Survivor's Guilt

Survivors Guilt


Survivor's Guilt: Real Consequences to Surviving a Traumatic Event | By Sally Peterson, LCSW

A mass shooting takes multiple lives.  A sinking tour boat kills 17.  A flash flood, raging wildfire, extreme heat swallow the lives of the innocent.  Such travesties are flooding the headlines. 

These losses are real. They are devastating. Our hearts go out to the families and loved ones of the lost. We, as mere recipients of the news, try to make sense of the randomness. 

But what about the person who was in that boat and made it out alive?  What about the one who dodged the array of flying bullets while those around her took their last breath?  

Is Survivor Guilt Real?

Oftentimes those who survive find themselves asking, “Why me?”  “Why did I survive while my father, my brother died?”  Feeling guilt over surviving a travesty that took others’ lives is real; so much so that there is a term for it:  survivor guilt. 

Survivor guilt is powerful and can drastically impact a person’s mood, the way he looks at and functions in the world, and the way she looks at herself.   While survivor guilt is not a clinical diagnosis, its impact on a person can be. Some may experience PTSD, depression, and/or complicated grief. Turning to drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, or another addiction may follow as a way to try to cope with one’s overwhelmingly intolerable emotions. 

What Do I Do With This Guilt?

If you have survived a tragedy that’s taken another’s life, it’s crucial that you understand that IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT and YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE.  Allow yourself to sit in the deep sadness and reality of losing a loved one, an acquaintance, another human being. It’s only by moving through these intense emotions that you can come out the other side. Journal, run, punch into a pillow to release those strong emotions. Be honest, and yes, vulnerable, with a trusted friend.  Allow yourself to receive the kindness and love offered by another because you are worthy and deserving.

How Do I Know If I Need Professional Help?

If you find yourself stuck, hopeless, depressed, sleepless, hypervigilent, avoidant, isolated, moody or anxious; if relationships become strained or neglected; if it takes every ounce in you to go to work or school; if you find yourself just unable to cope with daily life; reach out to a professional for help. You have experienced real, legitimate trauma.  If you have experienced other unresolved traumas in your life (which many of us have) this most recent event can add yet another layer of complexity to the healing process.  Oftentimes trauma requires the assistance of someone who is specially trained to walk you through it and successfully to the other side. Don't suffer in silence.  In courage and strength reach out.  Help is available. 

To begin or continue your healing, contact Sally at  or 619-333-0369


Binge Streaming and Psychotherapy - Our Cultures Desire For Now


Binge Streaming and Psychotherapy - Our Cultures Desire For Now, By David Fulton

In a world before iPhones, apps and Instagram I made a trip to the local Best Buy. It was 2005 and I was expecting to have a minor surgery. The recovery time lent itself to enjoying movies or TV shows in abundance. I had heard so many great things about this new show on ABC called Lost and decided to purchase season one’s DVD’s. No Blue-ray or high definition, just twenty-five episodes of what I thought would be standard television. Following my procedure, I settled in with my liquids, blankets, and three days of free time to rest to begin this curious journey into a group of people stranded on a mysterious island. One episode turned into two, two turned into four, and four turned into the entire first season in one sitting! So much for rest and recovery. 

It was amazing television! With each episode’s cliff hangers and shocking endings, I could do something I had never done before. I could simply press a button on my remote and instantly be back into the drama and the answer (Lost has few) to my edge of the couch anxiety. I did not have to wait a week to see what was going to happen next. In many ways binge watching took away the decades long process of week to week viewing and launched us into a world of being immersed in immediacy.

 It was brilliant and highly addictive.

Binge streaming has taken some of the “work” it required to be a viewer. Traditional week to week viewing allowed us space and time to reflect on the story, dialogue with others for potential plot twists and gave the story time to marinade in our minds. This is why psychotherapy is most effective occurring on a weekly basis. Therapy then becomes the place we dialogue about the week, process how the past impacts the present and assess the life you want to live. Binging takes away engagement with the material. It also absolves us of wrestling with ourselves and our own story in a way that disengages interest and moves into indulgence. Single handedly, Netflix has become the biggest buffet in the world except they do not serve mediocre prime rib or General Tso’s chicken but rather stories. And stories give us the opportunity to have one foot in the story and one foot in our lives. Story allows us to see ourselves in the characters and yet remain removed from situations and intensity. Our tears, joys and ambivalence regarding scenes and characters mirror a part of ourselves that we have resolved or are working toward resolving. If this process is rushed we fail to let the story penetrate our story and thus are robbed of its full potential.

Being in consistent weekly or bi-weekly psychotherapy requires a similar buy in. It requires us to look in, look back and look forward with the information we have regarding the first two.  And if rushed, this process flies over potential pieces of information which could be the key process to unlocking our story. One key piece of data in a movie or TV show can change the whole narrative arc. It is the therapists task to engage your story, and in many ways, be a relational historian of the character you have been and imagine newness amidst pain.

We want everything now. The crazy thing is now with a swipe or a click we can have any food we want delivered, a ride at our door in moments, or even gasoline delivered to our car while we sleep.  All of these apps providing ease and convenience are designed to do one thing…making life easier by removing some of the work. Now don’t get me wrong, these apps can be a lovely form of self-care providing ease amidst stressful moments. However, boiled out they speak to a larger reality in our culture that comes with an inscribed subtext of instant gratification. If we take our consumption mindset into the therapeutic process we rob ourselves of the struggle. The struggle is what makes a show.  The struggle is where the growth is. The process takes time.

Take your pick…slow cooked ribs or microwaved ribs, baking homemade cookies or buying store bought Chips Ahoy.

We crave the 6 minute abs advertisements but we know the answer isn’t with ease…the answer is found in the work. Showing up. Doing the work. Being consistent. But most importantly not doing it alone. Hence the success of CrossFit or other group based fitness classes. Which is why your therapist is with you. To bear witness to the unfolding drama of your life. It is like I tell clients…buckle up and grab some snacks and a good playlist because we are going on a long road trip. Often the scenery will be dull and uneventful and other times we will be glued to the window gasping in awe at the beauty behind every turn. But it is both the mundane moments and the breathtaking views that create the context for change and that process must not be rushed.  Nayyirah Waheed writes, “Be easy. Take your time. You are coming home. To yourself.”

What is Spiritual Direction?


What is Spiritual Direction? By Laurie Wevers

In my work as both a therapist and spiritual director, I often get the question, “what is spiritual
direction?” Asking this question was also a part of my own journey. While in college, I lived
through some painful, confusing experiences which caused me to turn my back on my own faith
tradition and left me feeling like I was left with no spiritual grounding. I had no idea who to turn
to. I needed someone to sit with me and my questions and not just give me packaged answers.
A wise professor at the time noticed these changes in me and suggested that I go see a spiritual
director. This was my moment to ask, “what is spiritual direction?” I’m honestly not sure how my
professor answered, but what I do know is that the experience of spiritual direction
saved/expanded my spirituality and continues to take me deeper even today.

So what is spiritual direction? I think there are many ways to explain the answer to this question,
so I’ll do my best with narrowing it down as best I can. Spiritual direction is the practice of being
with people as they attempt to deepen their relationship with the Divine, or to learn and grow in
their own personal spirituality. The person seeking direction shares stories of his or her
encounters of the Divine, or how he or she is cultivating a life attuned to spiritual things. The
director listens and asks questions to assist the “directee” in his or her process of reflection and
spiritual growth. The questions asked by a director are meant to expand the directee’s
perception/awareness/consciousness of the situation, and not aimed at fixing or giving answers.
Spiritual direction differs from therapy in that it is not goal-oriented like therapy often is, and
generally meets less often. Traditional spiritual direction meets once per month for one hour.
For some, spiritual direction can be an excellent compliment to the therapy experience.

In order to help paint a wider picture of what spiritual direction is like, I have asked two of
mydirectees to answer three different questions surrounding their experience with spiritual

Directee #1
Q1. How would you describe spiritual direction?
A. I would liken it to a coffee date with a trusted confidant, but in a cozy office, on a couch
instead of a clamoring espresso lounge. I am free to honestly talk about parts of my life that are
impacted by my faith. Sometimes I share how I am sensing God move in my life; other times I
talk about how I feel lost, conflicted or confused. All the while my spiritual director patiently
listens, questions, and reflects back what she’s hearing unfold in my journey.

Q2. What made you decide to see a spiritual director?
A. I had been seeing a therapist for almost two years and some significant areas of my progress
and healing revolved around spiritual matters. Although my therapist was more than willing and
capable to address these issues in our sessions, I thought it would be more helpful to have sessions dedicated solely to working through spiritual territory where I felt stuck or unhealthy.
Many of my views of God were far too narrow and were keeping me from living wholeheartedly
and authentically. When I discovered that beliefs that once helped me were now causing
distress for me, I knew I needed a guide to listen to walk with me as I navigated new ways of
living and believing.

Q3. How has the experience been beneficial for you?
A. Ironically, it is a very reassuring and clarifying experience! It’s so different than meeting with a
pastor or other religious leader because my director doesn’t focus on giving me a ton of
answers. I feel more freedom and peace since working with my spiritual director to untangle
unhelpful beliefs. I also feel more open to changes in my relationship with God.

Directee #2
Q1. How would you describe spiritual direction?
A. Spiritual direction is a mix of therapy, Scripture study, and meditation with the goal of
increased self-awareness and inner growth.

Q2. What made you decide to see a spiritual director?
A. For me, this was a transition out of normal therapy to a less regular, less structured practice.

Q3. How has the experience been beneficial for you?
A. This has been the impetus to one of the hardest walks I’ve done in my life which overall has
been GREAT. I often get more from spiritual direction and the aftershocks during the following
weeks than church as of late.

As you can see, the experience of spiritual direction can be experienced differently for each
individual. One of these directees was also a part of a spiritual direction group that I ran which
included two other participants, where we learned to listen and ask good questions for each
other without needing to “fix.” Both individual and group spiritual direction have proven to be
rich, intimate experiences for the participant.

I hope this brief explanation has given you a better picture of what is meant by the concept of
spiritual direction. I am happy to answer any questions and/or set you up for your first spiritual
direction session/group!

Laurie Wevers, MA, LMFT
Certification in Spiritual Direction
P. 651-726-4940

Here and Now Through EMDR Therapy

Throughout my journey as an EMDR and Resiliency Therapist Associate a new mindset has emerged within me about “Trauma, Therapy, and Mindfulness.” I will be discussing these discoveries in the Here and Now blog series through the EMDR perspective. This blog is not therapy. Please contact our staff to set up your appointment for a phone consultation with myself or one of our trained EMDR Clinicians. I hope you enjoy. Please email any feedback to

Part 1: Defining the Buzz Words: Trauma Therapy

Trauma is quite a buzz word in the 21st century and usually brings up images of wounded warriors or survivors of natural disasters. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy, known as EMDR, is an evidence-based treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). However, EMDR as a therapeutic approach is highly effective in treating the full continuum of anxiety conditions and current life disturbances. A new and prominent theme of psychological science supports traumatic events are not always as concrete as life or death experiences.

Trauma, by definition, is Greek for "wound" or "to be wounded." In the psychological sphere, a wound is anything which created pain within the individual.  Interestingly, only the individual has the ability to identify their wounds. These traumatic memories block us from being here and now in the present moment because present-day anxieties are strongly linked to these painful early life memories and the beliefs we created.

“Therapy” has also become a hip buzz word fully integrated into our modern language as something soothing. It is a word used casually in regards to hitting the gym, petting a dog or even grabbing a delicious cup of coffee. While these examples can certainly be soothing, therapy is far more than an activity we enjoy or a behavior which increases pleasure. Therapy is actually short for psychotherapy. It started out as the talking cure in the early 1900’s for the gravely disturbed and has since evolved into a healing space for the development of self, the enrichment of relationships and relief from anxiety and other mental health concerns.  Today, psychotherapy is defined as “a treatment intended to relieve or heal disturbance,” and such treatment leads to a whole and happier life.

If we connect our definition of Trauma (WOUND) and Therapy (HEAL) we arrive at the purpose of EMDR and Trauma Therapy which is to heal our wounds. When stated so simply, trauma therapy isn’t just for the prisoners of wars. It is for anyone who has felt neglected, afraid, unloved, unsafe, out of control or hurt. To date, I have not met another human being who is without psychological pain because it is a fundamental aspect of the human experience to be wounded and it is our nature to HEAL.

What I have discovered is our bodies and minds want to heal and we are geared toward health! EMDR Therapy capitalizes on our amazing potential for growth and re-establishes our roots Here and Now. It is a scientific yet holistic path to profoundly heal. Who among us has never been hurt? Id say very few, which is why EMDR and trauma therapy is for more then just the most severe forms of trauma. EMDR is for us all!


Stay tuned for part 2: “Is your past haunting your present?”

Staff Highlight: Interview with Laurie Wevers


Meet Laurie Wevers, LMFT(#103214) and Spiritual Director! 

1. What is your favorite thing to do in San Diego?

Taking long walks on the beach (I'm not joking ;) and watching sunsets

2. What book are you currently reading?

I'm currently in the middle of three: The Naked by Richard Rohr, The Sacred Enneagram by Christopher Heuertz, and Bitten by a Camel, by Kent Dobson.

3. What do you love about being a therapist?

I love journeying with clients who dare to trust me with their most vulnerable stories; it's an honor and a true joy. The work of a therapist is also not just a one-way street; I also enjoy learning from the vast experiences of my clients.

4. What types of clients do you work with?

My particular niche includes working with adults who have experienced some sort of trauma, but most specifically sexual abuse. When someone experiences trauma, it ripples out to other areas in the body/mind/spirit. As a spiritual director who is also trained in trauma therapy called EMDR, I am able to work with trauma using a multi-faceted approach. In addition to trauma, I work with women through issues of singleness, and with anyone needing a safe space to talk about his/her own sexuality.

5. Favorite Quote?

"Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke

6. How can new clients contact you?

Phone: 651.433.6276


Staff Highlight : Interview with Ellie Wells, MFTI


Meet Cultivate Therapist :      Ellie Wells, MFTI

1) What's your favorite thing to do in San Diego?

I am a huge foodie! I love looking up San Diego bloggers or culinary websites to find new and old local gems. 

2. What book are you currently reading?

In my doctoral program, I am reading multiple books written by some of the most influential founders of psychology such as Sigmund Freud, Carl Rogers, and John Bowlby. Although leisurely reading rarely happens because of school, I am currently reading Passionate Marriage: Keeping Love and Intimacy Alive in a Committed Relationship by Dr. David Schnarch. I just can't help reading anything outside of the realm of therapy! 

3. What do you love about being a therapist? 

Being a therapist is special and sacred. I love walking alongside my clients as they navigate through their vulnerabilities and underlying belief systems that prohibit them from living a life of authenticity and fulfillment. I am truly honored to be in the presence of someone's journey, finding home in themselves. 

4. What type of clients do you work with? 

I work with individuals and couples of all ages and from all walks of life. Additionally, I work with the LGBTQ+ population, gender identity issues, sexual identity issues, and at-risk youth. 

5. What is your favorite quote? 

“Transformation doesn’t ask that you stop being you. It demands that you find a way back to the authenticity and strength that’s already inside of you. You only have to bloom.”- Cheryl Strayed

6. How can new clients contact you? or (616)-786-5864

Staff Highlight : Interview with Kelly Counts, MFTI



1) What is your favorite thing to do in San Diego?

I absolutely love spending time at the beach with my family. I love to paddle board in the bay, snorkel in La Jolla Cove, sail the coast, sunbathe, and play in the surf. 

2) What book are you currently reading?

I am reading and studying "EMDR and Boarderline Personality Disorder" by Dolores Mosqerea. My professional reading is usually saturated with books about EMDR. In my free time I enjoy fantasy, science fiction, and young adult series. I am currently reading the Game of Thrones Series. 

3) What do you love about being a therapist?

EMDR is my greatest passion, both in theory and practice. As an EMDR Therapist, I get to join and guide my clients through deep and adaptive learning processes which allow them to come awake to the here and now. It is an honor, a privilege, and quite an exhilarating experience. I love being apart of the experience and giving this life changing gift to my clients. 

4) What types of clients do you work with? 

I work with trauma in all capacities using the full EMDR modality. All capacities means past or present incidents ranging from early life neglect and abuse, sexual assault, combat, natural disasters, loss and death, car accidents and relationship injuries. I work with adult and adolescent individuals. 

5) What is your favorite quote? 

"Out of your vulnerabilities will come your greatest strength." Dr. S. Freud

6) How can new clients contact you?


Staff Highlight : Interview with Heather Pederson, MFTI


Meet Cultivate Therapist: Heather Pederson, MFTI

1) What is your favorite thing to do in San Diego?

I love trying new restaurants in San Diego. The diversity of cultures represented is what originally drew me to San Diego.  

2) What book are you currently reading? 

I am currently reading three books (my mood determines which one I pick up) : Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, The Polyvagal Theory by Stephen Porges, and Morning Star by Pierce Brown.

3) What do you love about being a therapist?

I love witnessing people grow in their ability to tend and care for themselves and their relationships in more fulfilling ways. 

4) What types of clients do you work with? 

I work with individuals and couples seeking deeper connections, healthy boundaries, less anxiety, and more awareness of their true selves.

5) What is your favorite quote? 

"Give dignity"- motivational speaker. Giving dignity (to ourselves and others) is essential to resolving any difficult interaction. I have found that when we attune to the innate dignity within each of us, restoration occurs. 

6) How can new clients contact you?


What Number are You? | Discussing the Enneagram


Has anyone ever asked you the question - what is your number? As you may or may not already know, this question refers to the 9 types of the Enneagram – an ancient tool that has become popular as people search for wholeness and meaning in their lives. The Enneagram and its corresponding 9 types or numbers help to put words to how you see the world and function in it. It speaks to not only significant personality traits but also your fears, blind spots, strengths, and perceived needs that often drive and influence the way you navigate the world.

The Enneagram is based on universal truths that can be found in many of the world’s religions and philosophical teachings. It is a remarkably accurate tool to help you uncover your number and subsequently grow through the study of what your number naturally tends to need, fear, desire, and pursue. Part of its’ secret to success is that it assesses your weaknesses as well as your strengths - most of us are more comfortable recognizing where we fail. The Enneagram helps us create a map for personal growth that most of us long for and need in order to grow in our giving and receiving of love to both others and ourselves.  

Dr. Beatrice Chestnut put it this way: “every personality is a defense against love.” By discovering your number you can become more aware of where you put your walls up, and start feeling more connected to yourself and others.  We all long to be truly heard and seen for who we are, and the best and most authentic version of yourself might be hiding behind the defenses of a number between 1 and 9.

[To take the Enneagram test go to: (RHETI $12) or

Please note that the results of your test should just be a jumping off point in pointing towards finding the number that fits you best. We would suggest that after taking the test you would spend some time reading a brief or detailed description of all 9 types and with a close friend or partner coming to your final determination about the number in which you most identify. We have found that paying attention to the fears and desires of each of the numbers can be a very telling indicator of your type.

Here is a brief summary of each of the personality types on the Enneagram. Consider reading each description, sitting with it for a minute, and reflecting on whether or not it resonates with you, or possibly someone you know:

1     Reformer:  Rational, idealistic type; principled, purposeful, self-controlled, and perfectionistic

2     Helper: Caring, interpersonal type: demonstrative, generous, people-pleasing and possessive

3     Achiever: Success-oriented, pragmatic type: adaptive, excelling, driven and image-conscious.

4     Individualist: Sensitive, withdrawn type: expressive, dramatic, creative, and temperamental. Attuned to their emotional landscape

5     Investigator: Intense, cerebral type: perceptive, innovative, observant, learners, secretive and isolated.

6     Loyalist: Committed, security-oriented type: engaging, responsible, anxious and suspicious.

7     Enthusiast: Busy, fun-loving type: spontaneous, versatile, distractible and scattered.

8     Challenger: Powerful, dominating type: self-confident, decisive, willful and confrontational.

9     Peacemaker: Easygoing, self-effacing type: receptive, reassuring, agreeable and complacent.

The Enneagram Institute (2017)


We would love for you to join us at our Enneagram Workshop to continue to learn and grow in the knowledge of yourself and others. We will be focusing specifically on how we can use the Enneagram as a tool to help enhance and deepen our realtionships with our partners, family, friends, and co-workers. 

November 3rd, 6:30pm -8:30pm at the warm and inspiring, Communal Coffee. $20 includes craft coffee and a sweet treat ($15 for students).

To sign-up purchase your ticket here:


The Therapeutic Relationship | By Jessica Sapp


The Therapeutic Relationship

A therapeutic relationship is the relationship between a client and their therapist.  These are easily one of the strangest relationships that exist.  A client pays a person to be their soundboard, guide, confidant, teacher, advocate, and safe haven.  It can be a confusing pouring your soul out to someone, trusting them with your deep well of your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, when you know that after an hour passes you will proceed to pull out money to pay them. Not to mention the pressure you might feel to instantly open up.  For one, because you want to get better, heal, or begin the restoration process.  And two, you are paying for this, so you want to dig deep fast and quickly.  However, like any relationship, it takes time to develop and blossom. 

When I first walked into my therapist’s office I felt guarded, scared, and anxious.  My foot bounced a mile per minute.  I gave brief responses and couldn’t wait until the hour was up. It wasn’t until after many sessions passed that I started to look forward to meeting with my therapist.  I would be lying if I told you that our sessions were easy, that there were no tears, or that I didn’t face the painful things of my past that haunted me. But through the challenges and pain my therapist and I found a rhythm.  With my willingness to be vulnerable, she began to truly understand and know me as a whole person.  Unlike my family and friends who only saw the side of me I felt they would accept, I let her in to all parts of me.

            I eventually looked forward to our sessions because we had established a safe relationship. I had never met someone more genuine, empathetic, and nonjudgmental.  I felt comfortable in her office to be myself.  Anger, yelling, tears, guilt, shame, fear, ambivalence, joy, and laughter were not off limits. It was a space for me to explore my past and see growth in my present.  Having the motivation to be raw and real with my therapist took courage and strength.  But once I was able to be myself without any masks, transformation started to happen.  With the support of my therapist, I was able to make leaps and bounds on my journey to wholeness. 

Having a therapeutic relationship can indeed feel awkward and unnatural at times. But if you are willing to lean into the discomfort, you will likely find that a strong therapeutic relationship is one that brings an immense amount of healing along with it. 

By Jessica Sapp - Psychology Student Intern from PLNU

Art Journaling - October 1st 2-4pm


I have vivid memories of my own experience of art journaling for the first time. I was in college and was in the midst of a crisis of faith and vocation. Words had lost their ability to comfort and bring about meaning. Out of desperation, I stepped outside of my comfort zone and stared at a stark white canvas with a variety of utensils at hand. With one brush stroke and awkward pencil drawing at a time, my grieving soul began to take shape on that canvas. What I began to see were things that had been hidden from my plain sight, but were bright and exposed in my subconscious. I began to see hope amidst my despair and began to hold myself with greater love and compassion.

Art journaling, like verbal journaling, is a way to record what's happening in your life. But instead of words, art journaling involves using your inner vision / imagination to reflect a thought, feeling, or emotional reaction through color, shape, or image. The act of using art allows the journaler to see in graphic form what was initially abstract or hidden. If you're naturally a visual person, this mode of journaling is especially powerful for you.

ANY ARTISTIC ABILITY WELCOME (even if you feel you have none)

What the workshop will look like:

- Guided inner reflection to help come up with an image to create

- Open time/space to create the image on paper (using a variety of mediums)

- Guided reflection on the image created

- Personal reflection and group sharing

You won't regret trying this! Twelve years later and I'm still journaling through art and encountering my deeper self.

Join me October 1st from 2-4pm - Art Journal and art supplies included in cost of $40. Email us at to sign up 

- Laurie Wevers, LMFT/ Spiritual Director

Come To Cultivate's Open HOUSe


Mi Casa Su Casa

Here at cultivate, we are pretty excited. Why, might you ask? Well because we are getting ready to open up our "home" to our friends, family and community. We have fallen in love with this space that strives to create warmth, inspiration, and wholeness- and to get the honor to share it with all of you, is so exciting for us.

Here's what we are excited to experience with you at Cultivate's open house:

- We can't wait for you to meet our team of therapists. We work with some really incredible therapists with a wide range of specialties. And not only that, but with therapists who are committed to being healthy themselves. Look for us all in our Cultivate shirts on the day of the open house, to know who is on the team at cultivate.

- Our space was designed with the intention of being enjoyed and experienced. When we dreamed up the space, we had some big goals for it. We worked with an incredible designer who knew our dream of having a warm and inspiring space, and he helped us create an environment we believe can be healing before you even start your session. We are so looking forward to sharing this space with you!

- Something we value in our lives is not only doing life with others, but sitting down for a meal with others. We believe there is something to this practice that brings out unity, generosity and just a sense of safe community. And so while, unfortunately, we won't get to sit down to a full meal together, we are excited to sit with you over donuts and coffee and share life for a moment.

We look forward to gathering with you on the 20th to show you around our "home."


Bethany, Lindsay, Ingvild, Hannah, Laurie, Sally, Kelly, Ellie & Heather

Open House at Cultivate:
August 20, 2017, 4-8pm
4406 Park Blvd. San Diego 92116

Hey there, I'm Laurie. I'm 33 years old and I'm single. Why does this sound like I'm at an AA meeting?? I think it's because as single people, we hear from many different sources (faith communities, media, culture) that there is something wrong with us. I don't think these sources mean to imply there is something wrong with us, but it feels implied in a variety of ways.

I used to hold so strongly to the belief that I would only find happiness and fulfillment once I found a husband. When that didn't happen for me over time, I realized I needed to find a new way to find personal happiness, contentment, and fulfillment. If I'm honest, I wish I could tell you this process was easy and painless. It was not. It was easier to fill my loneliness and lack of worthiness with men...even men I didn't even like dating; because having someone was better than having no one.

Now that I have been able to walk through a process of surrender and looking at my own insecurities, I have come to a new place. Yes, I would still love to be married, but at this point I have landed in a place where I believe deep contentment and fulfillment is still present for me, whether I'm married or not. No, I'm not in denial. I've just made peace with all of the messages that tell me I'm "less-than" as a single woman. Now my own voice is the loudest in the room, and I feel light and free. Singleness is NOT my identity; it's now just one of the many beautiful things that makes me ME.

But we can't do this alone ladies. We need to gather our wounded, lonely hearts and help each other find our true selves TOGETHER. So here's a start. I'll be offering a group for single women beginning in July (start date TBD). There will be a group for women in their 20's, and a group for women in their 30's. We'll talk about surrender. We'll talk about our wounds. We'll talk about our sexuality (which isn't dead, by the way). We'll laugh and tell stories. We will grow and become more whole in community.

So...all my single ladies...who's with me?

Laurie :)

PS - for more information and to register, email Laurie at: 





All the Single Ladies
Cultivate: A Counseling Collective

When: Once per month on Mondays beginning July 2017
What this event IS: a supportive community space for women wanting to grow in contentment in the season of singleness and grow closer to God in the process.  
Who: Single women who have never been married in their 20's and 30's. There will be a group for those in their 20's and a group for those in their 30's
What this event is NOT: a 12-step program to land you a spouse.

Topics will include:
How to interact with God and our longings

Cost: $35 per group meeting
Summer beverages and light snacks included

For more information or to sign up, email Laurie at:



There are so many reasons that connection and attachment with your child or teen is absolutely necessary. Today we will focus on one reason that will likely resonate with many parents of teens especially.

[reason: connection enables us to give input to our child that is actually received]

Parenting a teenager is no easy job. They are often no eager to take advice, hear wisdom, or simply to do what you want them to do.

But yet again... that's not always the case. It doesn't have to be that way. Now don't get me wrong, they will always be teenagers. They will still be going through the stage where they are figuring out who they are separate from their parents. However, there are moments, when they want to and will look to their safe attachment figures to help them figure out the hard times they are in.

There are two big problems that keep us from being able to be successful in the moments where our teens are looking for guidance.

1. We offer advice, solutions and input unsolicited on a regular basis, so they no longer want to hear it.

2. The connection with the parent is strained, thus no matter how wonderful the advice, it's hard to hear.

A wonderful podcast, TrueFace, put it this way, "Truth that is not trusted does not transform no matter how valuable that truth is." The reality is, we can not demand to be heard or have our thoughts considered. We must earn the right to be heard by our kids and teens. And we do that through creating and nurturing a trusting connection with our kids and teens.

This might be frustrating, as parents often feel that whole, "well I'm the parent, they need to listen and obey." True enough. But they can obey without actually hearing you and really internalizing your wisdom. That happens as a result of the connection in the relationship.

So our challenge to everyone who interacts with kids and teens is this- (through your trusting connection with your kid) earn the right to be heard.

By Bethany Noble-Lindsay - Contact her at


Premarital therapy is such an important element of preparing for marriage. Think about it this way: when you are issued a driver's license it is required that you log in "Behind the Wheel Training" in order to receive your license. We agree to this California state law because we believe that practice is important. We must learn and know what precautionary steps to take, how to be safe, and how to keep others safe when operating a vehicle.  The same is true for marriage. Most couples go into marriage blindly, not realizing that there are many things that can be learned and practiced to secure their marriage as well as contribute to marital satisfaction. 

Here are the top 10 reasons you should go to counseling before saying "I do":

1.  Statistically, you will have higher marital satisfaction

Couples who underwent premarital counseling before their wedding had a 30% higher marital satisfaction rate to those who did not attend counseling before their wedding. (Health Research Fund Statistic) 

2.  Premarital Counseling is only a fraction of your wedding budget

The average cost of a wedding is close to 25,000 (in San Diego it's 34,000). Counseling for an average of 8 sessions is only 1-5% of that total wedding cost. Remember to include counseling as part of your wedding budget.

3. Have a marriage more beautiful then your wedding day

Most things that you purchase for your wedding day are perishable outside of photography and a cinematography. The benefits, tools, and connection that you gain from premarital counseling are all things you can take with you into your marriage far past the wedding day.

4. Learn to love as an action rather than a feeling

Most people fall in love and marry someone because they believe that person can make them happy. The problem is there will be many seasons in your marriage that you are not happy, and possibly no longer "in love" with your spouse. Premarital counseling teaches you how to anticipate these seasons of marriage and how to choose to love your spouse even when you don't feel "in love". 

5. Beat the divorce statistic

It is no secret that the divorce rate in America is close to 50%. This fact leaves most people believing that marriage is a coin toss. The truth is, marriage is anything but a coin toss. There are many things you can do to damage-proof your marriage and bring that percentage way down. 

6. You are not the only ones impacted by a healthier marriage

A healthy marriage... leads to... a healthy family life... which leads to... healthy children ... which leads to...Your children's healthy marriages and families... which leads to...generations of families beyond yours that live into your legacy of having a healthy marriage and family...which leads to...A better and healthier world.

7. Unwind together

You get the opportunity to connect during the busy and often stressful wedding season. Taking time to recenter when you are busy can be a hard thing to prioritize. However, during this time, it is critical that you make time for each other. It is good practice for how you will make time for each other during the busy seasons of your marriage. Often my couples will make their weekly premarital therapy session a part of their date night/date day plan. It's the perfect way to unwind and focus on each other and your relationship. 

8. Learn to be a decisive couple

Recently, an article from the New York Times discovered that one of the greatest strengths of happily married people is their ability to be deliberate about discussing and processing life transitions together. They found that couples that just let inertia take them through life transitions are less satisfied in their marriages. Read the article here:

9. Predict possible areas of needed growth

While it can sometimes be scary to talk about issues that are present in the relationship, counseling is an opportunity to predict the weaker areas of your future marriage and create a plan to prevent such issues from coming between you and your future spouse. Through discussion and a survey test we will be able to predict those possible areas of growth for your marriage and spend extra time on those areas during your time in counseling. 

10. Learn how to connect deeper and fight better

We need 3 things from our spouse in order to feel connected to them. We need to feel like they are attentive, responsive, and engaged. Conversely, our spouse needs to experience these same 3 things from us in order to feel connected. When we don't feel attended to, responded to, or engaged with, we often are left feeling alone and unimportant to our significant other. In therapy, you will learn how to transform a moment of disconnection into an opportunity for connection. In addition to learning how to connect deeper, you will also learn how to have productive disagreements that will actually benefit your relationship rather then hurt it. A relationship without arguments is a relationship with a lot of secrets.

If you have any questions or would like a free 15 minute phone consult with a  premarital therapist at CULTIVATE contact us at or inquire below.  

Name *



Welcome to Cultivate

waiting room


It is our mission to create a warm and inspiring path to wholeness for each and every client who walks through our doors. CULTIVATE is the dream of a collective of therapists with a deep desire to open a therapeutic practice centered around providing quality therapy that is warm, inviting and will enable you to live the whole and thriving life for which you were made.

 Our commitment is to provide a safe and nurturing space for you to take a well-deserved break from your busy life to focus on your individual and relational needs. Whether you are struggling to connect in your relationship, burdened by anxiety or depression, stunted by trauma or addiction, looking to process your identity or life phase, or desiring to explore the ways your past life experiences and relationships have shaped who you are and your interactions with the world – we are here for you.  We hope to walk that journey with you towards healing and wholeness.  



You may contact us by email at or by phone at 619.770.8603 to schedule an appointment and find a therapist that is perfectly suited to your personal needs.




We are opening our door on May 15th, 2017! Our mission is to ensure that every person we come in contact with, from our blog readers to our clients, would experience warmth, inspiration and growth. We look forward to connecting with you! 

-The Cultivate Team