About Rudi

Important note to my prospective clients:

Within the last few months, I made a big decision that has been long in the making. I decided to live in Switzerland (my home land) for 2 months in the summer and 2 months in the winter, starting January 15th to March 12th, plus July and August 2023.  

For some of you, the idea of having your therapist out of the country for an extended period of time might not work, for others a built-in break might be welcome. During the months away, I am planning to work as little as possible, but will be available for emergency Zoom sessions. The time difference is something to consider, as Switzerland is 9 hours ahead of California. I am always reachable via email, texts can get lost in the sim card switches.

I thought it would be important for you to know this before you keep on reading. 



Rudi Lion is a psychotherapist specializing in individual, couples and family therapy with a private practice in Santa Barbara, CA.

Rudi’s therapeutic approach is to provide support and practical feedback to help clients effectively address personal life challenges. Santa-barbara-mftShe integrates complementary techniques to offer a highly personalized approach tailored to each client. With compassion and understanding, she works with each individual to help them build on their strengths and attain the personal growth they are committed to accomplishing.

Education: Pacifica Graduate Institute, MA in Counseling Psychology
License: MFT 48741
Professional Memberships: CA and Santa Barbara CA MFT

A bit of my philosophy…..

Therapists have a strange profession since therapy’s core concern is suffering. We thrive on people’s misery, so to speak.

We all suffer at times. We all don’t like it. Therefore we do what we can to relieve the pain; we over eat, drink too much, watch excessive amounts of TV, or play video games, anything that lets us forget about our misery. It works. Unfortunately, only temporarily. Forgetting about what bothers us, ignoring it, only makes things worse.

Think of your body and its minor and major scratches, sometimes even serious injuries. If you do not take care of these ailments, your body might still function but often at a reduced capacity. You might be too sensitive to touch in certain areas, not able to climb the mountain you dreamt of climbing, or you might feel a chronic, lingering pain somewhere in your body. Not taking proper care of your injuries leaves you with a body that is diminished.

This is true for your inner life as well. If you do not deal with your greater or lesser sorrows, you might experience yourself suddenly being provoked into either rage, where you become unnecessarily critical or defensive, despair and/or withdrawal without understanding what just happened.

“Wait,” you might say, “I know lots of people who never examine their lives and are just fine.” Yes, yes I know these people too. Do I believe that they are fine? Yes! And that’s it right there! Just fine! I for one want more out of this life than ‘just fine’. I want a deep and full experience. It is, after all, the only ride we might get. I believe that dealing with my own pain, sorrow, darkness has a direct correlation to my access to joy, pleasure and happiness. Joy and sorrow live on continuum, the deeper I dig, the higher I can fly.

I am in this profession and love what I do, because I want you to have the best life you can. My wish for you is to experience the freedom to access all emotions; to not have to shy away from certain ones because they bring up memories of an old unresolved agony.

The philosopher Socrates said ‘Self-knowledge is the highest form of knowledge.’ I agree. All of your relationships, be it with friends, lovers, spouses, children or co-workers are rooted in your relationship to yourself. Often you do not know who you are though, because you have been conditioned by parents, peers and culture to be who they want or need you to be. You might have experienced trauma such as a severe accident, had an abusive or neglectful parent or a bully at school that still haunts your nightmares. These more or less traumatic life events also clouds the mirror of self-knowledge, for the pain of acknowledging the trauma would be too great, or so you fear.

Here is where I come in, to help you polish the mirror, giving you access to the preciousness inside of you. I see my job as two-fold. First I listen to your story and help you connect the pieces; to weave a beautiful Persian rug from the different strands of your memoir. Insight into and understanding of your personal story can be tremendously beneficial. It will help you to understand your triggers, so the sudden, uninvited moments of withdrawal, rage or despair will happen less frequently and might even eventually vanish. Understanding your past, the environment you were raised in, the experiences that shaped you, are important pieces of information in discovering your authentic self.

Is this really me or do I act this way because of my conditioning or an old hurt? This is one of the questions I will ponder with you. I see my job very much as a lantern holder, shining light on your path, holding your hand occasionally when necessary, knowing that with some illumination you will discover your own unique direction, a life that is truly yours.

Sometimes though, understanding your story is not enough. You need to create new pathways of action. If a certain trigger calls forth a certain response, often involuntarily, that leaves very little choice. I like to have choices, I like to be able to say YES or NO and give myself enough time to truly know which one it is. Wouldn’t you?

Let me now use a more scientific explanation of trauma and how it can keep you stuck in old behavior. When you experience trauma – any experience the body/mind/spirit cannot properly absorb- the brain goes into shock and the trauma can become ‘frozen’ in your nervous system. Your innate information processing ability has been disrupted. Any new experience that is only even slightly reminiscent of the traumatic event will trigger the original feelings of the trauma. These are either feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, despair or rage, also referred to as the ‘fight, flight or freeze mode’. Because the original information stays stuck and cannot move through the system by being properly processed you continue to relive the original trauma. Those unprocessed feelings leave you unable to pause and consider your options, they just have you react to escape from the feelings of the original trauma at all cost. How can therapy help?

It gives you tools. Tools to decrease your pain and tools to increase your ability to ‘handle discomfort’. It is much like going to the gym and working out, which builds muscle and endurance. Therapy can help you build your muscle of ‘pain endurance’, so the need to run away from feelings of pain or unease lessens. I use EMDR, a technique to help with trauma resolution, mindfulness or simply slowing down the thought process and breathing deeply to strengthen this muscle.

The key to the kingdom of acceptance and to freedom from victim hood, is the telling of a ‘slow-motion’ version of your story, with enough pauses to feel and digest the pains and sorrows. As they say, “the only way out is through”, and the light at the end of the tunnel will be a life of greater authenticity, happiness and true choice.

Call Now for a 15-minute Free Consultation

Rudi Lion MFT, (805) 453-4826 or rudilion@yahoo.com.

Rudi Lion MFT
(805) 453-4826

2020 Alameda Padre Serra
Suite 217
Santa Barbara, CA 93103

Near Santa Barbara Mission and downtown Santa Barbara, close to 101 freeway, easy access from freeway, wheelchair friendly, easy access from Goleta and Carpinteria. Click for Driving Directions.

Skype counseling sessions available to remote locations.

Specialties include couples therapy, EMDR, short term therapy, trauma therapy and PTSD therapy.