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Meet Mika

HELP FOR PARENTS, FAMILIES, TEENS, AND ADULTS

Welcome, outliers! Gifted Matters is a place for you to get help, understand yourself or your child, figure out what you want to do next, and heal from things that should never have happened. I specialize in helping smart, complex folks sort out how to live more comfortably in their own skin, and cope with the increasingly challenging landscape of our times.

People who work with me may or may or not identify with the following descriptors: gifted, 2e, anxious, depressed, LGBTQI+, homeschooling, young adult, learning differences, parent, autistic, neurodivergent, high-achieving, under-achieving, perfectionism, transitions, ADHD....if any of these ring bells, and you're looking for support, we should talk. 

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CURRENT CLIENT PORTAL

NEW CLIENTS

Please schedule an introductory call.

Counseling
services breakdown

Counseling

Mika provides individual counseling to adults, adolescents, young adults and parents. Counseling provides an opportunity for you to focus on your concerns, with individual attention and support from Mika. Sessions are either in person in the office in Campbell, or online using a HIPPA-compliant platform. You and Mika will collaboratively decide on an agenda and an approach which works for your specific needs and concerns. Mika's background includes extensive experience helping with issues such as anxiety, depression, perfectionism, neuro-atyipicality (including 2e issues, autism and ADHD), giftedness, parenting, life transitions, educational planning and more. The modalities she uses draw from a wide variety of approaches, including client-centered therapy, CBT, DBT, polyvagal theory, psychodynamic psychotherapy and internal family systems. To learn more about Mika's approach and style, you can read about her here and on the blog here.

What about Insurance?

Mika does not work directly with any insurance provider. Full payment is collected after each session via the payments section of the online client portal. The portal lets you schedule appointments and access statements, which you may submit to your insurance for reimbursement if that is a part of your coverage.

consultation

Consultation

For a client who is not seeking psychotherapy, consultation services are an option. Consultation is appropriate for specific, one-time or recurring issues which do not require mental-health care. Problems for which consultation might be a good fit include specific coaching in parenting, developing a plan to manage a life-transition, or making decisions about education or employment options. Mika provides consultation to clients living anywhere, either in person or online. Please note that while some insurances may reimburse for counseling services, they typically will not reimburse for consultation services.

speaker + prof dev

Speakers & Professional Development

Mika is available for presentations and workshops for groups of 5-500. She will create a topic for your group that specifically addresses your concerns. Previous training sessions have included:

  • An Island of Calm in a Turbulent Sea: Caring for Yourself While Raising Your Intense Child

  • Metacognition and Mindfulness for Moms and Dads – Expanding the Toolkit for Family Well-Being

  • Dancing With Perfectionism: Learning Flexibility in an Increasingly Rigid World

  • Of Course My Kid is Smart – What’s the Big Deal? Using the Term “Gifted” in Homeschooling

  • Helping the Cheetahs: Developing a Specialty with Gifted and Twice-Exceptional Clients

  • Beyond the “Socialization Question” – A Parent’s Guide

Interested in a presentation or workshop for your group?

all about mika

All About Mika

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Please call me Mika.
(she/her/hers)

What I do: I’m a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, licensed in California (license number MFC35478). Since 2008, I've been focusing on helping an amazing group of humans in my private practice. I work exclusively with people for whom "smart is just the tip of the iceberg". I work with adults of all ages, parents, and adolescents. I do not work directly with children younger than 13. I do not provide couples counseling.

My philosophy:

I believe that:

  • Children are always doing the best they can.

  • Behavior is communication.

  • Some children are harder to parent than others, and some stages are harder than others within a single kid.

  • There is nearly always a REASON for behavior; it's adults' job to figure that out.

  • Of course the world makes you anxious.

  • You're not broken.

  • This too shall pass (the good and the bad).

  • Toxic positivity is toxic.

  • You are the expert on your own experience.

  • Healing is not linear.

  • Just showing up and being present is 85% of the work, and it's not easy.

  • Yes, you can actually be that sensitive. It's not a brokenness, it's a way you're drawn. Sensitivity is not emotional immaturity.

  • The relationship is what heals.

  • I have a whole stinkin' lot of experience with these issues; I also find myself wondering what to do a whole lot, experience notwithstanding.

  • You are valid. Your experiences, emotions and understandings are valid. Even if you question them. Questioning them is valid.

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all about mika

Office Walkthrough

client info

Client Info

Cancellations

If you know ahead of time that you will not be able to make your appointment, you may cancel it up to 24 hours in advance with no charge. Within that 24 hour window, you may be charged for the full session cost, including if you fail to show up for the appointment. The late-cancel fee will always be waived for reasons of illness, and may be waived, at Mika’s discretion, for other unforseeable emergencies. 

COVID & Illness Policy

Gifted Matters has policies in place to help limit the spread of COVID-19, and to comply with laws and guidelines issued by government agencies and mental health professional associations. These policies will be updated to reflect the changing situation as needed, as well as addressing the needs of our immunocompromised clients and office colleagues. As of April 3, 2023, the county lifted the masking mandate for health care settings. Accordingly, we have updated our Covid-19 Policy.

If you have an in-person appointment, please adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Things to know before you come to the office:

    • Only individuals who are fully vaccinated and boosted for COVID-19, according to whatever vaccines and boosters are available, may come into the office. This includes babies or children too young for vaccination.

    • If you have any symptoms of COVID, know that you have been exposed but are waiting test results, or you have any symptoms of any other communicable illness - DON'T COME TO THE OFFICE. There are never any late cancellation fees for reasons of illness, or even suspected illness. PLEASE, if you have any question about your health status, or that of your child (even one who is not a client), cancel the appointment.

    • If you have been having COVID symptoms, or tested positive for COVID, a negative test may be necessary to resume in-person sessions.

  • When at the office:

    • Masks are required in all of the common areas of the suite, especially the waiting room. The common areas of the rest of the building are mask-optional.

    • We discourage people from spending long periods of time in the waiting room, even if masked. The waiting room has poor ventilation and it's too small to keep socially distanced. If it is feasible for you/your child, please consider the following options in lieu of a long waiting room stay:

      • If the conference room across the hall is empty, you can sit there (wifi should reach that far)

      • There are seats in the lobby of the building downstairs.

      • You may wait in your car.

      • You may walk across the street and enjoy any of the food, drink and other amenities at the Pruneyard (There's a Books Inc now!)

    • There will possibly be others using the waiting room now, as some families do need to stay close to their children while they are receiving services at our office. So - you will need to decide if you feel comfortable waiting in the waiting room for your appointment, or if you'd rather wait elsewhere and just text Mika when you arrive.

    • Individually, in arrangement with Mika, you may be unmasked in the inner office. This is not a requirement -- if you prefer to remain (and for me to remain) masked, that's fine too. Mika’s own personal boundary is that she is happy to unmask in the inside office if that is comfortable for you, and to remain masked if that is your preference. 

Emergencies

This section gives details of what you can expect from Mika when there is an emergency situation. Hopefully,  none of the information here becomes necessary. Please note that Mika is not available on a 24/7 basis to provide immediate support.

 

Mika will do what she can to provide appropriate support when urgent issues arise, however typically if there are ongoing emergency issues there will need to be others on the team to provide the necessary support. Those others can include medical doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, case managers and programs. Mika can provide referrals to assist you in assembling your team.  If you are anticipating that a crisis is coming, we recommend that you do not wait until the crisis is upon you to begin forming a team, but that you work with Mika ahead of time to make a plan and connect with other professionals before they become necessary.

Guidelines for Emergencies

  • If you feel this is a life-threatening emergency, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room. If you are not sure if the situation warrants an ER visit, we recommend erring on the side of caution and going anyway. Note that depending on your health insurance, going straight to the ER could incur special costs; you might want to check with them before you go.

  • If your child or teen is in crisis, and you do not want to wait until the next available office appointment, you can contact the Santa Clara County Mobile Crisis Team here: https://upliftfs.org/service/continuum-of-crisis-care . Their 24-hour number is (408) 379-9085 

  • If you are in need of immediate support for suicide prevention, the following website https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ can direct you to specific support for your issue. This organization provides support to both suicidal individuals and their loved ones. The 24-hour number is 1-800-273-8255.

  • The Crisis Text Line is also available. Go here: https://www.crisistextline.org for information on how to use it.

  • If you need to get a response to an urgent matter from someone at Gifted Matters, you can contact Mika Gustavson, Director of Gifted Matters. She can be reached via email at mikag@stanfordalumni.org, or via phone or text at 408-375-9635. A text will get the fastest response, though we can make no guarantee as to how quickly she can reply. Texting Mika does not constitute an adequate plan for an emergency. Mika covers urgent matters for all Gifted Matters staff. Staff therapists have limited work hours and will not be able to respond faster than 24-48 hours, depending on their schedule.

  • If you have had an emergency between visits, please inform your therapist before the next session, via phone or email, as to the current status of the situation. Your therapist may suggest an adults-only appointment, either in lieu of or in addition to, a child appointment, to allow for a more thorough conversation.

details about workshops and presentations

Workshop & Presentation Info

​An Island of Calm in a Turbulent Sea: Caring for Yourself While Raising Your Intense Child

Special Needs, Twice-Exceptional, Gifted, Sensitive, Spectrum Issues, Sensory Issues, ADD — what do all of these labels have in common? They are all traits which require specialized parenting, and frequently result in a highly intense experience for the parent. This workshop will explore how we can care for ourselves while we raise our intense children, and why that is vital for their well-being (not to mention ours…). Topics covered include creating a support system, dealing with isolation, learning how to manage our own intensities, and how to set realistic expectations (of ourselves as well as our children).​

Metacognition and Mindfulness for Moms and Dads – Expanding the Toolkit

for Family Well-Being

More and more research is showing how important it can be to slow down, become more mindful of our bodies and present experiences. More and more people are learning about mindfulness meditation — but there is more to metacognition (thinking about thinking) and mindfulness than seated, quiet contemplation. This workshop explores how metacognition, including mindfulness practices, can be useful in practical, daily ways to manage stress, handle unexpected events, and help guide our children towards better self-knowledge and self-regulation.​

Dancing With Perfectionism: Learning Flexibility in an Increasingly Rigid World

Why does my child: obsess about a final percentage point on a test? take much longer on assignments than they need to? refuse to try new things for fear they won’t do it perfectly? I don’t judge them at all — how can my kids judge themselves so harshly? Perfectionism is a common problem for gifted and twice-exceptional children, and complex to figure out. This session explores where perfectionism comes from, why it is a particular problem for gifted and twice-exceptional children, and what parents and teachers can do about it.​

Of Course My Kid is Smart – What’s the Big Deal? Using the Term “Gifted” in Homeschooling

Many of us love to hate on the “g” word — gifted. But knowing who your child is, and what their needs are is intrinsic to the homeschooling experience. Regardless of your stance on testing, IQ, or comparisons with other children, if you homeschool, you are uniquely free to create an educational experience that is tailored to your child. This workshop explores how asynchronous development in gifted and twice – exceptional (gifted plus challenged) children impacts them academically, socially, emotionally and behaviorally — and how to use homeschooling to create the environment they need in order to thrive.​

Helping the Cheetahs: Developing a Specialty with Gifted and Twice-Exceptional Clients

Clinicians are trained to recognize and treat a wide variety of difficulties, and a wide variety of populations. One population not covered, however, is that of gifted and twice-exceptional individuals. This workshop focuses on how to develop an expertise with this population, including an exploration of how giftedness impacts the therapeutic relationship, common questions and issues from clients, and how to market a practice focusing on gifted clients.​

Beyond the “Socialization Question”

A Parent’s Guide

Parents of asynchronous, intense, gifted and otherwise “outside the box” children are often criticized as “helicopter parents” for being overly involved in their child’s social development; others take a hands-off approach out of fear or self-doubt. Questions abound: Does my child have enough friends? What qualifies as “enough”? Whom should they be friends with and how can they keep those friends? Does age matter? We want our children to have fulfilling social lives, but many of our kids already struggle to find people with the same esoteric interests. How are they to cultivate deep, meaningful friendships? What role should parents and other caring adults play in these social interactions?Based on the book Writing Your Own Script: A Parent’s Role in the Gifted Child’s Social Development, this workshop explores the social needs of gifted and 2e kids, and the particular challenges facing parents in providing support for that face of their development.

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