*Available Virtually Across California Only*
We recognize that very often the first step in healing the pain, is to take a step toward that pain. That first step can be really scary, so the therapist you choose should be someone you can learn to trust to take your hand and walk with you into, and through the fire to the healing that is on the other side.
I am so pleased to have been a part of Estes Therapy as a Registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist since finishing graduate school while accruing my 3,000 hours of experience toward licensure — which I’ve done! It has been the opportunity of a lifetime to work with couples and individuals in this committed, professional and supportive setting. I am a graduate of the Couple and Family Therapy program at Alliant International University-California School of Professional Psychology. Before coming to Estes Therapy I worked in the mental health counseling center at a local college.
My primary approach to psychotherapy is a modality called Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy in which I have advanced training. The model is mindful, relational, and compassionate. While we explore the experiences that shaped you as an individual or as a couple, the work is focused on the emotions and experiences of the present moment as they unfold between or among us in session. For couples this also means seeing their partners in new ways, understanding them more deeply, an increasing sense of safety and willingness to be vulnerable, and the forging of a more secure bond.
Although I’ve been trained and supervised to work with a wide variety of issues, during my time as an Associate MFT, I’ve come to feel particularly called to work with those who have experienced trauma and those wishing to use mindfulness and to access spirituality as resources in their healing.
I’m privileged to work with individuals and couples of all backgrounds.
Also, I really, really like dogs — a lot.
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) Training:
- Completed The Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) Externship training.
- Completed The Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) Core Skills training.
Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP) Training:
Jacob Munhoz is a Level III AEPD Therapist
- AEDP Immersion
- AEDP Essential Skills 1
- AEDP Essential Skills 2
- AEDP for Couples Core Skills
Areas of Focus
Get to know Therapist Jacob Munhoz
Why did you decide to go into Marriage and Family Therapy?
I decided to go into psychotherapy perhaps primarily because of my own experience of recovery from trauma during my previous career. Like many who have experienced trauma, after I came through the experience I felt impelled by what James Finley would call “the imperative of love,” the deep desire, the impulse to go back to help others find their way through what they have experienced.
Do you have advice for someone who is considering becoming an MFT?
I think of psychotherapy as a calling, not a job. As with any call, the desire must be authentic and has to arise out of the true self. It is a calling that requires sacrifice, both economic and psychospiritual. In taking on this work we are, in some real sense, agreeing to take on and to help carry the burdens of others. If we are not willing to make those sacrifices, we risk being mediocre and engaging in this work half-heartedly which isn’t just to our patients or to ourselves. If you’re considering this work and feel a call to be with people in their suffering welling up from some profound part of your true self, if you are willing to pay the price, if you will engage in this work wholeheartedly and live it wholeheartedly, and if in the depths of your being you can’t authentically imagine doing anything else–take the leap and follow your heart.
What would you say to someone who is nervous about setting up their first counseling session with you?
There are many reasons that we may seek out psychotherapy. Each of us has our own complex set of experiences, contexts, and characteristics. What is common to all human experience at a primordial level is our desire to be profoundly seen and profoundly accepted precisely because of who we are, not in spite of who we are. Although this is our deepest desire, the very proposition of being seen for who we are by another can make us anxious and raise questions oftentimes about judgment, worthiness, and the possibility of rejection. The lens through which I see as a psychotherapist is one that causes me to stand in awe of people for how we bear our experiences instead of in judgment. My role as a psychotherapist is to stand alongside you as you look in the mirror and tell you how amazing and precious you are so you start to see it for yourself.
Do you have a special area you focus on within the therapy field?
Much of my academic and clinical work during graduate school was focused on interpersonal trauma: sexual, physical, or emotional violence – for both men and women. Whether we witnessed this violence or were whom it was perpetrated upon, shakes us to our very core. Because interpersonal trauma is relational, it affects how we relate to others and can change how we view ourselves. Especially if the violence we experienced was done by someone whom we trusted. Working through this trauma is the key to unlocking our true potential to engage in our relationships wholeheartedly and be our true selves.
Another area of my focus is what is commonly referred to as “men’s issues.” Regardless of sexual orientation, men face a complex and unique set of challenges as we struggle to meet societal expectations. Expectations imposed upon us, oftentimes unwittingly, by our partners, families, and our toughest critics by far: ourselves. I find it deeply meaningful to dialogue with men and their partners regarding issues of masculinity and it’s authentic and healthy expression. These conversations often lead to the deep exploration of issues like self-esteem, body image, sex, sexual compulsion, competence, worthiness, expression of emotions, power and dominance.
A personal area of interest in mindfulness and contemplative spirituality. Mindfulness has been shown in study after study to be deeply beneficial in supporting and promoting both psychological and physical health. The ability to take half a step back from our thoughts and emotions, to identify them and at the same time to disidentify with them is a mindful practice that I employ in my sessions. While mindfulness can be a purely secular practice, for some it has a spiritual or religious dimension. I have a deep interest in the way contemplative spirituality is a resource in the healing from trauma.
How do you pass your time when you are not working with clients?
I am an introvert who likes to spend long hours reading mostly non-fiction books with some poetry thrown in for balance. My interest in mindfulness and contemplative spirituality compels me to attend prayer and meditation groups as well as lectures and retreats on those and related subjects. When I’ve recharged by doing all that, I like to spend time working out, riding my motorcycle, and paddleboarding on the bay with my spouse and our two rescue dogs.
If you were not a therapist, what would you be doing?
The inability to authentically imagine one’s self doing anything else is one of the signs of a true calling. That any other realistic or authentic option or plan would somehow simply be another expression of that calling is another mark of a true vocation. That is to say that a teacher will always teach whether she is a teacher in front of five-year-olds in a kindergarten, a CEO in a company boardroom, or a drill instructor of an academy class of firefighters or soldiers. I feel called to be a psychotherapist (psyche [ψυχή]: soul and therapeia [θεραπεία]: healing) having come to know this about myself any viable career alternative would of absolute necessity be an expression of this.