*All services offered at the main office:
9219 Katy Freeway Suite 296, Houston, TX 77024.
*In office sessions, as well as Telephone counseling and online HIPAA compliant video-therapy are now also offered when appropriate.
*Guided imagery, hypnosis CDs and books are now easily available for purchase here online:
Services and Products
Check out our new Free Resources page: Includes support for learning Imago dialogue, general relationship issues & specific links for Catholics and Christians, though any many find benefit.
If appropriate you now may also schedule session in Northwest Houston, near Cypress, Tx.
Texas Licensed Professional Counselor
Texas Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Certified Imago Relationships Therapist
Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist
(photo by Douglas Wilson of peggyanddoug.com)
*Individual, couples and family therapy, cognitive and vocational assessment for men, women and families.
*Therapy integrating faith practices with best practices in psychology, for Catholics and Christians or others who desire to do so (see benefits to mental health from research demonstrating impact of prayer on depression and anxiety in “free resources”section.)
Welcome to finding out about therapy for individuals, couples, and families that
Sandy K. Clay, M.A., LPC, LMFT is a Certified Imago Relationship Therapist and a Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who opened West Houston Counseling and Assessment in 1990 and has been providing individual, couples and family therapy to adults since then.
She also provides vocational testing, hypnosis, and seminars. Sandy produces therapeutic articles and recordings for sale currently available by mail order CD (see products on this site).
Sandy is committed to participating in the healing of individuals from trauma, depression, and anxiety as well as helping couples create loving relationships founded on the principles of personal growth, Jungian and object relations theory, Imago, and cognitive psychotherapy.
Helping couples desiring to be true to their promises, nurture and thrive in their marriages remains a special passion for Sandy. With 30 years experience working with our wonderful widely diverse population in Houston, Sandy specializes in finding ways to help each couple who desires to live their commitment find new ways of loving and if desired, tap into the strength within their faith practices of prayer to enhance our work.
Every marriage has unique needs, yet learning and putting into practice the potent dynamics of Imago therapy helps us reach a level of connection and empathy some couples forgot or never learned.
PREMARITAL Therapy offers a wonderful way for couples to prepare and learn before marriage, how to understand their own vulnerabilities, reactivity, manage conflict, learn self regulation and how to be healing vs. wounding to partners as well as learn vital daily ways of relating to enhance healthy connection.
For those struggling to ‘find their place in this world’ in the world of vocation, Sandy has many years experience not only counseling and providing comprehensive vocational assessments in her private practice, but did so in psychiatric hospitals with in-patients. This was a crucial part of them finding hope and transitioning into appropriate discharge planning and reintegration. In addition to working in psychotherapy, she also worked as Director of Vocational Services for a time and provided in patient career assessment and therapy services prior to private practice. So whether you are just out of school or considering what education to pursue, or someone who wants to find a new career, or have been laid off, or injured and need to find new occupations, it is worth the work to find an occupation best suited to who you are now.
9219 Katy Freeway Suite 296
Houston, TX 77024
A personal message from Sandy:
“No matter what trauma you have been through, do not give up on the possibility of healing. I have had the humble honor of journeying with men and women from some of the most horribly abusive childhoods, into new lives where they find who they are and heal others. Trauma experienced as adults also can leave one bewildered facing obstacles you never thought possible, yet there are skills and tools we can develop to help learn new ways of responding to stress.
Not everyone finds psychotherapy helpful, yet I have found, the integrated approach has produced remarkable changes for those willing to take the journey. Your physical health, mental and spiritual health are intertwined and when you address the three prongs of health, you support the whole person. Naturally, some are only willing to address the psychological pain, so we start where you are and identify where you want to go (your goals).
For those struggling with challenges in their marriage, be encouraged. It is a very high sacred calling to live a committed marriage, Yet it is not only
With Imago therapy we have many supports in addition to accessing your own strengths, to live a fulfilling married life. One of the myths of our modern culture is that If I am not happy, I don’t need to stay. Some of the most powerful witnesses of reality-based love know that it involves each person in the couple stretching to grow in sometimes challenging ways to love their partner.
This way of loving will call to the depths of my being, yet it is precisely what I need to do to grow as an individual anyway. Do not be surprised by conflict, rather expect it and learn to embrace it as a sign of being called to grow.
In therapy we discover not only what old wounds make us vulnerable to misinterpretation and reactive behaviors, but also how to self regulate and use our mind, body
(Photo used by permission from Isabel Guadiz Tobey
For Catholics & other Christians desiring faith integrated with therapy
As a lifelong Catholic Christian, benefiting from the instruction and guidance of many lay and clergy over the years and of Trappist monks the last 19 years, Sandy has been and continues to offer integrative psychotherapy for the Catholic and Christian community of the Houston area for the last 30 years.
Approached by a local pastor of a large church in Houston, Sandy along with another experienced Catholic male colleague was requested to aid in a Catholic counseling ministry some 25 years ago.
The pastor desired and developed with Sandy and recently deceased master therapist, Dr. Bill McCurdy, a program to assist those who could not afford therapy otherwise, as well as assist those able to pay but having difficulty finding a well trained, licensed and experienced clinician able to respect and integrate the person’s Catholic faith with therapy.
The pastor was well ahead of his time. Now though he has passed into eternity, Sandy has continued to offer ethical professional assistance to Catholics and other Christians as well as any who believe in or want to explore relating to a loving God, and want to include that in their work.
Additionally Sandy continues to see clients who do not identify any faith life or wish to integrate that, using skill in some of the most effective psychological approaches we have available, such as Imago Relationship Therapy, Cognitive therapy, and hypnotherapy depending on client needs.
BREAKING GROUND IN AND OUTSIDE THE OFFICE
(Photo used by permission 2012 Memorial Day Lantern Launching )
In addition to continuing her individual and couples private psychotherapy sessions, Sandy is offering seminars available for the public and/or for continuing ed for counseling and other health care organizations or nonprofits on a limited basis.
Ethical integration of Spirituality and Therapy,
Building Lasting Loving Marriages,
Defeating Depression & Anxiety,
as well as special requests.
At an Imago International Conference in 2013 we all were given information many counselors have known for years that sadly only a small percentage of those who actually need help ever make it to a therapist’s office, yet it inspired Sandy afresh to reach out in new ways to churches, and other organizations who are supportive of humanity’s deep needs for relationship and integrated health.
If you or your organization desires to be part of the outreach, please call the office 713 464 8501 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and request information.
Three specific program areas addressing some of the most common challenges of our times …offered at the office or your location.
*** Defeating Depression and Anxiety…integrating best practices in mental health with new research identifying the vital role of spiritual practices
*** The Mystery Unlocked: Building lasting loving relationships …using relationship research, Imago therapy,and practical ways of shifting to ‘loving as a way of being’ in a complex and cluttered world
*** Building the Hermitage within, nurturing contemplative spirituality with treasured practices of the early desert fathers and mothers.
REACHING OUT: Opportunities to learn vital skills outside the therapy room for minimal cost ….
and a brand new space/option for reflection & growth soon to come TBA …
While a college student at Rice, Sandy’s research impacted her in ways that caused her to remain committed to find a way to get quality mental health to those who need it most. It is now as it was then, true that those who most need help, often have the least access to it. Additionally traditional therapy is not always effective with all populations, and Sandy became aware long ago, there are many paths to help persons heal and grow.
Please book as far in advance as feasible
(FOR YOUR Catholic or Christian CHURCH, COMMUNITY GROUP OR ORGANIZATION &
TBA at the office 9219 Katy Freeway-watch for upcoming dates)
Please send your request far in advance or write, email or call the office to schedule a meeting or have information sent to you.
9219 Katy Freeway, suite 296, Houston TX 77024
(Photo by Sandy Clay…from inside the Cistercian monastery in Huerta, Spain 2008) “Light Breaks Through”
Finding places that nurture and feed our souls is vital as well as building the internal sacred place from which way can allow ourselves to be loved and then give love… agape love.
See the “Products” page for helpful ways to build your own sacred space…or call to schedule an appointment, or learn about the new outreach offered.
Information on Imago therapy, and other helpful online couples tools can be found on:
Check out the newly designed easy process for ordering products on the
“Products you may Order” page
Watch this column for articles you may print for free for personal use… these are protected intellectual property though so please do not reuse without permission in writing via email from Sandy Clay.
INGREDIENTS FOR CHANGE
by Sandy Clay
What initiates change and what inhibits or interferes with it? This is a most important question, not only for therapists, but for anyone seeking personal growth, healing or beginning to choose a therapist.
From 25+ years of therapy in private practice, I see a crucial difference in those who succeed in reaching their goals and those who remain stuck. While the therapist is responsible for doing his/her best work, and that is a separate issue for consideration, the client who presents with a “belief” in the process, the therapist or their own personal faith life seems to reach the transformative goals they set and actually reach them sooner. I have seen this regardless of the severity of the wounding.
While this issue is seldom addressed honestly in the literature, it is a crucial piece to consider before one invests time, energy or finances in the endeavor to change.
If I am serious about change, it will require a willingness to look inward honestly at what is truly within my capacity to change. It is an unrealistic and fruitless effort to spend hours of therapy discussing the perceived problems of those around me. In other words, blame needs to cease. Put in the positive, proactive, I need to have the courage to take responsibility for what is mine, and let go of judging others.
This sounds obvious, but often the first step in couples improving their relationship seems to be a dwelling on and viewing the other in a positive light again. Harville Hendrix in Getting the Love You Want and in Imago therapy models describes what he call re-romanticizing or gifting the partner with what that partner sees as gifts or signs of caring in target specific ways whether the gifting partner feels like it or not.
This gifting or stretching to give to the other actually is one of the most helpful Imago tools in producing an initial shift in perception among partners. Understandably so, because as I mention before, it involves a mental process and action that creates a new image of the partner….and possibly the self.
So, I cease blaming, and begin to become a more loving person, see myself doing loving things, and see my partner in a more loving light as they often are touched by the act of love sent their way. Individually I can see this as well. I do not need to continue blaming someone who gossips about me or tries to criticize whether in friendships, work, neighbors, family, etc. I need to become and live what I profess or what I hope to be.
In other words, the first and surest path to personal change, will involve beginning to work on being conscious of my own behaviors and thoughts I wish to alter and opening up to possibilities to ‘do it differently’. Too often I hear, but my father did it this way or my parents or my teachers, or someone else who influenced me did this to me, so I am stuck forever with this way of being. Not so.
There are well-formed neural pathways and perhaps even genetic predispositions, but we can do much to influence this through conscious and intentional shifts in our thinking and acting.
Prayer also whether vocal, mental or contemplative has great effect on the brain in those who have a faith life and positive image of God as compassionate. Much of the new brain research validates this, and one can check out Andrew Newberg’s books Why God Won’t Go Away.
So step one, look to working on what is truly within my capacity to work on…Ask for grace to see clearly, to act on what self-awareness and knowledge leads one to desire positive change. Stop focusing on the ‘plank in my brother’s eye’…good advice.
Schedule a session with Sandy
Call or email Sandy regarding any further questions or to schedule a session or speaking engagement.