journey is as rewarding as the destination.


*names and details have been changed to protect client confidentiality

You can start on a new path now.

Discomfort and pain are the beginning, not the end.

We try to avoid the pain. We adapt and conform to get along in the world. But that only takes us further away from who we really are.

We disown parts of ourselves and start to live robotically rather than authentically.

We start to live apart from the natural world around us rather than knowing
we are a part of the natural world around us.

By reclaiming stuck, lost, or unknown parts of ourselves, we can grow toward greater wholeness and satisfaction within our lives.

We can get connected again. We can tune in to the supportive web of life.

Schedule Your Free Consultation Today

Hi, I’m Carol.

Carol Bartels, LMFT

I want to be your guide on a journey that might be scary, might be humbling, but is full of potential. By building a strong therapeutic relationship, I’ll show you that you don’t have to do it alone. With me, you will feel heard, understood, and important. You may find new directions to take that you didn’t even know were waiting for you.

Learn more About Me

Deep connection is possible.

Sometimes, the first step is the hardest. Make the call to see if we are a good fit.

Schedule a free 20-minute consultation today:

(562) 548-8999

“A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.”

Lao Tzu