Michelle Franklin PhD

Santa Cruz Psychotherapy Services

Individual Psychotherapy

Short-term Therapy
Some clients need objective assistance and new skills to cope with a pressing issue. Examples include: divorce, infidelity, the death of a loved one, problems with children and adolescents, substance abuse, physical or emotional illness or change in employment. Short-term therapy tends to be very focused and the necessary steps become clear after a meeting or two. Dr. Franklin listens objectively, helps clients define their goals, and teaches them the tools and techniques that they need for success. Compassion, understanding, acceptance, support and encouragement are essential components of any effective therapeutic process. Therapy continues during the client's implementation of the recommended steps. Therapy duration is determined by the depth and complexity of the issue and the client's abilities, motivation and follow-through.

In-depth Therapy — Character Development & Growth
Other clients may not be experiencing an immediate challenge, but are looking to improve the quality of their life experience. They may be seeking greater life enjoyment, increased personal effectiveness, more meaningful and satisfying relationships, deeper self-understanding and/or greater compassion. These clients seek to create significant and lasting change in how they approach and experience life. In-depth therapy facilitates them in changing the fundamental basis of their entrenched problematic thoughts, feelings and behaviors so that they will not re-occur. Common outcomes are shame reduction, increased self-esteem, effective emotional self-protection, improved communications skills and deeper insight into the client's personality and into the personalities of the significant people in their lives. These clients may have started with an immediate challenge, continued work on themselves in individual psychotherapy, and ultimately may have transitioned into one of Dr. Franklin's therapy groups which provide a rich therapeutic experience at a cost efficient rate.

In treating individuals, Dr. Franklin utilizes multiple treatment modalities including: Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Psychodynamic Therapy, Object Relations Theory, Pia Melody’s work on Codependence, Richard Schwartz’ Internal Family Systems Therapy, and Stephen Wolinsky’s dismantling of Identity Trance States.

Trauma Recovery
Eye Movement Desensitization Retraining (EMDR) is an effective technique in the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and deep-seated fears. When an individual experiences a trauma, the experience can keep reoccurring in their dreams or in their everyday life in response to environmental triggers (e.g. a specific sight, sound, and/or smell) that reminds the individual of the traumatic event. The PTSD sufferer continues to experience the trauma as if it were actually happening in present time. EMDR is an effective and efficient tool for eliminating or mitigating these impacts. EMDR can take between three to ten sessions to achieve resolution during which time the client gains a gradual desensitization to the traumatic triggers.

Dr. Franklin has successfully used this technique with many clients and has trained with the EMDR Institute including the Level I, Level II, Level III, Advanced Clinical Applications of EMDR to Addictive Behaviors and EMDR Applications for Pain Management.

Couples Counseling

Couples often have ways of relating (or non-relating) to each other that inhibit them from experiencing their significant other relationship as loving and fulfilling as they would like. Dr. Franklin’s couples counseling process provides both spouses insight into how their family of origin issues can be reenacted in their current relationships, and how their unique couple dynamic can undermine their relationship. Couples learn effective relationship skills to facilitate communication, passion, intimacy, fulfillment and healing. Couples nearly always report significant improvements in their intellectual, emotional, sexual and spiritual connections.

Dr. Franklin has trained in and applies an amalgam of traditional and current relationship therapy techniques including: Dr. Terry Real’s Relationship Empowerment Techniques, Harvel Hendrix’ Imago Relationship Therapy, Drs. John & Julie Gottman’s Couples Therapy, and John Gray’s work on gender differences.

Relationship Therapy

Relationships between parents and children, siblings, co-workers and peers each have their own distinct characteristics and challenges. Dr. Franklin addresses the issues that are specific to each relationship type using a wide range of therapeutic techniques and teaches her clients the relationship tools needed to resolve challenges and issues in their interpersonal interactions.

Family Therapy

Family dynamics can be complex. Each family member has a unique role in contributing to the effectiveness or dysfunction of the family unit. In family therapy, Dr. Franklin identifies each member’s role in the overall dynamic and develops strategies to improve specific pair-wise interactions utilizing Family and Relationship Therapies to improve the Family System functioning level as a whole.

Group Therapy

When a client has sufficient self-awareness and emotional sophistication to participate in a group dynamic, he/she becomes a candidate for Group Therapy. In Dr. Franklin’s experience, Group Therapy is one of the most cost-effective and comprehensive ways for individuals and couples to become educated about the psychological dynamics operating in themselves and in the people in their lives. Group Therapy is a safe environment to practice boundaries and constructive confrontation, as well as to receive feedback about themselves and their life situations in a professionally moderated, constructive and supportive format. Clients learn the tools of active listening, giving feedback in a respectful, responsible, non-offensive manner, and practice setting functional boundaries. Group construction is usually eight members: four men and four women. It is important to learn about both genders since we all interact with men and women throughout our lives. Observing the perspective of others can help clients gain valuable insight about themselves in a non-threatening manner. Group members have the opportunity to receive constructive feedback regarding all of their life issues.

Skills that are taught and practiced come from Harvel Hendrix’s work, Drs. John and Julie Gottman’s work on successful marriages, Pia Melody’s Co-dependence model, Dr. Stephan Wolinsky’s tools for detrancing from Identity Trance States, Dr. Irvin Yalom’s curative factors in group therapy, John Gray’s work in gender differences, and the Enneagram for understanding personality differences.

Enneagram Typing and Training

Each of us comes into the world embodying essential qualities such as joy, love, curiosity, and compassion. Our personality is a necessary survival strategy, layered on top of our essential self and largely driven by our unconscious mind. The more challenges we experience, the more entrenched the patterns of personality become as we struggle to employ our survival strategy to overcome these challenges. As a result, the personality layer can become so thick that we can experience disconnection from our underlying essential self. The Enneagram is a sophisticated, widely accepted, and tremendously useful tool that helps us understand and successfully manage our personality. It is useful not only for self-understanding but also identifies particular strengths, challenges, self-deceptions or myths associated with our personality type. It provides a wide range of developmental material specifically designed for emotional advancement of each type.

The Enneagram helps us:

  • - to understand what motivates and drives our behavior,
  • - to understand the behavior of others in our lives,
  • - to be more effective in our interactions with others,
  • - to be more successful in managing our thoughts, feelings and behaviors,
  • - to understand specifically how our personality is a coping strategy,
  • - to tap into the totality of who we are by loosening the constraints of our personality,
  • - to be a more effective parent through understanding our children’s personality types,
  • - to be a more effective manager by speaking the motivational language of those we supervise, and
  • - to be more compassionate and effective in dealing with challenging people of all walks of life.

Dr. Franklin utilizes the Enneagram in Individual, Couples and Group therapies and has had hundreds of hours of training with the leaders in this field including Dr. David Daniels, Helen Palmer, Richard Riso, Russ Hudson, Richard Rhor, and Thomas Condon.

Divorce Mediation

If a couple has decided to dissolve their marriage, mediation is a process that is much less traumatic and costly than litigation. The mediation process involves a Lawyer Mediator who represents both parties and a Psychologist Mediator who addresses the emotional issues that invariably arise during mediation. Marriage dissolution can become very costly, especially when emotions complicate and prolong the process of crafting settlement and custody agreements. By addressing these issues as they arise, the Psychologist Mediator can prevent them from derailing or drawing out the process and incurring greater cost. The Lawyer Mediator and the Psychologist Mediator are both committed to neutrality and maintain the utmost respect for both clients during this very difficult time in their lives.

Collaborative Practice Divorce Psychologist Coach and Case Coordination

Divorce mediation is hampered or even made impossible if the couple is experiencing a high level of conflict or a power imbalance. The Collaborative Divorce Process addresses this situation and creates a fair dissolution that is still much less costly and contentious than litigation. The Collaborative Divorce process employs a team of professionals to create a safe and structured environment for both individuals. Each spouse has their own lawyer team member who reflects his or her interests in a collaborative, non-contentious manner.

Divorce is most often contentious, destructive, lengthy and expensive when unresolved emotional issues are present. The Psychologist Coach identifies and addresses these emotional issues to keep the divorce process on track. The coach works with each client to develop constructive language and effective conflict resolution skills. If children are involved, the coach facilitates effective co-parenting and helps to formulate a mutually agreeable co-parenting plan. The coach also serves as case coordinator for the whole team, keeping the process on track with forward momentum. Other team members may include a forensic accountant and/or a child specialist if needed. The team as a whole is committed to neutrality and works for both clients to create a fair and efficient dissolution.

Co-Parenting Mediation

Parenting is the most important job many of us will ever have. It can also be the most challenging, especially when the parents no longer live together. Co-parenting coordination is a child-focused process that provides a safe and neutral environment for parents to discuss and make decisions that are in the best interest of their children. It also provides a setting for parents to receive individualized parenting education that will meet the unique needs of each child. Parents receive instruction on how to relate to each other in a way that is most beneficial for their children.

Dr. Michelle Franklin offers psychotherapy, counseling, group therapy, divorce mediation, and family therapy services to clients in the Santa Cruz and the Greater San Francisco Bay Area.