About Mike Fatula


People depicted in image are not actual
counseling clients of Mike Fatula, MS.LMFT

Throughout our lifespans
we seek connection…

I started a career in helping people connect with themselves and with other people by working directly with developmentally disabled children and their families at Indiana University’s Affiliated Program, the Developmental Training Center. Developmental disabilities include autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation, and epilepsy. I worked particularly with developmentally disabled children who had behavior problems. While any child can have behavior problems, can you imagine how frustrating it would be to express your needs if you had difficulty talking, walking, or if, as is the case with autistic children, your mind repeated phrases and your body repeated movements? Behavior problems develop in special needs children because of frustration communicating their needs, difficulty interacting with the world in a way they experience as meaningful, and feeling they don’t “fit in.” In turn, their siblings and parents can have special needs, as they adjust to having a family member who is differently challenged.

I continued to explore an interest in behavior management by doing a counseling internship in graduate school at Indiana Boy’s School for incarcerated youth. I worked with adolescent young men considered by the institution to be the most difficult or to have committed the most serious crimes. Many of these teenagers were from less advantaged environments.

After graduate school, I worked with Monroe County Community Action Program, a War on Poverty Program, training staff in basic counseling skills, doing case management, and participating in research on the difference between the needs of the “urban poor” and “rural poor.”

In 1977, I moved to Los Angeles and worked with the Hollywood Human Service Project, a research & planning project, co-sponsored by the Mayor’s Office and the LA Free Clinic, to study the social and health needs of Hollywood and facilitate community organizations in working together to meet those needs. One program that came out of our research & planning was for “runaway youth,” many of whom were living on the streets or rooftops of Hollywood and involved in prostitution.

After the Hollywood Human Services Project, I did my clinical hours for LMFT licensure in a private counseling practice where one of the populations served was LGBTQ+ folks. During the years I’ve had my own private practice, other populations I’ve served include people in show business and people who consider themselves to be codependent.

However, before entering private practice full-time, I returned briefly to the field of developmental disabilities, doing case management at North LA and East LA Regional Centers and doing community organizing & planning for early intervention services for developmentally disabled children from birth to age three at West LA Regional Center. The early intervention project was based on research that shows early detection of developmental disabilities, and early intervention services to those children identified, greatly improves the quality of their lives and the lives of their families who love them.

For the last thirty years, I have been in private counseling practice where I continue to learn from experts in the field and from my clients. In 2018, I completed a three year core training course in ISTDP, intensive short-term dynamic psychotherapy for individuals. I’m currently studying EFT, emotionally focused therapy for couples. Both ISTDP and EFT are based in attachment theory (see the book “A Secure Base,” by John Bowlby). Both emphasize the importance of feelings– in therapy and in life.

Here is a list of my Publications & Productions.