Therapist for Acoustic Neuroma Support in Los Angeles

Kate Boswell MFT, Psychotherapy& Counseling, Marina del Rey, Ca. 90292 (310) 658-3158


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Acoustic Neuroma, Facial Paralysis, and the Holidays

Posted by 2bstressfree on December 18, 2009 at 5:56 AM Comments comments (1)

Many people, as a result of acoustic neuroma surgery, are living with facial paralysis. If you were recently treated, and this is new to you, you may understandably feel "shy" about being seen around people you don't know well.


For many, this paralysis will be short lived and resolve on its own. For many others, various nerve grafts and other surgeries, or facial retraining exercises, may offer some improvement. For others, these methods have been a case of "diminishing returns." So, don't feel you are the only one.


The point of this article is how to enjoy the holidays in spite of your facial situation. If you have had it for a long time, you have hopefully adapted to it, so it is no longer the be all and end all. If you are newer to this situation, you may still be in shock over it. You may think that strangers and casual acquaintences may "recoil" in horror when they see you coming.


Let's try on some other perspectives, which might help you get out and enjoy yourself more:

  •  Many of the people you meet may be wrapped up in their own "social anxieties" and having their own stresses about "how they are presenting."
  • Most people will see the "whole person" of who you are, not just your face.
  • Most people will be polite, and not put you on the spot by asking you what happened.
  • If people do ask, it is usually because they know someone who had something similar happen, and so they are reaching out to connect with you.
  • Some people will ask, because they are interested in learning more about the people they meet, rather than talk about themselves.
  • You have choices about how to respond. You can use it as an opportunity to educate others, or you may just practice a one line answer that gets the topic off you and back onto other "more interesting" things.
  • You can spend the time getting to know others by asking them about their lives.
  • You can ask the host if you can help with anything, so you feel more like part of the group. This works well for many people who are naturally shy.
  • Anticipate that you will have a nice time, meeting new people and having a nice break from your ongoing acoustic neuroma recovery issues.

I hope these tips are helpful to you, and I wish you a peaceful holiday season.


Kate Boswell MFT is a Los Angeles based psychotherapist, helping people through anxiety, depression and relationship issues related to their health concerns. From Marina del Rey, she serves the communities of Playa del Rey, Playa Vista, Del Rey, Culver City, Venice, Santa Monica, Westchester, Inglewood, and the South Bay Cities. Kate is a licensed marriage and family therapist, lic. no. MFC20851. She can be reached at (310) 658-3158 and [email protected] .


Acoustic Neuroma, Depression, and the Holidays

Posted by 2bstressfree on December 18, 2009 at 5:19 AM Comments comments (0)

If you are dealing with an acoustic neuroma diagnosis, or recovering from treatment, you may find the holidays to be more depressing than uplifting. You may be dealing with the shock of your diagnosis, or trying to figure out the best treatment, or figuring out how to live with the "new normal." You just may not be in the mood to be happy and celebrating.


You are not alone. Many people who are well and generally happy, still find this time to be depressing. There are a few reasons for this. Advertisers constantly paint it as a time full of gaeity and delightful nostalgia. We see pictures of happy families, or ecstatic looking couples. Most of us don't fit the mold, and may wonder what the heck is wrong with us.


Many people run themselves ragged, trying to shop for just the right presents, going to more social events than they have time for, and overdoing the non nutritious foods. All this added stress, and lack of taking care of ourselves, is a recipe for depression. If you are already depressed, this can certainly add to it.


One way to help with depression is to "reframe" how you interpret things. Instead of feeling disappointed that your holiday or vacation isn't measuring up, try to see it in more realistic terms. It is what it is. It doesn't have to look like a picture postcard version.


If there is a get together you really want to go to, but dread it because you know you will have trouble hearing, try to "reframe" it as an opportunity to just meet and greet old friends, saving the more in depth conversations for other times. Or maybe suggest a sing a long or game that everyone, including you, can noisily participate in.


"Reframing" is just one part of helping with depression. You can learn more about it in the book "Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy" by David D. Burns, M.D. You can also find more examples on my website


If you are severely depressed, and self help tools aren't helping, do not hesitate to seek professional help. You can read my pages on Why Counseling? and How to Choose a Counselor on my acoustic neuroma website,


I hope these thoughts have been helpful to you and wish you a peaceful holiday season.


Kate Boswell MFT is a Los Angeles based Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Lic. No. MFC20851. She helps people with depression, anxiety, and relationship issues, related to their health concerns. Her Marina del Rey location is easily accessed from Playa del Rey, Playa Vista, Del Rey, Venice, Santa Monica, Westchester, Culver City, Inglewood, West Los Angeles, and the South Bay Cities. Kate can be reached at (310) 658-3158 and [email protected] .


Acoustic Neuroma and the Holidays

Posted by 2bstressfree on December 17, 2009 at 3:52 AM Comments comments (2)

The Holidays can be a stressful time of year for most people. If you are struggling with acoustic neuroma issues, it can be even more stressful.


You may find your balance lessening and your tinnitus increasing. You may find yourself not up to social events where you can't hear well over all the other people talking.


And if you were recently diagnosed or treated, you just may not feel like being in situations that are casually friendly. You may want to be with preferred close friends and family in quieter settings.


Here are a few tips to help you sail through The Season more easily:

  1. Find Balance: you may want to take advantage of fun social ocassions, without overdoing it. Pick and choose your events, allowing plenty of downtime.
  2. Take  Care of your Health: During busy times, we tend to forget about nutrition, exercise, and sleep. Make an extra effort to not throw these out the window. If you are too busy to take care of your well being, you are too busy!
  3. Get some Quiet: many people with tinnitus say that it worsens after being in a noisy environment. Try to choose quieter, smaller social events. And maybe pick favorite "stand alone" stores to shop in, rather than a mega mall.
  4. Keep things in Perspective: If you are out socializing and can't hear, rather than get stressed out, try on an attitude such as, "This is a casual event, to reconnect and say hello to a bunch of old friends; it is okay if we don't have deep meaningful conversations at this get together; we can catch up later." :)
  5. Spend a little time in nature: even if you live in a city, there are always nature spots around. Maybe a nice park, or a botanical garden, or the beach. Bundle up and take in the fresh air and nature sounds.

These are just a few general tips. I hope they are helpful. I will be posting tips on more specific situations around the Holidays, between now and the New Year.


Kate Boswell is a Los Angeles based psychotherapist, helping people cope with depression, anxiety, and relationship issues related to their health concerns. Her Marina del Rey location is near Playa del Rey, Playa Vista, Venice, Santa Monica, Del Rey, Culver City, Inglewood, Westchester, West Los Angeles, and the South Bay Cities. Kate is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Lic. No. MFC20851.

Acoustic Neuroma Hearing Loss: Strategies for Coping with Single Sided Deafness Caused by Acoustic Neuroma

Posted by 2bstressfree on August 21, 2009 at 7:10 PM Comments comments (1)

One sided hearing loss is often one of the first noticeable symptoms of acoustic neuroma. Increased hearing loss or even total deafness in the affected ear often result from the treatment.


If you are living with one sided hearing loss or deafness,you may be familiar with some of the following scenarios.


You are crossing a parking lot and hear someone calling your name. You can't tell what direction the call is coming from. You can't tell how far away it is either.  You look around for visual cues. In the meantime your friend calls out a few times, "Over here!" You have no idea what "Over here" means. You yell out,"Where?" and they repeat, "Over here!" You are tempted toshout out, "State your location precisely!"  You do a 360 degree turn and finally see yourfriend.


You have gone to a work related lunch meeting at a noisy restaurant. You arrive early and carefully choose a seat, where your affected ear will be facing away from most of the group. You leave your jacket on your chosen chair to mark it as taken. You dash off for a quick visit to the bathroom. When you return, the whole group has suddenly arrived. Someone has taken your seat and your jacket is now on a chair where your deaf ear will be pointed toward the group.


Your neighbor's stereo is on really loud. You have reached the point of deciding it is time to go and ask them to turn it down. The trouble is, you can't tell what direction it is coming from. All you know is that it is permeating your living space. So, you go out on a walk about, looking for visual cues. You are starting to feel frustrated with these investigative walks.


You are at a meeting at work. You wish people would talk one at a time, and listen to each other. With your one sided deafness, it is almost impossible to hear the designated speaker if there is side talking going on. Your ear will seem to fill up with the side talking going on around you, cancelling out what the speaker is saying. You happen to look to the side, and see that the person sitting beside you, next to your deaf ear, is moving their lips. They seem to be talking to you. You have no idea how long they have been carrying on and how much of it they assume you have been listening to.


The following tips are being offered to help you cope:


  • Use visual cues to help figure out where someone is when they are calling you.
  •  Use seating arrangements to your advantage, to the degree that you can.
  •  Become familiar with your environment and eventually you will have a sense of other people's habits, to help you solve the mystery of "where is that sound coming from?"
  • Communicate your needs to others, so they know that your preferred seating arrangement is a strategy toward hearing them better.
  •  Assert yourself. Chances are others can't hear well either, and will thank you for suggesting that people talk one at a time, or asking the speaker to repeat an important point.
  •  Be easy on others when they forget your hearing needs. They will appreciate your graciousness and be more willing to cooperate.
  •  You will probably have to remind people routinely and in a matter of fact way.
  •  Have a sense of humor. You really do have to in this situation.
  • Relax! Learn to roll with not being able to hear everything. You can always catch up with people one on one later, to talk more in depth than you can in a larger setting.   
  • I hope these tips have been helpful to you. I wish you thebest in your acoustic neuroma journey.


Kate Boswell MFT is a licensed marriage and family therapist in the Los Angeles area. She helps people with depression and anxiety, especially when it is related to coping with health issues. Her Marina del Rey location is near the communities of Playa del Rey, Playa Vista, Del Rey, VeniceBeach, Culver City, Inglewood, Westchester, Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach.


An Acoustic Neuroma Book in the Making

Posted by 2bstressfree on May 1, 2009 at 2:48 AM Comments comments (0)

As May 1st was approaching, it occured to me that would be the nine year anniversary of my acoustic neuroma surgery. I am commemorating this by committing to writing my book. The e-book is in draft form and is called Coping Emotionally with Acoustic Neuroma: from Diagnosis Aftershock to Treatment Aftereffects.


After the immediate recovery period nine years ago, it started feeling like there was a book in me that wanted to come out. I was journaling even when  I couldn't see well yet, and could only scribble and sketch pictures and symbols of my experience.  It was disappointing that the surgery caused some vision troubles, but the inner writer made the best of the tools available.


 Once my eyesight returned,  I continued writing periodically, about the experience and what it taught me. It seemed that my notes might be useful to someone someday. Soon, however, I was back to work and focusing on my career path again. The book stayed in the background of my mind and resurfaced once in a while.


The idea of a book kept resurfacing. It seems like there is a story to tell which will help other people. The "naysayer" in me says "There is no need! People can go to online discussion groups and read lots and lots of stories." The "yes" in me says, "You have a story to share about coping, and as one of the few therapists who have undergone this journey, it is your duty to tell it!"


Then the idea of an e-book came up. That is certainly more do-able than the  Great American Novel I was making it out to be. :D


Here you have it, my committment to completing an e-book early next year. In the meantime, please make use of the tips and thoughts on coping, in this website and blog.


Kate Boswell MFT is a marriage and family therapist in Marina del Rey, CA. She helps people cope with anxiety and face life challenges with confidence. She serves the nearby towns of Playa del Rey, Culver City, Venice, Westchester, and the greater West Los Angeles and South Bay areas. Kate can be reached at 310-658-3158 and


Coping with Acoustic Neuroma Diagnosis: Taming the Fear Factor

Posted by 2bstressfree on April 1, 2009 at 3:29 PM Comments comments (3)

If you have been diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma, it is natural to react with fear.

  • There are treatment decisions to be made, about something you probably have never heard of before.
  • Each option seems to come with its own set of possible bad outcomes.
  • How on earth can you deal with all of this calmly, and make the best possible choices?

I hope the following tips for coping with fear will help you calm your mind, and deal with the task at hand.

  1. Accept the fear as normal and natural. The less you try to push it away, the less power it will have over you.
  2. Arm yourself with information. Much of what you are fearing may just turn out to be worst case scenarios your imagination comes up with. And even for the worst case scenarios which are possible, you will be able to make informed choices for dealing with them.
  3. Tell others and accept their support. Friends, family, even coworkers will most likely be happy to lend you an ear and give you moral support. If they "do it wrong," remember, this is all new territory for them too!
  4. Seek out others who have gone through this already. A most likely place to find peer support is through the Acoustic Neuroma Association. If they don't have a local support group, you could always join in the online discussions.
  5. Trust in yourself. Remember another time in your life when you had to make a difficult decision, and things finally turned out okay.
  6. Relax! Take a few minutes each day for some relaxing activity, such as walking, breathing exercises, or just daydreaming about something very pleasant.  For tips on relaxation, see the article on my website,  The link on the resources page will also take you to my blog on Coping with Anxiety.
  7. Have some fun. It is too easy to let this become all consuming. Remember to take some time to laugh and enjoy life. Let others know, too, that you would like to spend some of your time together focusing on the lighter side.
  8. If you need more help with your fear, seek out a professional counselor who has experience in helping people deal with life changing medical issues. Acoustic neuroma is a major hurdle in your life, and sometimes just trying to cope with this hurdle can bring on depression or debilitating anxiety. There is no shame in seeking help for this. For ideas on how to choose a therapist, just click to my webpage on this topic.

I hope these tips have been helpful to you. I am an acoustic neuroma survivor and a therapist, who understands how scary an acoustic neuroma diagnosis can be. It is my hope that you will be able to cope with the fear and move forward in dealing with your acoustic neuroma.

Kate Boswell MFT is a therapist in private practice in Marina del Rey, Ca. She helps people cope with anxiety related to their health and other life challenges.



Acoustic Neuroma Association Symposium in Los Angeles 2013

Followup Contact with Presenter Kate Boswell MFT:

  • Kate Boswell MFT gave a presentation on Coping with the Emotional Impact of Acoustic Neuroma.
  • Kate Boswell MFT is available for counseling, to support coping emotionally with acoustic neuroma.
  • She is available for counseling sessions by phone in the state of California.
  • She is available for in person counseling in the Los Angeles area, in Marina del Rey.

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