capitola counseling

Couples Counseling in Santa Cruz County

Nestled in the heart of Santa Cruz County is a counseling office that is very special. With over 60 years of combined experience these two licensed therapists are each highly trained and qualified in their respective fields. Both Elizabeth and Tricia have worked with hundreds of satisfied clients over the years to assist them in changing their lives and cultivating coping skills that translate into feelings of wholeness and well being.


We are here to meet your individual needs and support you in creating the unique life that fits who you are today and at the same time provide you with the necessary tools and skills to continue growing and changing as you move along your own life journey! 

In our professional experience we have each learned that although there can be many different therapeutic approaches, each approach ultimately leads to an overall sense of freedom, empowerment and wholeness. Our mutual expertise allows us to discern and develop with each client over the first few sessions a working therapeutic plan utilizing various proven counseling approaches that will bring about the most effective and expedient change while at the same time respectfully and sensitively considering each client’s unique needs, history and background. Counseling and life changes require a mutual relationship of trust, caring and respect between each therapist and individual client. Capitola Counseling was envisioned and created by both therapists as a place to guarantee this level of safety and confidentiality while at the same time offering a beautiful and serene setting for clients to begin to explore and remove the inner blocks that prevent them from becoming and living their fullest potential.

You will find our approach to be eclectic, practical and results-oriented with an emphasis on identifying core issues. Through our many years of experience, each of us has become adept at helping each client to identify and gently navigate their way through the myriad opportunities that life presents for personal growth and change. Oftentimes this process involves deep spiritual and personal growth that is reflected in the very fabric of each client’s life, work and relationships. At Capitola Counseling we are definitely experienced agents of growth and change. Welcome to our practice.

We help clients create thriving relationships with themselves and those they love.
There is no single counseling approach that works for all situations. We believe that it is important to meet clients where they are and honor each client’s place along the path as well as their desired pace along the path.

Is my relationship going to last?  How do I express my needs without risking the loss of my relationship? How can we learn to communicate so that we really listen and hear one another? What do I do with all the rage and resentment bottled up inside me?  I feel like I’m losing it! Why do I feel so trapped in my relationship?  Why do I feel so overwhelmed and stuck in my life?  How come I feel so sad and overwhelmed by grief ? Why do I have so much trouble sleeping?  How can I cope with my depression and anxiety?  I feel like I have no control over my life! Who am I meant to be in this world? What is my purpose in life? What do I need to do to lose weight?

If you have asked yourself one or all of these questions, Capitola Counseling will help you find the answers. We are each very experienced and  highly trained therapists. Elizabeth is a licenced marriage and family therapist and Tricia is a board certified clinical hypnotherapist. They each understand that personal wellness is a necessity for couples and individuals desiring to live a healthier and more joyful life.

Both Elizabeth and Tricia represent a Humanistic approach in their work with clients utilizing techniques that draw from Psychodynamic, Cognitive Behavioral, Jungian, Gestalt, Depth Oriented, Transpersonal, Inner Child and NLP,(Neuro Lingusitic Programming) in each of their respective psychotherapy and hypnotherapy practices.

Our approach is “result driven”, empowering you with the tools and skills necessary to have a healthy and balanced life, to develop spiritually and have a positive and happy outlook.

Most of us encounter constant stresses on a daily basis in a myriad of settings including our families and places of work and just the general wear and tear of dealing with our own changing self over time and the impact that has on all of our personal and family relationships; over time coping with life’s continual challenges can cause a serious and unexpected shift in our emotional well being. We feel overwhelmed, burned out, stuck, exhausted, anxious and depleted. Oftentimes, these feelings can lead to a “paralysis of being” resulting in fear, panic and not knowing where to turn for help.

We are here to help! We can provide the practical help you need sorting through, dealing with and resolving the relationship, personal and behavioral issues that are blocking your growth and ability to move through and successfully transition to the next stage of your life.

The therapists at Capitola Counseling have years of experience and expertise in dealing with the emotional conflicts that often cause and/or result from this feeling of being stuck or paralysed in your own life. This conflict often presents as relationship issues, marriage conflict, divorce, parenting issues, step-family issues, feelings of resentment and being misunderstood, poor communication skills, inability to express and/or receive love, loss and grief issues, spiritual issues, lack of self confidence, compulsive eating and weight gain, addiction to alcohol, smoking and/or drugs and use of substances and behaviors for self-medication.

Healing emotional conflict is a natural process, and it goes most smoothly when your body, mind and spirit work together as a team. Our promise to you is to support you in creating the balance you need to move forward in your life as well as provide you with the “evidence based” approaches that allow you to create the changes in your life you desire and deserve. We also insure that you tap into your own internal resources in order to make those changes permanent.

Each session takes place in a restful setting where your mind,
body and spirit all work in harmony as you work with your therapist towards creating  a healthier and happier life. Regardless of your current situation,  
the problem solving and cognitive/behavioral changes
resulting after each session will translate into a life
where you are thriving! 

Meet our professional and Caring therapists

Elizabeth Kovacevich, MFT, Licensed Marriage, Family, Child Therapist

Located in Santa Cruz County, Elizabeth brings extensive counseling experience in private practice, workshop, and support groups. She specializes in couples counseling, adult life transitions, crisis intervention and management, family and child therapy, women’s issues, men’s issues, sexual abuse issues, childhood trauma, grief and loss issues, depression and anxiety as well as self esteem and personal growth and development.

I enjoy a full practice helping people who are wrestling with life’s big questions and oftentimes find themselves in a relationship that is in crisis. I enjoy the challenge of helping clients identify the core issues blocking them and developing a plan together that will target those issues and move each client toward the changes they desire and the life and relationships they deserve!

Gain the insight and tools you need to identify the issues you feel overwhelmed about in your life. Elizabeth is an expert in her field with over 35 years experience providing couple and individual counseling. She has helped many people living in and around Santa Cruz. With her extensive knowledge and deep insight into the human heart and psyche, her caring and holistic philosophy make her one of the top rated Marriage and Family Therapists in the county.

Tricia Hancock cht, Board Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist

Located in Santa Cruz County, Tricia is a master at Hypnosis and  Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP).

Although I help people who are stuck in other areas of their live, I find 75% of my practice revolves around helping individuals with addictive behaviors and compulsive eating disorders. Like many other behavioral therapists,it is painfully clear that t diets don’t work; I have created an  approach that moves my clients into a pro active role of “self management”, supporting them in identifying, dealing with and re-patterning the issues that drive the behavior in the first place. Most of my clients are professional dieters and have successfully lost weight many times only to put it back on over and over again Together we create a personalized approach to reclaiming their authentic self so that food no longer is a issue in their life.

With your commitment to your own personal growth and  well being I will help you to bring workable, livable weight loss solutions into your life…together we cultivate the lifestyle changes that translate into radiant health and balanced living. It is truly liberating!. 

Tricia’s approach has evolved over many years and reflects the very wise teachers that she has been blessed to study under as well as the hundreds of people who have walked into her office before you and  have successfully created healthy bodies and the lasting change in their lives they desire.

Tricia is the author of “Reclaiming Self” (result driven steps to weight loss). Throughout her lengthy career as a licensed hypnotherapist, she has created an extensive series of self hypnosis CDs which can be purchased or downloaded online.

Therapy sessions are held by appointment only in our private practice offices, by telephone or online. To arrange for an online or private session with our therapists please click on the contact us page.

Counseling Philosophy

For 35 years, our openness and forthright style with clients has provided the opportunity for personal growth, change and understanding. Our style is primarily interactive. Although we use different approaches our view therapy remain the same. We view therapy as an educational as well as a therapeutic experience. We share extensive experience working with a wide range of mental health issues impacting individuals, couples and families. Elizabeth has worked in mental health settings, family counseling agencies, university / college and elementary school settings as well as spiritual retreat settings. Tricia has been a popular speaker on a national level specializing in personal growth, self confidence, weight loss and executive coaching. We feel that the breath and depth of our experience provide a very solid foundation which enables us to successfully work with many diverse clients, issues and situations. At Capitola counseling we share an eclectic approach to therapy in terms of training and methods. Elizabeth's training has been in family systems, couple therapy and individual therapy, using behavioral, psychodynamic, I have had extensive experience using art therapy, drama therapy,and Gestalt techniques. Tricia is a board certified clinical hypnotherapist and a master at NLP Neuro Linguistic Programming both share training in transpersonal and Jungian, and humanistic approaches Our therapy practice is unique in that we are able to work well with many diverse situations and issues. Sharing extensive experience and I enjoy working with a broad range of people and problems.

The Truth About Hypnotherapy

hypnosisHave you ever driven to work, but were not quite sure how you got there? Or been reading a book and you were completely unaware of everything around you? How about that 'place' right before you fall asleep and your mind seems to go wandering in all kinds of strange directions? If you've experienced any of this, you have already been in a state similar to hypnosis. Contrary to popular belief, hypnosis is actually a relaxed, focused state of mind (yes, focused!). It is not some person who is swinging a pocket watch in front of your eyes, asking you to count backwards, where you eventually fall into a trance only to be controlled by that person and asked to do things against your will. You are not asleep when you are hypnotized. Hypnosis only resembles sleep because you are in such a relaxed state. But you really have complete control of your body and are completely aware of what is going on around you.

Hypnotherapy has been recognized as a healing practice since ancient times. Cultures in Egypt, Greece and India took their sick to sleep temples to be cured by hypnotic suggestion. In present day, hypnotherapy treats a wide variety of behaviors and health conditions: weight loss, smoking, fears, anxieties, self confidence, sports, surgical side effects and pain management to name a few. It's even been known to be used in forensics to solve crimes or by artists for creative purposes. According to the World Health Organization, about 90% of the population can be hypnotized.

Technically speaking, hypnosis is when you have relaxed to a point that your brain is in an alpha state. In this relaxed state you are able to tap into and become aware of your subconscious mind. Your subconscious mind is where you store all your thoughts and feelings. When your consciousness is communicating to your subconscious, you are in a hypnotic state. In this state, you are in a state of hyper-suggestibility. 

Think of your subconscious mind as a place where you keep all your "programs", or in other words, how you react to and feel in certain situations. When you are in a hypnotic state you are open to the suggestion of reprogramming. There are several key factors in reprogramming yourself. The biggest one being that you've made the decision to eliminate a specific behavior. You must be motivated to make this change, or you will work against yourself in making it happen. Secondly, the suggestions need to be reasonable, ones that you actually believe are possible, and in a language you understand. For instance, it might be unreasonable to suggest you go from a sedentary person to a world-class athlete, but reasonable to picture training and crossing the finish line of a 5k race. If you can see yourself reasonably accomplishing the behavior then you are able to make it happen. Finally, it is necessary to repeat the suggestion in such a relaxed state. It takes time for the message to be programmed and to actually see the results.

Working with a Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and doing hypnosis is very helpful. An NLP practitioner can assist you in designing a program in a language you believe. They are able to guide you and teach you how to relax into a state of suggestibility. And finally, they can make tapes of the relaxation process and suggestions so that you are able to relax and listen to them often.

Hypnotherapy has resulted in self improvement and personal growth in millions. It is nothing to be afraid of. Hypnosis is learning how to relax into a focused state of mind, and make suggestions to your subconscious. It is a drug-free alternative way to permanently change thoughts, feelings and behaviors. If you are struggling with unwanted behaviors and are motivated to manifest your best life, take the leap, find a qualified hypnotherapist and begin your journey to wellness.

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We finally understand the relationship between mind, body, emotion and action.

 At Capitola Counseling  we emphasize Hypnosis, NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), and Jungian Therapy techniques—just some of the innovative result-driven approaches to understanding and directing human experience, self-communication and behavior. For over twenty years I’ve worked with hundreds of people and over time  in working with them, I came to see the truth and wisdom in Carl Jung’s concept of the necessity to first have a union between our own animus and anima (male and female). With that understanding, and the belief, that until there is a healthy union within us there will not be a healthy, fulfilling relationship with another.

I primarily use two modalities in my practice Neuro Lingusitic programming, NLP and hypnosis. which combined the best of the two fields of therapy and coaching thus synergistically creating a greater whole from which to work. My focus has moved from  ”what is wrong and why” to where do you want to go and how to accomplish that. Of course there are times in the process that one will bump into old stuck places. The “stuck “place then becomes an opportunity to look at the issue from a new perspective and learn adult “here and now” tools to move forward.

From a clinical perspective, I’ve found hypnosis ,interactive guided imagery to be the most gentle yet efficient tool to guide one through their “stuck” places. If I am to lay claim o any sort of success it is to  the extraordinary people who trusted me to assist them in their own personal growth. Most will say that engaging in the  clinical hypnosis process was not only calming but empowering as well.They move from feeling helpless to fully participating in their wellness.The Real Relationship is the relationship you have with yourself It’s about “Reclaiming Self” becoming aware of all the parts of you; conscious and unconscious. It’s about learning how to allow, accept and integrate the real you and how to let go of the old self defeating tendencies  and behavioral patterns that no longer serve your best and highest good.nIt’s my job to create a safe place for the clients who choose Capitola Counseling so that they can go inside themselves to do this work.I listen without judgment and offer tools that resonate with their spirit.  The gift in going through this process is that my clients learn  how to distinguish between the critical voice of the ego and the guiding voice of their authentic self..their spiritual self.  And since we are spiritual being having a having a human experience; this is a good thing!

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