The First Appointment

Areas of Expertise

Therapy Style

First, I bring to the therapeutic process my own life journey, removing the warts of my own thinking and choices, the walls I had to scale or knock down, the willingness to be wrong, the daily desire to serve others and grow personally.

I also bring 25 years of helping individuals, couples, families and youth mitigate conflict by focusing on common goals, finding happiness through systematically choosing it, increasing personal power and confidence by practicing ways of thinking and behaving that work. I hope at the end of therapy every client experiences an increased sense of well-being and the knowledge to sustain it.

I will work within any religious or spiritual belief system, and I will work outside of any religious or spiritual belief system. A part of building our relationship is to honor your values and culture and to build your counseling experience around what is important in your life. I have counseled Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, Muslim, Bahai families and have been trained in several cultural traditions.

Hopefully along the way we will laugh more than we cry. We will celebrate a small success as though it were a Pulitzer Prize event, because celebration is soul food. It reminds us that we are already who we want to be. We were created with all the necessary answers. We are simply discovering those answers which were hidden inside. Gratitude keeps the process flowing, so we practice that, too.

The "treatment unit" may be an adult, a teen, a couple or sometimes the entire family. To achieve your goals, we may utilize one or several of the following types of therapy:

Brief Solution-Focused Therapy
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Depression and Anxiety
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
Therapies for Treating Trauma

These therapies are described below.


Brief Solution-Focused Therapy:

Solution Focused Therapy is a Cognitive Behavioral approach that is designed to be short term, usually 6 to 24 visits though I've even seen a couple leave therapy happily after only two visits! There are specific problems identified, and therapy terminates when the problems are resolved. You are the one who chooses the outcomes for your therapy. We have completed therapy when you believe that your goals have been met. Whether you are an individual, a couple or a family, we are partners in your journey toward resolution of the conflict.

A strict Solution-Focused model is not interested in historical information about individuals. I find that knowing your background is critical to my own effectiveness as a coach through the maze of the events that made you unique and formed your values, your beliefs, your accumulated wounds, your needs and desires. It tells me how your own journey has created and colored the landscape of who you are today. It helps me to see through your eyes as we embark on the exploration of solutions.

Solution-Focused Therapy is popular with couples. It is also the preferred approach for work related issues, major life decisions and teen problem solving.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Depression and Anxiety:


Depression in men, women and teens looks quite different in most cases. Men tend to express depression through anger while women have the more classic signs of tearfulness. Teens often have wide mood swings and are irritable (though teens without depression will also often exhibit plenty of these behaviors and attitudes!)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Antidepressants: The therapy approach that research has demonstrated to be most effective for treating depression is cognitive-behavioral coupled with antidepressant medications.

DBT Skills Training was designed and works well for my clients who are often overwhelmed with emotions. This is a combination workbook therapy and intense individual counseling to map new ways of responding to very painful life events. (DBT is a preferred modality for persons with frequent suicidal thoughts and attempts, self injurious behavior, eating disorders, and many recovering alcoholics and addicts.)

Some clients have opted for naturopathic alternatives to prescription medications and have found success. In the same way, not all clients respond to the same therapy style. The key is to work together and to be flexibile in designing your individual treatment plan for your symptoms.


Midwest Center for Anxiety and Depression:

This excellent program is a cognitive-behavioral approach to resolving many components of anxiety. I use the compontents of this program in designing a treatment plan for men, women and teens experiencing anxiety and panic attacks.

Anxiety has so many "faces" that it is difficult to pick just one therapeutic approach. Panic attacks, teen cutting, social phoboias, obsessive compulsive repetitive behaviors are all conditions in the anxiety family.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

For adults and teens experiencing overwhelming emotions, this therapy is useful. The client identifies stressors, negative thinking, and the emotions attached. DBT is a system with four basic components:

distress tolerance


emotion regulation

and interpersonal relationships.

This therapy has been effective for adults with chronic, severe depression and hopelessness, adults and teens with chronic suicidal ideation, anxiety-based behavior such as cutting, and a history of impulsive decision making.

Therapies for Treating Trauma

Inner Child work for trauma that happened in childhood.

Prolonged Exposure Therapy: The military research has shown this to be a highly effective therapy for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I was trained by the Center for Psychological Deployment in 2008 in this therapy.

Untreated trauma can be a terrifying and crippling burden which manifests in poor relationships, an inability to trust another or even yourself. It can include nightmares, flashbacks, irrational anger, pushing people away, an internal state of too much fear, being easily overwhelmed by emotions, and many other symptoms. Trauma results from feeling out of control and feeling that your life is threatened during an event. There are many causes of trauma. Trauma can include growing up alone and scared in a family that used and abused drugs, child abuse, domestic violence, sexual abuse, rape, having a gun held to your head, seeing a person shot or murdered, many wartime events.

The above examples are just a some of the ways a person can experience trauma. Your own trauma may be something other than any of these. It takes time to trust your therapist with your deepest secrets and fears. Ours is a commitment to stay the course to resolution, which can and almost always will happen, given time and determination. The client who commits to this process is already showing great courage


eating disorders

active substance abuse

custody issues


Gayle Bondy







23591 El Toro Rd Suite 106 | Lake Forest CA 92630

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