is Getting Started.
For over 15 years I have been working with people from diverse backgrounds in a mental health setting. In my therapy practice I have helped clients who are artists, teachers, musicians, parents, people who choose not to have children, doctors, lawyers, janitors, scientists, unhoused, privileged, and those who are secure in or exploring their sexuality. People usually find me easy to talk to, nonjudgmental, and authentic. I am the parent of two shelter pets and young adult twin humans.
Why I Became a Therapist
My love of and curiosity about people began way before becoming a therapist. I worked with children in various environments for over 15 years. The relationships I built were very rewarding, and I got a lot out of "being the person I wish I had when I was a kid."
My most meaningful job was working with children at a women's shelter for four years. I learned about the dynamics of domestic violence and its impact on families. However, the most special and unique part of this experience was the director of the shelter, Sheron. She became a mentor to me, professionally and personally. I learned so much from Sheron about resilience, compassion, dignity, mental health, and boundaries.
Sheron touched so many people's lives, and I know that it was mutual. This made her life rich, and this is what I wanted for myself -- to connect with people the way that she did.
Education & Training
Syracuse University, 1991, BA Psychology
New York University, 1993, MA Liberal Studies
John F. Kennedy University, 2007, MA Counseling Psychology
Gottman Methods Couple Therapy, 2008, Level 1
Licensed CA Marriage & Family Therapist, 2014, MFC#79590
Certified Sex Therapy Informed Professional, 2022
Substance Abuse, Recovery, and Codependence
Therapy gives you the chance to explore your habits, emotions, decision-making, and behaviors in a safe environment. Self-awareness is essential for change. When you are aware of your thinking patterns, you can make the changes you need to align your core identity with your words, actions, and behaviors.
People used to go to couples therapy most often when one person already had a foot out the door, to make sure they tried everything before separating, or to recover from infidelity. However, you don't have to be in a crisis to get help, and there are a myriad of reasons to embark on this new venture together.
Therapy can help reignite the spark that you once had, improve communication and intimacy, and start the fierce conversations (that you have been avoiding) in a safe place with a neutral person.
Learning more compassionate ways of communicating helps you understand your partner and yourself better, for a more meaningful relationship.
Love and connection require vulnerability and risk. Emotional scars get in the way of feeling safe enough to be vulnerable.
Therapy can help you identify your desires, figure out when you are ready to start (or end) a relationship, understand why you have certain behavior patterns in relationships, and how to ask for what you need. Everyone will benefit and grow when this communication happens in a loving way.
Many people wonder why no one told them how incredibly hard parenting is until they’re already doing it. Many people expect to navigate these uncharted waters by reading how-to books, having cared for siblings, or perhaps having a psychology degree. You are not alone, and we can create a safe space to explore parenting issues -- the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Depression & Anxiety
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is proven to be effective in changing cognitive distortions that contribute to depression and anxiety. Therapy for depression and anxiety may also involve a medical doctor who can prescribe medicine. I encourage people to try breathwork, massage, movement, nature, and/or acupuncture in addition to the talk therapy.
All of our feelings serve a purpose, to keep us well. A little anxiety before an exam is normal, but if anxiety gets in the way of your every day functioning then therapy can help you gain control.
Panic attacks can be frightening, and many people go to the Emergency Room thinking they are having a heart attack. This can be extremely frightening, but believe it or not, with practice it can be managed. You can learn preventative and abortive techniques in therapy. Sometimes a medical doctor will be consulted to help with treatment.
Substance use, abuse, addiction, and recovery are all phases of one's relationship with substances that can benefit from the support of talk therapy. In some cases I encourage clients to participate in 12-step programs outside of therapy.
Changing the behavior is only part of recovery -- understanding what led to substance abuse is where the healing begins.
Stress & Trauma
Whether you are dealing with every day life stress or an accumulation of traumatic events, you can find relief in therapy. Learning new tools to cope with overwhelming feelings and having a place to sit with your thoughts are part of the process of managing stress and trauma reactions.
Emotional abuse can be just as damaging as physical or sexual abuse.
If someone you love has been hypercritical, dismissed your feelings, ignored your boundaries, been manipulative and/or controlling, you may find yourself constantly questioning if you are being too sensitive, wondering if you are a good enough partner, or feeling like you can’t do anything right.
Therapy can help you notice when it’s happening, learn new responses that make you feel safe, and have healthier, more rewarding relationships.