Survey Response: Jessica Oifer, MFT

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This survey was last updated in February 2014.

Degrees/Licenses Held:
I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. I hold a Masters degree (MA) in Psychology as well as a Masters in Business Administration.

Contact Information:
I have offices located in Marina del Rey and Sherman Oaks, CA.

Number of years in practice helping people with TMS:
Throughout my past four years in practice as a psychotherapist, I have worked with a variety of clients dealing with physical pain triggered by stress, trauma, depression and other emotional difficulties.

Number of clients you have seen who have had TMS:
I have worked with numerous clients dealing with the challenges of emotionally-induced physical symptoms, ranging from back, knee and shoulder pain to digestive issues, skin rashes, migraines, vertigo, nausea, as well as other physical symptoms.

What is your association to the TMS community?
In addition to working with TMS/PPD clients, I have suffered from TMS symptoms myself. I am a member of the TMS Wiki’s online community and practitioners’ group. Additionally, I have worked in collaboration with David Schechter, MD on the treatment of several TMS patients.

What insurance plans do you currently accept? Out of network.

Do you have a sliding scale of payment for people who are not covered by insurance? Yes, I do have some sliding scale slots available.

Are you able to conduct sessions over the phone and/or via internet video services (i.e. Skype or FaceTime)? Yes.

What have you done to educate yourself about TMS, and what plans do you have for further education about TMS?
I am continuously building my skills, and growing and learning as a therapist. I attend multiple trainings each year. Recently, I attended a conference on How Stress Causes Pain, which was run by Howard Schubiner, MD and Alan Gordon, LCSW, two experts in the treatment of TMS. I also am trained in the Trauma Resiliency Model, which is a mind-body approach that helps clients restore balance to their bodies and nervous systems after traumatic stress. I have found that incorporating this approach has been very effective in helping to relieve and reduce some of the symptoms experienced by TMS clients.

What mind-body books do you recommend to your patients? In particular do you recommend Dr. Sarno's books?
I definitely would recommend Dr. Sarno’s books: Healing Back Pain and The Divided Mind. Additionally, I recommend Freedom from Pain by Peter Levine, PhD and Maggie Phillips, PhD, Unlearn Your Pain by Howard Schubiner, MD, and Free to Love, Free to Heal Free to Love, by David Simon, MD.

Questions Specific to Therapists

What is your general psychotherapeutic treatment approach?
I use a variety of therapeutic approaches, depending upon the individual needs of my clients. I am trained in multiple therapeutic approaches, including psychodynamic therapy, mindfulness and somatic therapies. My process often includes non-judgmental exploration of my clients’ past and present experiences, as well as the development of concrete skills to reduce the physical and emotional symptoms that traumatic stress can have on the body and nervous system.

How does your approach to treating TMS differ from your general psychotherapeutic treatment approach?
Treatment for my TMS clients tends to be more short-term than in my general psychotherapy practice. In part, this shorter time frame is due to the highly focused nature of the treatment. I work with my clients to help them think about their pain differently, linking sensations to emotional or other psychological and experiential triggers. I also help my clients to find safe and healthy ways to connect with and express important (and sometimes previously repressed) emotions. Throughout the therapeutic process, I use tools such as mindfulness and other mind-body resources to help my clients cope with and reduce their painful symptoms.

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