B.A. Degree in Art History, University of California, San Diego
M.S. Degree in Counseling, Marriage and Family Therapy, San Diego State University
Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society
Member of CAMFT
California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist MFC # 46498
Who I am professionally:
I have always been fascinated with the strength of the human spirit and our ability to evolve and thrive under many different circumstances. Certainly, my work with children and adolescents and their families reinforced this belief. Working with children removed from their families and living in a group home was a dramatic awakening into their process of grief and loss, adaptability and resilience. In this setting, I would work alone with an individual teen, usually without the parent available to participate. The bond that was forged was often powerful and allowed the client to have a safe space to discuss the changes in her life.
Next, I worked at Rady Children’s Outpatient Psychiatry with children, adolescents and their families. This was a model in which parents were often available to participate in treatment. I became grounded in the medical model, which is a traditional, systematic approach to assessing pathology by ruling out similar diagnoses and working with an interdisciplinary approach which involved a team of psychiatrists, social workers and psychologists all working to improve client care. In sessions I often employed breathing and relaxation techniques, guided imagery and story telling. Certain clients benefitted from the use of expressive arts therapy and sand tray play.
Previously I worked with medically fragile children in a program called “Partners for Children” through San Diego Hospice. This treatment involves visiting families and patients in their homes and providing support and parenting interventions, as needed. The ongoing stress of dealing with treatment and doctors’ visits can create continuous disturbances within the family.
Currently, and for the last few years, I have been in private practice in Sorrento Valley working with a diverse group of adults. I mostly see issues around anxiety, depression, separation and divorce and life transition challenges. As I continue my professional development I am pursuing more training in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Imago Couples work in order to offer clients the possibility of making valued choices that lead to a richer life experiences.
My training at San Diego State was multicultural and based on a family systems approach. Since then I have broadened my interests to include attachment theory, brain-based approaches and work with couples. I am especially interested in individuals and families, and their life transitions: whether that is adolescence, menopause, midlife questions, or young people leaving home and the empty nest syndrome or end of life issues.
There are many transitions in life. Here are some that I have been through which I believe I can help you navigate:
We all have to go through the change from children to adolescents. All of us can remember how awkward this transition can be, but as a therapist I believe I have a special affinity for adolescents, I believe I can be of great help in guiding them through this transition to adulthood. I love their truth-seeking ambitions which can combine deep shadow on the one hand with idealism on the other. These ambitions form a kaleidoscope of life which at times can be quite dark, but rich in its depths.
Many of us marry and have children with all of the changes that brings. Marriage can be another strong transition, as Rainer Maria Rilke states, “Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky.” In a marriage it is often the tension between this space and the desire to feel whole by moving closer that can create tension in the relationship. Skillful therapy can facilitate a softening in your relationship and lead to a greater understanding and appreciation of your partner. Through the process of therapy you can become more attached to your partner and get more of the love you want.
Many of us divorce and have to learn how to parent our children alone and how to be in relationship with someone who is no longer our spouse. Finding a balance for co-parenting is an important and worthwhile transition after divorce. Unfortunately, without support, parents often recreate the dynamics of their failed marriage. I can help you to deal skillfully with the other parent or, in some cases, reduce reactivity. Smooth relations with the co-parent will benefit your children immensely in their life after the divorce. You will be modeling appropriate mature behavior and sometimes this can be the most important take home message for your children.
After a divorce many women have to enter the workplace and are challenged to develop new skills in order to provide for themselves and their families, perhaps returning to school. Some of us have to relocate with our children across the country and have to rebuild our lives. We may be faced with health issues that substantially changes the quality of our lives. Any of these transitions may cause depression, creating a feeling of hopelessness and isolation. Therapy can provide a sanctuary in which you can get support, understanding, and compassion.
In addition to developing depression women, just like men, may go through a “midlife crisis,” which necessitates some soul searching and reevaluation. This very feeling of pressure provides an opportunity for growth and, perhaps, new beginnings. As aging adults we all have to learn to redefine ourselves as older, and hopefully wiser, people. For women this can be further complicated by the physical changes of menopause. Menopause is another powerful transition that may require extra support; navigating through the morass of feelings and uncharted changes in the body is not for the faint of heart.
Finally, for those of us who re-marry, we find that it brings challenges different than those of our previous marriage, so we must continue to adapt. Blended families are unique entities with their own dynamics, resiliencies, and interconnections. Growing a successful family requires care, attention, nurturing, and tenacity. These demands can feel overwhelming at times and therapy can sooth the difficult transitions.
Lastly, the transition of having our children go off to college may seem like a blessing but may leave a void that we need help to fill. We are constantly faced with transitions like this— change defines life and our ability to adapt and thrive determines how fully we will enjoy it. Therapy provides a support, a sounding board, and guidance for your journey through the many transitions of life. Sometimes these transitions are the very subtle stirring of the psyche that cannot be perceived from the outside. But taking time with the “interior landscape” makes all the difference in how you will feel and experience life, and your ability to find the joy breath by breath even through difficult transitions is crucial.