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New wellness center helps families improve life

February 5, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
In our busy, stressed out society it's a given -- every American family faces challenges. Let's say your kids have behavioral problems, you're unhappy in your marriage or you feel stretched thin all the time.While these may sound like difficult issues to solve, now the UCLA Family Commons in Santa Monica is here to help.

"You bring us your problem and we're going to go find the right science to what you need and to what you want," said Mary Jane Rotherham-Borus, the director of UCLA Family Commons.

Whether it's time management, bullying at school or divorce, the center's director says her family coaches and counselors are armed with the knowledge to improve your life.

The first step is a family wellness assessment. Counselors help people identify how they spend every hour of every week and then help them figure out how to find more balance.

"Every child and family are unique and our goal is to help you discover your strengths and resources and to optimize your health the way you want to," said Borus.

UCLA experts use this analogy: Living guarantees problems, and your family is the protective boat that guides you along the river of life.

"Our goal is to make sure that you have the oars that allow you to steer the boat the way you want to," said Borus.

The long range goal is to create neighborhood clinics in local shopping malls. Besides counseling and other services, the staff offers classes in martial arts, yoga, physical fitness and mindful awareness.

"How you want to shape your life, how you want your family's values to be expressed on a daily basis is your decision," said Borus. "Our goal is to support you to make that decision."

According to the director at UCLA Family Commons their counseling services cost about a fourth less than traditional therapy sessions. They also offer a sliding fee scale based on income.

CLA is partnering with the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation to open up more clinics. One is planned for next year at the old Ambassador Hotel site in Wilshire Center.