Mothers Have Needs Too!

Allison Gilbert, LMFT, Santa Cruz Counselor Lic: MFC 24087

About Me

Hi!  My name is Allison Gilbert and I've been a stay-at-home mom for over 16 years.  I grew up during the time in our culture when Feminism made some major strides.  As a result, I was taught at an early age, "You can't depend on a man, you have to have your own income...anyone can be 'just' a mother."  So I was on a career track until I had my first child at age 35. 

You can contact me directly through my email address:

See Calendar Openings or Set Appointment Now

Before becoming a mother,
I was a counselor with a successful private practice in psychotherapy.  Being immersed in running my business, I couldn't imagi
ne being able to be the parent I wanted to be and running a business at the same time.  So I decided to put my practice on hold for awhile--at least for the first few months.  But once my son was born, I was surprised by two things: the overwhelming love I had for this child and his reflux that needed medication 20 minutes before every feeding for the first year of his life.  I never wanted to leave him and didn't think anyone else would care for him with the energy, love and commitment that I had.  So months turned into years and then my daughter was born and my business became a distant memory.

My kids were born in 1994 and 1997.  This was a time when the Census Bureau reported that 62% of married women with children under the age of 2 worked outside the home and 95% of their children were being cared for by someone else.  My mother worked, my sister worked, my friends worked, my husband worked.  The isolation was huge!  I also wasn't prepared for the loss in income.  Now I was truly "dependent on a man" - the one thing feminism told me was a dangerous predicament. 

I began to think that maybe I'd be happier if I went back to work on my business since it not only brought me some income but I actually got some time to myself!  Motherhood - caring for babies and young children is a 24/7 occupation.  Still, I couldn't see how my family would be better off if I worked outside the home.  So I did a few things to settle myself into the job of stay-at-home mom:  I
joined a mommy and me class and put my son in a co-op preschool where I connected with other women who'd made the same decision I did.  This broke my isolation and I began to find happiness and pride in the work of being a full-time mother.

Over time, the skills I learned as a therapist and business owner continued to develop in my work as a mother and as a volunteer in my kid's schools.  One of the things I did with my counseling skills was to volunteer as PTA president for Westlake Elementary School.  As a volunteer, there's no paycheck but my work has paid me in a different way: I can see that my children have grown and developed into responsible, secure, polite, kind, self-confident and smart kids.  Plus, we get to enjoy generous amounts of time together while they are still living at home.  I feel grateful to be their mom and to have made the choices I made when they were so small.  Now, when they are in school for six hours a day, I am back to focusing part-time on counseling.

free hit counter javascript StatCounter - Free Web Tracker and Counter

Working as a Therapist Again

One of the things that really helped me get through those early years of motherhood was a newsletter called, "Welcome Home."  This newsletter is no longer published but it was originally put out by the organization, Family and Home NetworkReprints are available here.  Containing articles written by parents about the experience of being home with children, this newsletter would help remind me of my values and why I made the decision to put off working my business.  A couple of mothers from this organization created a six week discussion group to help parents better adjust into their transition from the work world to home.  I learned about these discussion group materials in 2004 and decided that I would offer this as a workshop to other mothers when I started my psychotherapy practice again.  You can see the flyer for this class on this page.

My email address: aworkofheart comes from my favorite bumper sticker that Family and Home Network created that said, "Mothers at Home: It's a Work of Heart!"  (The organization used to be called, "Mothers at Home".)

When I first left the career of psychotherapy so I could be primary caregiver for my children, I thought I'd return after a few months.  Months turned into years and finally, pregnant with my 2nd child, I sold all my furniture and turned my office over to the therapist subletting from me.  It was a sad day for me but also a turning point that allowed me to fully embrace a new life for myself as a mother. 

I love being a therapist as much as I love being a mother because I am a nurturer.  Therapy is something you can either use for a quick pick-me-up or as a constant and regular resource.  The longer you see a therapist, the more comfortable you get and the more the therapist has the chance to know and understand you.  I use a sliding scale to set fees since I want people to be able to afford seeing me on a regular and extended basis if they wish to.  There's nothing else like the reassurance you get when knowing someone is going to be there and available to you over the long haul.  Just knowing you have someone to debrief with on a weekly basis can do wonders for the rest of your week.

I enjoy being there for others and am deeply honored that people feel comfortable enough with me to be honest about feelings and experiences that  haven't been expressed to anyone else.  Sometimes all it takes is to have someone there for you who can listen and then you'll feel supported enough to find your own solutions.  At other times it only takes a few minor adjustments in behavior or thinking to make lasting changes in daily life.  I look forward to hearing from you.

To Set An Appointment:  Phone me at (831) 425-4475  or email me

My Education

I have a Master's degree in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology that I received in 1985 from John F. Kennedy University in Orinda, California. I also have a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of California at Santa Cruz. My license to practice psychotherapy is called an MFT license. These letters stand for "licensed marriage and family therapist" which is awarded by the state of California after many hours of experience,  and both oral and written exams. I keep this license current by taking the required number of classes every year. Coaching with the Enneagram, NLP, hypnotherapy and goal-setting were the most recent classes I've taken. I also learned a special technique called, Psych-KTM which helps people change beliefs through muscle testing/kinesiology.

I like to use the Enneagram because it helps to better understand personality and tendencies.  The Enneagram is a map of 9 different personality types and we all fall into one of these types whenever we become stressed and overwhelmed.  The personality types were developed in childhood and helped us cope with life.  As an adult, the personality type can get in the way of developing new ways of dealing with problems in life.   You can also learn to understand the personalities of the people in your life that you're having the most difficulties with.  As a result, you will have more compassion for them and will learn useful strategies to resolve conflicts with these people.

I also like to use the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT).  EFT can be easily taught so that a stressed mother can use it at home, on her own, as needed.  This form of therapy is simple to use and very calming.  It's something you can offer to children as well.  Learn more about this technique here.

My Experience

Before I had children, I worked in a hospital and taught a class for patients with eating disorders. I also worked in clinics and developed my own private practice around two workshops. One was called, "Feeding Your Heart's Content", based on the classes and books by Genene Roth. The participants would learn how to eat from physical hunger as opposed to emotional hunger. Another workshop I taught showed people how to use Tarot cards as a personal self-help tool which was the topic for my masters thesis. Angeles Arrien was my mentor for this work. I created and designed these workshops myself and the workbooks as well as cassettes to go along with them.

After having children, I worked as a volunteer in my kid's schools.  I helped with fundraising and assisted teachers by running small groups teaching math, reading, grammar, Israeli folkdance, art and English.  As PTA president, I have been in charge of overseeing a fundraising budget of over $70K.  I also run the PTA meetings.  Another way that I have volunteered is with Chabad by the Sea.  For a few years, I was an assistant to the director of the Imma & Me (Mommy & Me) program where I helped the teachers in implementing the curriculum.  I counseled mothers about parenting & religious choices/education as well as helping the preschool aged children resolve conflicts.  In addition, I assisted the rebbetzin in all her outreach efforts.  Connection to my religion as well as passing tradition on to my children has been important to me.

If you'd like to see some Jewish resources that I've gathered for you, click here:  Jewish