LIFE
Ludington Institute for Family Enrichment

875 South Westlake Boulevard, Suite 211
Westlake Village, CA 91361

Telephone: 805.449.4375
info@ludingtoninstitute.com

Map/Directions: Click here to view map.

LIFE Services

 

Individual Therapy 
Family Therapy
Couples Counseling
Adolescent Therapy
Child Therapy
Trauma Work
Issue-Based Treatment
Therapy as Part of Recovery

Group Therapy
School Counselor Trainings and Workshops

 

 

Individual Therapy 

From your first contact with our office, you will be in the compassionate, capable hands of a LIFE therapist. We listen carefully to your concerns and issues to match you with the therapist best suited for your specific need. Sometimes new clients call requesting a particular therapist; other times they outline their problems and ask who on our staff is best suited to assist them. There are many therapeutic forms and techniques, and each individual comes to therapy bringing a unique life experience and a life story.

In our first conversation with you, we will schedule an appointment. For over 25 years, we have been providing psychological services to our communities. We will make certain you find an effective environment where your needs will be addressed.

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Family Therapy

Family therapy brings all family members together to sit with a trained professional and work in a constructive way to communicate more effectively, mend wounds, and reorganize operational problems that may be hindering members of the family. Our families are by far the most influential social structure of our lives. Having everyone gather to heal and reshape an ongoing relationship can be very powerful. We offer these services to homogenous families, families of divorce, blended step-families, and families of origin (grown adults with their adult siblings and their parents).

The first few sessions of family work are usually with the organizing party and the therapist. The frequency, timing, location, and participants are all part of the planning and will need to be discussed with the treatment goals in mind. After preliminary meetings, a treatment plan will be launched and the family sessions can begin.

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Couples Counseling

We are committed to providing the most current and effective therapy available to help couples reinvigorate their relationships. Alan has specialized in couples’ therapy for the past 15 years, writing articles and producing a CD series on the topic. Risa Gruberger also has an extensive background working with couples, both in her psychotherapy practice and her former career as a family educator.

We dedicate our first three sessions of couple work to gathering information and clarifying each partner’s expectations for their marriage and the therapeutic process. Falling in love is pretty easy; staying in love with the same person takes understanding, flexibility, self-awareness, and maturity. Each couple is unique. Thus, the format for our work varies. Some couples will meet weekly for an hour, others, a couple of times a week. Some couples work better meeting every other week for two hours. On rare occasions when the circumstances merit it, we may meet in four-hour intensive sessions.

Sometimes couples come to our office seeking assistance in dissolving their marriage. In such cases, therapy is designed to help them identify their common concerns—usually the children—and to stabilize and support them as they embark on the separation and divorce process. There are many resources available for such couples. The goal of this work is not only to end the marriage but to find a way to remain a family. It is often difficult work. However, with the focus trained on the children, many couples discover better ways to relate without drowning in the contentious and often hurtful divorce litigation.

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Adolescent Therapy

After you contact our office, we will schedule at least three sessions for evaluation of your teen and his/her presenting problem. During this process, ideally we will interview both parents, the teenager, ancillary support staff (doctors, prior therapists, school counselors, etc.), and other significant people the family deems important to the diagnostic process. From the information we glean, a treatment plan will be designed utilizing treatment modalities we feel most effective to achieve the goals of therapy. These may include individual therapy, family therapy, group therapy, and possibly work with nutritionists, tutors, life coaches, study partners, recovery programs, 12-step counselors, and the like. We will do everything within our power to help you help your teenager.

Teens are not always interested in therapy, but our staff is quite adept at dealing with situations involving willing parents and reluctant teens. So do not hesitate to contact us. We will help you design a plan that gets each member involved.

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Child Therapy

Much like adolescent therapy, we will schedule at least three sessions for evaluation of your child, interview all necessary supports (doctors, prior therapists, school counselors, teachers, etc.), and develop a treatment plan. When children cannot express their feelings verbally, they may act out in a variety of ways. Many children need help dealing with school stress, such as homework, test anxiety, peer pressure, or bullying. Others may need help gaining awareness of their thoughts and feelings about family issues, particularly if there's a major transition. We help children and their families cope with these stresses and reach their potential.

Working with children differs greatly from traditional “talk therapy”. We use a number of modalities to engage children in the therapeutic process. Play therapy and art therapy are used to reduce anxiety and provide a structure and context that is familiar and comfortable for children. Play and art allow children to freely express their feelings, needs, traumas, and hidden strengths. Melody Black has extensive experience working with children in these methods.

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Trauma Work

Some clients seek our services after experiencing a severe trauma. Ron Sharpshair has specialized training and skill in providing the state-of-the-art therapeutic assistance. He utilizes such techniques as EMDR, hypnosis and mind-body integration work. Not all life traumas are the same, nor are they retained in the same way by everyone. Ron offers a complimentary initial visit during which he will listen to your story and ascertain if his form of therapy would be effective. If so, we will then discuss with you how treatment will proceed.

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Issue-Based Treatment

Life offers up many challenges that can be difficult to assimilate. Such events include the loss of a job, conflict with a friend, concerns over child rearing, blending a step-family, adjustment to a move, an emptying nest, a career change—the list is as varied as life experience. Therapy can be helpful to process the effects of such issues, offering ideas, opportunities and information. The nature of such therapy is preventative. Processing the issues as they occur often keeps them from accumulating and later surfacing to sabotage some other aspect of life. One of our clients described issue-based sessions as her way of “keeping the closet clean.”

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Therapy As Part Of Recovery

The LIFE staff has years of experience treating many forms of addiction, along with their effects on couples and families. (See LIFE Therapists profiles.) We offer men’s recovery groups, networking with local recovery programs (like AA, CA, MA, Alanon, and ACA), as well as support in finding sponsors. We have working relationships with a number of inpatient and outpatient programs specialized in treating both adult and adolescent dependency issues. Al Ludington, Ron Sharpshair and Jimi Magner all integrate recovery therapy with the various support services. Addiction is a family illness. It often takes the entire family’s involvement to achieve the best outcome for recovery.

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Group Therapy

Adolescent Group

Led by Melody Black, MFT

For teenagers, their world is getting increasingly complex. Stress builds, responsibilities mount, and their time is limited. Talking about what’s on their mind helps bring relief and calm. Group therapy provides a release from all of the pent up frustrations and concerns and gives the opportunity to relate to other teens with the same issues! To register for group today, please call Melody: 805-449-4375 Ext. 1#, or email: melody@ludingtoninstitute.com.

Middle School Group

Led by Cara White, MFT and Daniel Veselak, MFT

Middle schoolers can join their fellow peers in a supportive group and learn new ways to manage middle school stressors. Topics will include social skills, peer relationships, time management, and balancing home life and school life. To register for group today, please call Cara: 805-449-4375 Ext. 6#, or email: cara@ludingtoninstitute.com.

High School Group

Led by Ron Sharpshair, MFT and Cara White, MFT

This high school group helps teenagers explore and create healthy and conscious life choices. Some topics that will be discussed in group are peer relationships, drugs and alcohol, family dynamics, pressures related to school and home life, and coping skills to manage stress. To register for group today, please call Cara: 805-449-4375 Ext. 6#, or email: cara@ludingtoninstitute.com.

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School Counselor Trainings and Workshops

Alan Ludington holds School Counselor trainings and workshops two times a year for the Conejo Valley. He gathers therapists and professionals in the field to present their knowledge on hot topics our youth is facing today. Please email info@ludingtoninstitute.com if you would like to register for our upcoming trainings and workshops!

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"I am encouraged by the changes I see in myself as a person, in my thought life, and also in my relationship"

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