Lea Mendoza is a licensed MFT focuses not on symptoms but the root causes of her client’s challenges under the premise that we are phenomenal beings. One-on-one and group empowerment workshops are available with her at (714) 584-8578.
Lea Mendoza, licensed marriage and family therapist and a mom of 23 years. After a career in sales and marketing, she went back to school to get her Master’s in Psychology and has been providing services for over 13 years, plus being in private practice for the last five years. We sat and talked. —Editor
Is it true you like to approach therapy from the point of view of relationships?
LEA: My specialty is psychotherapy, so whoever you are, whatever challenges you have that’s related to relationships, I can assist you. Even children. Something is causing a child to behave in a certain way within their environment, which is not conducive to them functioning well and getting their needs met. I can assist with these types of situations to help bring stability and peace to the household.
What issues are people coming to you with lately?
I’m seeing a lot of depression and anxiety, and how that affects their job and relationships. For children, it’s angry outbursts, nervousness and inattention. They’re very upset about rules and authority figures. And, believe it or not, are very depressed. Recent studies are showing that children as young as five are being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which is really heartbreaking to me.
So there are dynamics in the environment unknowingly contributing to this?
Yes, they may not be clinically ADHD, they’re just reacting to what’s occurring in the space. In school, if the classrooms are overcrowded, the teachers want those kids to be behaving, and the fastest way is to medicate the child. Hello! That’s a four-year old. I know there are true ADHD’s out there, but not in these mind-boggling numbers!
What is your approach in these situations?
Most people run into problems by how they react. What I can offer them is a different way of viewing things, give them healthy and empowering coping and communicating skills so they make choices instead of just knee-jerk reactions. If you have a healthier and more empowered way of addressing your challenges, life is good. If you’re just going to keep letting your anger or problems rule the day, your goal to have healthy relationships in your life won’t be realized.
Do you utilize certain techniques to help people through this process?
My clients find it very helpful and supportive when I hold them accountable to what they want out of life, even if they’re as young as four years old! They have a healthy active brain. When I hold my clients accountable with a realistic expectation about the patterns of how they’re going to do things, or how fast or slow, depending on their developmental level, they will rise up to meet it. Once I see some effort and movement, I make sure to validate them for that, which is very important. I’m not just sharing coping and empowering skills, it’s also about “Hey, I see you. I see your goodness—thank you for sharing that.” And that’s a good, strong beginning.