My name is Beth Leigh Kolakoski and I am a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) in Marin County, California. In a supportive and empathetic environment, issues such as grief and loss, sadness/depression, anxiety, life transitions, personal growth, low self-esteem, trauma, chronic pain, ADHD difficulties, as well as parent struggles, can be addressed through a strength-based and solution-oriented approach.
Many of my clients face sadness, anger, anxiety, and/or stress issues, making it difficult to perform daily tasks. Because I often help people uncover and embrace the hidden and challenging parts of themselves and their lives, I use evidence-based emotional regulation techniques from a trauma-informed approach. This approach enables you to develop boundaries and self-compassion, allowing you to feel safe, empowered, and fulfilled. A strengths-based approach also helps you harness your innate strengths to further your mental health journey. I also help people learn to reflect on their inner thoughts and feelings, addressing the harmful cognitive distortions that often result in anxious feelings.
I specialize in working with adults who are struggling with anxiety, sadness/depression, grief and loss, major life transitions, shame, neurodivergent differences, trauma, PTSD, chronic pain, and parent struggles.
My communication style
Therapy is a journey I can help you embark upon, where the goal is to partner with and empower you to make the positive changes you desire. This change happens as I listen carefully and pay close attention to what you identify with inside. I very gently reflect on your patterns of thinking and habitual ways of responding to life that no longer serve you. I help you learn how to attune to yourself and become more self-aware. Once you become aware of your reactions to yourself, others, and life, change can begin. As you feel more in control of your behavior, you will start to identify more and more with utilizing your strengths to make the changes you desire, whether they be interpersonal, within your relationships, at work, or in school.
My journey to mental healthcare
There are times in our life when we might feel overwhelmed and confused when trying to manage life's stressors. Often we need guidance when navigating the challenges and feelings that come when difficulties arise. I really enjoy listening to people's life stories. I naturally develop close relationships with people, getting to know them beyond a superficial level, and letting them know I am there for them. It's an honor to be able to listen deeply and support people when they are at their most vulnerable. It is also such a pleasure to witness the positive changes that can occur when someone dives deeper beneath the surface and faces their challenges. It's been an amazing, fulfilling journey both in the non-profit and private practice world, and I hope to continue walking alongside people who need support, encouragement, and empowerment in their lives. I consider myself so fortunate to wake up and feel the passion in my work with people, and I see myself doing this for a very long time!
My goals for you
I collaborate with you to set mental health goals and set out clear, bite-sized next steps to reach those goals. For example, I might encourage you to practice new ways of thinking, talking, or behaving with yourself and me. I might also encourage you to practice these new skills throughout the week.
My first session with you
Our first session is when I learn even more about you and your life experiences, what happened that caused you pain, and what you still carry around with you. You may reveal painful experiences and negative internal dialogue that interfere with your life and impact your relationships, causing you to feel stuck. Together, we will go through a comprehensive intake assessment, at which time I will ask you a lot of questions about your background history, what's going on in your life today that's causing you distress, and what goals you want to work on in therapy. For some people, the process of exposing their vulnerabilities to someone new might feel intimidating and uncomfortable. For others, it can feel effortless and like a sense of relief to share the details of their innermost thoughts and life experiences -- like a weight lifted off their shoulders. This time is yours, and you are in control of this process. Whether you find opening up challenging or accessible, the most important thing for you to know is that you are in control of the process. We can slow down or take time to pause and breathe at any point. Remember, you don't have to go through this alone. Together, we will embark on this journey and develop a plan to achieve your goals. This step in your journey is essential as it lays the foundational work that sets the stage for your healing process.