Service Details

Individual, Couples and Family Psychotherapy

 

I provide individual, couples, and family psychotherapy by appointment for both face-to-face sessions, video conferencing or telephone consultations.

I believe therapy is at its best when it is relevant and responsive to the most important issues in your life today. Therefore, I let your problem determine the direction I take in helping you. My approach focuses on what you are doing right here and right now that will change your life. The more you are aware of what you are doing, the more you can attend to your needs and change your life. If there is unfinished business from your past, then I will help you to deal with it right here, right now.

I focus on solutions. I strive to create an atmosphere that promotes experimentation, exploration, and discovery. I am direct and solution-focused and provide feedback and practical suggestions when appropriate.

I help you discover your inner wisdom and new possibilities. The therapeutic experiences I design in our sessions assist you in integrating “disowned” parts of yourself. I want you to become whole and fully alive. I believe there is an untapped wisdom in each of us. My goal is to help you discover that inner wisdom and learn how to trust and support yourself. When therapy is successful you will have discovered new ways of coping and new possibilities in solving your problems.

I view personal pain, suffering and relationship discord as providing the energy or heat necessary to forge better relationships and develop potential. When I work with couples or families, I attempt to restore the natural therapeutic functioning of those relationships.

Trouble doesn’t mean that something is wrong in a relationship rather it means that something is right. Relationships grow people. A healthy relationship results in growth. The trouble we have in a relationship is caused by who we are not. If we learn to lean into this trouble and grind with our partner, we will eventually mature and take the next step in our personal development. We will discover new possibilities in how we support ourselves, and in how we relate to others. We will discover the courage to let our partner know who we are and what we want. We will learn how to discover solutions that are mutually satisfying and honor our needs and our partners.

When there are children I help families shape their family according to who each member of the family is rather than try to live up to some ideal.

Finally, I believe the so-called “problem” you are struggling with is never the real problem. The real problem is how you cope with the problem. Most of our problems come from ignorance or not knowing better. In this spirit I try and help you be more effective in coping with life by helping you become aware of what you are and what you aren’t doing. This opens up new resources within yourself and helps you discover new ways of coping. That way, you can carry forward what you learn in therapy to solve new problems as they arise.

While I specialize in addiction recovery and relationship therapy, I love to work with anyone who has a desire to become a better person or a better partner or who has an interest to overcome a personal problem or work though a personal crisis. Remember, you don’t have to be sick to get better.

Intensives for Individuals, Couples, or Families

 

Intensives are weekend or week long programs specifically designed to address your current situation. Depending on your particular needs I may work other therapists or specialists into the program as well.

Intensives are quite helpful in breaking up gridlock in a relationship or in helping your overcome a personal impasse. These sessions typically last two to three days and can be arranged to fit your schedule. The Intensives usually consist of three two-hour sessions each day. In addition to the face-to-face sessions, you will be asked to complete writing assignments and/or reading assignments. Depending on your particular situation, I may recommend that I work with a female co-therapist or another male co-therapist. My goal is to create a very positive experience for you and/or you and your partner that will help you break free from an impasse.

Contact me directly so we can discuss whether this is an appropriate option for you and to discuss fees.

Clinical Endorsements

“Dr. Berger is a Master psychotherapy teacher and practitioner. I have yet to come across anyone in the field more knowledgeable than Allen Berger at integrating psychotherapy and the 12-Steps. One example is his ground breaking development of Emotional Sobriety principles in his “12 Things…” book series.

During 2013 and 2014 Dr. Berger provided consultation and over 72 hours of training to the clinical staff of the Betty Ford Center. The results for our patients and staff have been amazing.

Dr Berger’s approach to therapy helps patients to grow in a manner where they find deeper meaning and purpose in their lives. Allen addresses the presenting concerns of patients in a no nonsense and here and now manner with tremendous compassion, respect and authenticity.

I strongly recommend Dr. Berger for professional education, consultation and his clinical services. Dr. Berger is a committed leader in the fields of mental health, addiction treatment/recovery and advocacy for Veterans.”

Mark Baumgartner, M.Ed., LPC, LCDC

Executive Director – Hazelden Betty Ford Center

“Dr. Allen Berger has the rare combination of being a skilled and sensitive clinician who truly likes and bonds with his patients, and has the courage and client trust to help his clients make the most difficult of decisions.

As a Collaborative Lawyer and Mediator, I not only refer my clients to Dr. Berger without hesitation (even though the drive for them is often challenging) but enjoy a conjoint collaboration with him in the same room when we offer interdisciplinary interventions and guidance to our mutual clients.

Forrest (Woody) Mosten

Mediator, Limited Scope and Collaborative Attorney

Certified Family Law Specialist

Board of Specialization, State Bar of California

Los Angeles

Executive Class Addiction Treatment (ECTx)

Research indicates that addiction treatment is most effective when it is individualized and addresses addiction as a primary problem as well as other core concerns and issues.

What is Executive Class Addiction Treatment?

Executive Class Treatment (ECATx) is a highly personalized addiction treatment option. This is a one-on-one intensive treatment program customized to help you recover from addiction and to help your spouse and/or family begin healing. The program begins with an assessment of your needs. The clinical information gathered during this assessment will help us generate an initial treatment plan and program design.

Our objective is to have your primary concerns determine the types and nature of clinical experiences we design to help you recover from your addiction and realize your full potential. Therefore as more is revealed during treatment, the program will be modified to address emerging concerns and new clinical information.

Your length of stay will range from 4 days to 90 days. Each day you will be educated about the science of addiction as well as the science of recovery. You will have one-on one sessions daily with recovery specialists or other health care professionals. In therapy you will be challenged to face life as never before. We have found that the more personal discomfort you are willing to endure, the greater the benefits.

During residential programs, which are typically conducted at the Staybridge Hotels in Torrance, a sober companion may live with you and take you to 12-Step meetings or other appropriate self-help groups.

Our residential program is highly intensive and requires about 10 hours per day. ECATx includes individual psychotherapy, family therapy, counseling, self-esteem work, psycho-education, physical fitness, massage therapy, spiritual direction, AA, NA, CA, SLA, SAA, Smart Recovery, Alanon attendance, readings, and/or writing assignments.

Program costs depend on the kind of services, type of program, and length of stay. The cost of the program will be estimated after the initial assessment.

ECATx Clinical Staff

Dr. Allen Berger is the Clinical Director and Founder of Executive Class Addiction Treatment. The handpicked program staff consists of highly experienced therapists and counselors who are supervised by Dr. Berger on a daily basis. The staff include but are not limited to:

Stuart Finkelstein, M.D., Addictionololgist

Harry Haratounian, M.D., Addictionologist

Allen Berger, Ph.D. — Clinical Director and Clinical Psychologist

Roger Andes, M.A. – Self Esteem and Emotional Release Work

Melissa Gonzales-Hernandez, MFT – Trauma Resolution

Herb Kaighan, B.A. – Spiritual Direction

Damian Schiller – Recovery Companion

Keith Harper – Recovery Companion

Tony Nevada – Recovery Companion

Other Qualified Experts or Sober Companions as needed.

Patient Lectures & Focused Experiential Group Therapy Sessions

 

I am available to lecture to patient populations or to conduct special focused group therapy sessions. Here are some of the topics I am prepared to discuss. Please note that I am also willing to create a presentation or conduct a group therapy session that is specifically designed to meet your particular needs. Contact me and we will discuss the possibilities.

Topics for patient presentations include:

  • The Therapeutic Value of the 12 Steps
  • Emotional Sobriety: The Next Step in Recovery
  • How the Twelve Steps of AA Foster Emotional Sobriety
  • Emotional Sobriety those who Love an Alcoholic or Addict
  • Self-Hate and Recovery
  • 12 Stupid Things that Mess Up Recovery
  • 12 More Stupid Things that Mess Up Recovery
  • 12 Smart Things to do When the Booze and Drugs are Gone
  • 12 Hidden Rewards of Making Amends
  • Strengthening Recovery through Increasing Internal Recovery Capital
  • Toxic and Nourishing Attitudes in Recovery
  • Recovery and Family Relationships: Adjustment Problems in Early Recovery and Possible Solutions
  • Seven Deadly Expectations in Relationships
  • Destructive Communication Patterns in Relationships and Some Possible Cures
  • Healthy Communication in Relationships
  • Principles of a Healthy Family
  • Principles of a Healthy Relationship
  • Personal Language: Its Development and Important Role in Recovery
  • Relapse Prevention: Some New Thoughts on an Old Problem
  • Willpower and Recovery: Myths and Realities
  • The Ninth Step Promises
  • Directions of Change in Recovery
  • The Six Pillars of Recovery
  • How to Get the Most Out of Group Therapy
  • Holding on to Yourself in Relationships
  • Making Adjustments at Close Range: Creating Room for Two in Your Relationship
  • The Science of Recovery: What works and what doesn’t.
  • The Heart of Parenting: Helping Children Soothe Themselves
  • Reasonable and Unreasonable Expectations in Relationships

Issues for focused group therapy sessions include:

  • Understanding the Message in Dreams
  • Unpacking Relapse
  • Recovery and Relationships
  • Helping families adjust to recovery
  • Understanding and Dealing with Your Addict or Alcoholic Self
  • Self Support: An Important Dimension in Establishing and Maintaining Recovery
  • Emotional Sobriety
  • Working with Resistance
  • Resolving the Internal Battles
  • Preventing Self-Sabotage
  • Dealing with the Many Villains Living in Your Head

Endorsements for Presentations and Clinical Training

“Hi Allen,

I enjoyed your talk at the conference (It Happens to Boys) very much. Learning does not get much better than when it arrives in the form of intellect, humor and compassion. A great combination.

Thanks so much, I look forward to seeing you again.

Teri Cortland, Psy.D. SAP

March 12, 2015”

Bulleted below are the comments/remarks from the participants from Dr. Berger’s training on 3/23/2016 (Turing Point, Mooultrie, GA) in case you want to email them to him. 

I could have gotten an actual average score for him if I had the time….my mental computation is something like 4.9999999 on a scale of 1-5 – so he got rave reviews.

  • Great training. Can use to help myself stay in check and also use with clients with other mental health issues other than addiction. The emotional sobriety inventory seems like a great tool and I plan to use it a lot.
  • Great presentation – would have enjoyed it being longer with practice between participants to learn to practice new skills. (emotional dependency chart)
  • Excellent Presentation!
  • Very well done!
  • Great!
  • Great job!
  • Excellent! We should consider a return visit. Maybe a 2 day workshop!
  • Really enjoyed it – great teaching and format of presentation.
  • Excellent job!
  • Very good!
  • Great experience. Informative and useful in everyday lived experiences.  Practical approach to delivery – meaningful work for self of the therapist issues.
  • Very informative and helpful both professionally and personally.
  • Excellent presentation!
  • Very informative and useful information.  Would enjoy more teaching material from you.
  • I really enjoyed Dr. Berger.  Thank you for the wonderful training.
  • Very helpful training. Enjoyed it!
  • Good and enjoyed presentation.
  • Thank you and I learned how to better treat the patient or client in a holistic approach, focusing on the whole person, family and/or group setting.
  • Enjoyed it. Informative.
  • Great Speaker.

Turning Point Hospital – Moultrie, GA

“Dr. Berger is a Master psychotherapy teacher and practitioner. I have yet to come across anyone in the field more knowledgeable than Allen Berger at integrating psychotherapy and the 12-Steps. One example is his ground breaking development of Emotional Sobriety principles in his “12 Things…” book series.

During 2013 and 2014 Dr. Berger provided consultation and over 72 hours of training to the clinical staff of the Betty Ford Center. The results for our patients and staff have been amazing.

Dr Berger’s approach to therapy helps patients to grow in a manner where they find deeper meaning and purpose in their lives. Allen addresses the presenting concerns of patients in a no nonsense and here and now manner with tremendous compassion, respect and authenticity.

I strongly recommend Dr. Berger for professional education, consultation and his clinical services. Dr. Berger is a committed leader in the fields of mental health, addiction treatment/recovery and advocacy for Veterans.”

Mark Baumgartner, M.Ed., LPC, LCDC

Executive Director – Hazelden Betty Ford Center

“Allen came to our center in 2008 and spent four quality days with our clinical team.The main focus was on group therapy skills and solid intervention tactics that promote insightful therapeutic group sessions. Our clinical team received that and much more. By the end of the four days our team’s passion for their work and level of practical experience had increased significantly. We were provided with a common language and understanding as to the goal of group therapy. Allen’s ability to be “really present” in a group therapy session left a permanent impression on our counselors. I have attended and organized other training sessions for our team and the effect lasted for approximately four to five days. Allen’s visit with us continues to provide inspiration, direction and passion for our team. Thank-you Allen! “

Rob DeClark, M.S.W.

Vice President, Clinical Services

Cedars at Cobble Hill, B.C.

“I just wanted to let you know how very much I appreciated the time you spent with us. I know the staff got a lot out of it, and upon reflection, I realize even more what a treat it was to have time with such a kindred spirit! Very reaffirming stuff and nice to know that people are still out there working the kind of recovery we hold so dear.”

Neal Berger

President and CEO

Cedars at Cobble Hill, B.C.

From: Pacific Shores

Sent: Friday, April 14, 2017 7:46 AM

To: Allen Berger, Ph.D.

Subject: THANK YOU

Wow what a 1 day intensive.

I am incredibly grateful to have been able to experience that. I continued receiving texts throughout the night from staff of how beneficial it was, as well as this morning reading an end of shift report and how one of our staff was able to get a client to take ownership of some “addict self” behavior and committed to change.

Thank you again for yesterday.  I look forward to handing out the slides as i’m already getting asked when they can get them.  That is my definition of a successful training.

Mark – Co-Founder and Program Director Pacific Shores

Clinical Staff Training

 

I specialize in training clinical staff in either mental health settings or in residential and outpatient treatment programs for alcoholism and other drug addictions. When appropriate I do clinical trainings with the following co-facilitators: Thom Rutledge, MSW, Roger Andes, MA, Herb Kaighan, Chris Stretch, MSW or Dan Griffin.

I also conduct clinical program evaluations to help program’s design the most effective therapeutic process to achieve optimal treatment outcomes. 

Each training curriculum is designed to meet the particular needs of the clinical staff. My hope is to help clinicians become more effective in:

  • establishing a therapeutic alliance,
  • becoming aware of and describing cogently and succinctly the client’s process or what we call the “working point”,
  • to use these observations to provide feedback to the client as to what is missing in their functioning and invite them to experiment with alternative ways of being, and
  • in finding creative ways to address resistance and fully engage a client in the therapeutic process.

Contact me directly to discuss your clinical training needs and we will explore how I may be able to help your clinical team refine their clinical skills.

Interventions to Motivate a Person to Receive Help Who is Suffering from Alcoholism or Other Drug Addictions

 

I specialize in conducting complex interventions. I pride myself in having a very flexible strategy when it comes to performing an intervention which means that I have a wide range of options available. I attempt to match the type of intervention I use with the particular needs of the family to maximize the likelihood that the intervention will be successful.

Please note that I define success as more than measured by whether the alcoholic or addict goes to treatment. I measure success by the degree to which the family changes. Oftentimes an intervention starts a process within a family that eventually results in the alcoholic or addict going to treatment.

A typical intervention is done over a two to three week period of time, although it may be possible to intervene over a shorter period of time depending on the circumstances. I typically work with a co-interventionist who does most of the prep work.

Contact me directly to discuss your particular situation and if you’d like me to give you an idea of the cost involved.

Psychological Examinations

 

I conduct psychological evaluations for various reasons.

I conduct psychological examinations for nurses, medical doctors, police officers and pilots who are either in diversion or on probation for alcohol problems and need an evaluation to return to work.

I conduct psychological evaluations for police officer candidates. I provided this service for several years with the Maricopa Police Department in California and also successfully helped several Federal Officers, LAPD Officers, and Torrance Police officers who failed the psychological examination because of their MMPI-2 results. I am able to help appeal unfavorable initial decisions if the MMPI-2 results were misrepresented or incongruent with the examiners findings.

I provide psychological examinations to substantiate disability claims.

I conduct neuropsychological examinations to investigate brain functioning.

And finally I also do forensic psychological evaluations for cases including personal injury, disability, child custody issues, drug abuse or alcoholism criminal cases, and mental state when signing a prenuptial agreement.