Switch to Accessible Site
Stephan Zusman, Ph.D.
Therapy for Individuals and Couples

Encino, CA Therapist

Stephan Zusman, Ph.D.

15720 Ventura Blvd.
Suite #602A

Encino, CA 91436

Tel: 818-986-4656
California Psychology License #PSY4474

[email protected]

Services Provided

Providing individual and couples counseling for adults

Treatment specialties include: anxiety, stress, relationship and communications problems, self esteem and insecurity issues, trauma, loss, PTSD, overwhelm, mind/body issues.

Do you have issues with self esteem or shame?  Do you feel insecure, inadequate, ashamed?  Do you doubt yourself, feel intimidated, think you're not good enough or don't measure up?  Do you beat yourself up internally or feel defeated or feel like a failure when someone does not not respond to you as you would wish?  
Is your relationship in a rut, not fulfilling, or lacking in the love that originally brought you and your partner together?  Is your relationship "boring you to death? "  Is it combative or in a total mess?  Are you and your partner speaking different languages, tripping over the same phrases time and time again, or reacting to each others' words because you know their statements are "deadly?"
Do you fell like life is just too much and worry, feel anxious, ruminate, or sometimes feel paralyzed, frozen or numb?  Do you feel panic, or find yourself drifting off from the task at hand?  Do you find it hard to stay in the present?

These are some of the many issues that Dr. Zusman has helped people deal with over the past 35 years.  In addition, Dr. Zusman, when requested, combines traditional forms of psychotherapy with  more interactive approaches.  He believes that the most important element for theraputic growth is to listen to and understand.  He also practices three specialized forms of treatment that may be appropriate in certain situations and is always subject to the patient's willingness to explore a less traditional approach.

Brainspotting

Brainspotting is a trauma treatment and psychotherapy technique developed by Daviv Grand in the early 2000's.  This technique helps people focus on problems which our brains have not solved.  Our brain is the central mechanism which regulates us: it tells us when we are hungry, sleepy, need to act/respond, etc.  It processes and regulates everything that happens to us, including helping us to "digest" emotional and traumatic experiences.  When the brain cannot digest some piece of our experience ( because the experience is too traumatic or stressful), that area of ou experience becomes stuck in various areas of the brain in an undigested, unprocessed form.  Brainspotting attempts to access these areas of the brain through the visual field.  In other words, looking in a particular direction will help you stay focused on the activation which is associated with the "undigested" or traumatric material, while looking in a different direction will not help.  By staying focused on the relevant spot (or spots), you give your brain a chance to renew or complete the processing and "digesting" that were initially interrupted and aborted.  The processing is done at a subcortical level, meaning that "thinking", associated with the cerebral cortex, is minimized.  Instead, the processing is done in what could be described as a "focused meditation" through an awareness of feelings, body sensations, images, insights, memories and intuitions.

Brainspotting can be used to treat a wide variety of problems, including trauma.  Dr. Zusman is trained in Brainspotting and would be glad to help you evaluate its' potential usefulness for you.

Somatic Experiencing.
Based upon the work of Peter Levine, Somatic Experiencing is a body-awareness approach to healing trauma.  It is a technique that is based on the body's "flight or fight" response that is built into our nervous systems.  The body uses this response to handle danger ant threat such that when danger appears, the system takes over and causes us to either fight or flee.  Under normal circumstances, the system mobilizes in the presence of a threat, and then relaxes/discharges when the threat subsides.  If the system malfunctions, however, as it may do in the case of an overwhelming threat, or a threat that is present for an extended period of time, symptoms may occur.   Examples of these types of threats include war, auto accidents, violent crime, physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, cases in which vulnerable children are exposed to the heated arguements of their parents, and the subtle, usually unintentional, rejection of children by their parents. Symptoms may include anxiety, panic, feelings of overwhelm, excessive feelings of helplessness or powerlessness, bouts of sleeplessness, and so on.  The symptoms may be of short duration, or they may become structured into the personality and actually become personality traits.  Somatic Experiencing attempts to eliminate both the short term and long term symptoms by re-regulating the nervous system using a body-awareness approach.
Dr. Zusman is certified as a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP).  He has also taken a multi-year course in Somatic Experiencing Touch Training in which touch is used to re-establish healthy energy flow that has been interrupted due to trauma.  

Bioenergetic Analysis
Bioenergetics is a body-oriented psychotherapy based on the work of Alexander Lowen.  It attempts to deal with both the psyche and the body in a relational/interpersonal psychotherapy that is oriented to both the body and the self.  Bioenergic Analysis is an intensely experiential form of psychotherapy.  Because of its attempt to free our bodies from the chronic body/psyche tensions and muscular holding patterns that imprison us, it often appeals to those who want a deeper and more freeing experience than is available in  verbal psychotherapy.
Dr. Zusman is available for consultation on whether Bioenergwtic Analysis may be an appropriate therapy for you.  He is a Certified Bioenergetic Therapist (CBT) and has been both a trainer and Director of Training of his professional society.