Michael Zabala Aquino
Chronic Pain Physical Therapy
Ortho/ Sports Physical Therapy
Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy
Gender Affirming Services
Retrain and Know Pain Coaching
“I am a person who has lived with chronic pelvic and chest pain for over 6 years and I am living a full happy life doing what I care about, but it wasn’t always that way…
There was a time in my life when I got to a point where I could not take it anymore. After countless 5-10 min doctor’s visits without any sort of help, guidance, or explanation, constantly having my symptoms and experiences dismissed and taking medications prescribed to me that did nothing or made me feel worse, I began to feel very lost, scared, and invisible in my suffering with no hope in sight. I knew something had to change and it was time to
start listening and trusting myself to get better
My path to getting my doctorate in physical therapy granted me hope for a better future. It was during that time that I learned there were people who specialized in helping people like me, people with chronic pain and I knew I had found my path. During this time I developed a love for pain neuroscience and its therapeutic applications, which transformed how I viewed pain and led me to the road to recovery. I was no longer afraid of my pain and it no longer dictated my life. I finally felt some control of my body.
I have had the privilege of going through mentorships and continued education for specializing in the treatment of chronic/persistent pain conditions where I have had the opportunity to work with many amazing people who went from suffering to thriving. I was also able to attain my Therapeutic Pain Specialist certification through the International Spine and Pain Institute to deepen my understanding of pain. I now get to share my passion for providing compassionate pain care with my patients and other health professionals, while continuing to learn more about pain, so I can continue helping others like me.”
Growing up, my family battled with addiction, mental illness, and dysfunction. After high school, I quickly joined the Marine Corps. And I served on three deployments (Iraq, Korea, and Southeast Asia). Throughout my service, I secretly struggled with an eating disorder, depression, and suicidal thoughts. After being honorably discharged, my symptoms became so debilitating that I became homeless. As a result, I finally found the willingness to receive professional help through the VA and spent four months at UCSD Eating Disorders Center. There I dedicated myself to doing whatever it took to fully recover. While in treatment, I was given the opportunity to lead a group therapy session; at that moment, I found my calling to be a therapist. Since then I’ve been awarded Student Employee of the Year as a Mental Health Peer Educator, received my bachelor’s degree in psychology from UCLA, and my master’s degree in social work from USC.
When it comes to accomplishing your goals in therapy, it starts with making sure we are a good fit, and that we can create and maintain a genuine relationship. While I have resources and specialized training, I can only give you my best guess. I value you as the expert in your own life; I consider myself as a fellow-journeyer on the path. If we agree that we can work together, I will initially focus on fostering safety in our sessions. Safety is important, more importantly, though, my focus will be on helping you build resiliency and effectiveness. I will be honest with you, I will hold you accountable, and I will be empathetic. Creating a life with meaning takes work. You got to do the reps, and I am here to spot you. I work for you.
If you are interested in working with me, please reach out and we can set up a 15-minute complimentary therapist fit assessment.
I typically work with folks that struggle with eating disorders, suicidal thoughts, family dysfunction/ACA, emotional addiction, sexual addiction, romance, being single, substance abuse, military trauma, sexual trauma, mental health, and PTSD. I also work with veterans. And men, women, and children of all ages. Lastly, I do men’s work largely through the perspectives of Robert Glover, David Deida, and Robert Bly.
I largely use the following interventions through a strength-based approach: Internal Family Systems (IFS), EMDR Therapy, classic exposure therapies, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, DBT, SMART Recovery/CBT, Mindfulness training, and Bowen Family Systems.
Dr. Andrei Dokukin is a physician based in Long Beach, California. His professional career ranges from a former professional dancer with American Ballet Theater who later became a Gyrotonic® instructor to finally becoming a medical doctor. Throughout his training in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and later Interventional Spine and Pain Medicine he realized that current approaches in the treatment of musculoskeletal conditions by modern western medicine are often flawed by our modern society’s desire for a quick fix of all chronic physical and emotional pain problems. Overuse and misuse of opioids, benzodiazepines, and other psychoactive medications more often cause the worsening of the same conditions for which these drugs were originally intended and prescribed to treat. When Dr. Dokukin decided to not treat patients with commonly prescribed opioids, he was ostracized by mainstream “Pain Doctors” only later to affirm his beliefs after becoming a practitioner of Addiction Medicine. His current practice includes detoxification patients off opioids, benzodiazepines, and other psychoactive substances and replacing them with tools that help address the causes of chronic pain, addiction, and other mental illness.
By Appointment Only
3939 Atlantic Ave.
Long Beach, CA 90807