San Clemente Psychotherapy Practice

Finding the Right Therapist -- Make First Contact, Discuss Needs, Mutual Suitability, Fees

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Some people start therapy when a life crisis occurs.  For others, there are nagging, negative long term patterns they want to change. Therapy may be short term to resolve a specific issue or extend for longer periods as needed.  I work with adults (18+) and couples in both short and long term therapy.  


Making a connection with a therapist is a vital factor for an effective working relationship.  It is important to check in with yourself about how you feel in relation to the therapist right from the first telephone conversation. Sometimes it is evident that I may not the best suited therapist for you and I will help point you in another direction.  There are times when I am not accepting new clients but I'm glad to speak with you and help with other referrals. 


The subject of fees and questions about health insurance is important to discuss up front.  My hourly rate is $125; however whenever possible I try to be reasonably flexible in adjusting fees with a sliding scale based on need and my availability. I regretfully am transitioning off insurance panels at this time, but will provide a superbill for out of network billing when feasible.

E-mail Ilene Directly

Office, Appointments and Printable Intake Forms

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Once an appointment is set, you may click on the link below to print:


  • Client Information Form 
  • Agreement for Services 
  • Information/Consent for Somatic Experiencing  

Please complete and bring to appointment.  If you have any questions, we can discuss at appointment time.   If you are unable to print, please arrive 10-15 early for your first appointment and a clipboard with these forms will be in the waiting room for you.


The office is a one story building near the downtown village of San Clemente:


161 Avenida Cabrillo, San Clemente, CA 92672 (map on home page)


Typically there is plenty of free lot and street parking, as well as a few spaces directly in front of the building.  As you enter the waiting room, you will see a light switch on the wall to your right with my name on it.  Please turn it on to let me know you've arrived; I will be out at the time of our appointment.  

Printable Intake Forms

Because I Love You (B.I.L.Y.) Parent Support Group in San Clemente

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I am a volunteer facilitator for this non-profit, free support group for parents who are struggling with their kids (young adolescents to adults) and feel stuck about how to move forward. It can be a very effective addition to personal therapy.  


BILY offers parent-to-parent support, education, and awareness of available community resources. ​We provide effective tools that promote structure and consistency on the part of the parent and accountability with progression toward self-reliance on the part of the child and/or young adult. We offer a safe environment where parents are made to feel comfortable discussing  the struggles they are facing. The ability to share openly is essential if ineffective parenting patterns are to be broken. We encourage parents to set their own goals for their household and we support them as they work toward attaining those goals.


The group meets every Tuesday night (except holdidays) from 6:30-8:30 pm at the San Clemente Presbyterian Church located at:

119 N Avenida De La Estrella
San Clemente, CA 92672


To RSVP for a meeting, click below for BILY website or e-mail the BILY team at: 

bilysanclemente@gmail.com

Contact BILY San Clemente Directly

Journey To Becoming a Therapist

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Therapists often choose this profession because we, like most people, have experienced painful conflict and various forms of trauma. As I work with clients, I am aware that we are partners on the roller coaster of life. We all share some variation on the continuum of the human experience:  need, expectation, love, connection, abuse/neglect, loss, pain, fear, to name a few. We run, we hide, we fight and often we find resilience to emerge as whole. This work is my passion, sharing and holding moments of difficulty and celebrating when clarity and connection blossom. There is a freedom in being able to look at ourselves with expanding perspective, increased humility and even a touch of humor, whenever possible. 


Who knew at age fourteen when I befriended an adoring gang of "juvenile delinquents" that this so-called "acting out phase" would be a major lesson in learning about myself, family, culture, race, socio-economic class, drugs, alcohol, sexual assault, police, the law and more.  Fortunately I emerged relatively unscathed from experiences I knew were risky.  


Fast forward to early college (California State University, Northridge, known as San Fernando Valley State College in 1971) with my first "official" volunteer helping experience, working on a crisis intervention telephone helpline.  I learned the basic skills of listening actively and non-judgmentally, practicing empathy and realizing that counseling was not advice, but providing information and facilitating an experience of personal learning. Sometimes urgent actions and resources are necessary and other times simply encouraging expression of authentic feelings can lead a person to their own resiliency and positive growth. 

   

In dealing with several unexpected events, I decided to drop out of college and travel. I then worked for a few years which inspired me to return to college (in Humboldt County, Northern California). I studied social welfare and created my own internships at the local substance abuse center and county jail, where I led yoga and talk groups in the women's holding cell.  When I got to the USC School of Social Work for graduate work, I knew I was arriving in a multi-dimensional area of study which would become my life work.


My Professional Experience

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The first year post MSW I worked in a state psychiatric hospital and the next year came my first leadership position. I was hired by a non profit women's center, The National Council of Jewish Women/LA, to develop a volunteer based counseling talkline and advocacy service for women in the greater Los Angeles area, which we named Women Helping Women.  That challenge lasted almost a decade and at the same time, I started my own small private practice.  After leaving this big responsibility, I was fortunate to spend a period of time with my new infant daughter and step-children.


In my next endeavor I was offered the opportunity to build another type of service from the ground floor.  For the next twelve years I was the Director of Counseling, consecutively at two small independent colleges in Southern California (Occidental College in Los Angeles for five years and Woodbury University in Burbank  for seven years). I deeply loved the multi-dimentional experience of creating many outreach programs and providing a safe space for students to heal lifetime emotional wounds while forging ahead with education. I also held the burden of continually and single-handedly making decisions about dangerous, life threatening situations in protecting individual and campus safety and eventually I decided to take a needed hiatus from my professional role. 


My family and I re-located from LA to the small beach town of San Clemente in 2008. After a six month break, I developed a new practice, started studying Somatic Experiencing, facilitated a grief group for several years and currently volunteer as a group leader for a parent support group called Because I Love You (see above).  


Over three decades, I've been in private practice, employed in hospitals, jails, addiction centers, women's clinics, universities and grief and veterans' groups.  I've worked with individuals, couples and families across a diversity of issues and backgrounds. I integrate psychodynamic and cognitive therapy approaches, interpersonal communication, psychoeducation, mindfulness, and Somatic Experiencing (SE), For me, SE fillls in a gap in the evolution of psychotherapy as we increasingly understand the non-conscious elements of the nervous system underlying unresolved psychological trauma.   

Quotes I Like

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* "Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom." Viktor E. Frankl


* “Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habit. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.”    Lao Tzu


* "Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it." Viktor E. Frankl


* "The last of human freedoms - the ability to chose one's attitude in a given set of circumstances."  Viktor E. Frankl


* "Being human always points, and is directed, to something or someone, other than oneself - be it a meaning to fulfill or another human being to encounter." Viktor E. Frankl


* "Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence."  Erich Fromm


* "Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties." Erich Fromm



* "One cannot be deeply responsive to the world without being saddened very often."  Erich Fromm



* "If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." Wayne Dyer



* "There's nothing wrong with anger provided you use it constructively." Wayne Dyer