“Seeing clients change to have deeper connection in their relationships is what makes my workday worthwhile.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
At 15, I asked my parents and their friends what they hate about their jobs and they all said "repetition". I wanted a career where every day is different, and psychology has been my field from the beginning. I started working with trauma by being randomly assigned a case of a young child in foster care with allegations of parental abuse; I learned to find the precursors and heal the damage. I began training in trauma, in earnest, and love making big differences in people's lives. Seeing clients change to have deeper connection in their relationships is what makes my workday worthwhile.
What should someone know about working with you?
My goal is to get you healed from any previous life events and happy in your current life. First, we will meet by phone for a consultation (15 minutes) to see if we will be a good fit. The first appointment is intake where I ask 101 questions on your life from birth to now to make my evaluation. Then, I'll write and send you a treatment plan, outlining the issues I see and how I intend to get you through them. Sessions are 50 minutes in length, conducted through video. I believe in doing the work in session, so I do not assign homework. I love working with "tough" cases, like trauma, adults and teens.
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
Each year, I exceed the state requirement for Continuing Education credits. I love to learn and have seen a number of issues in my practice that I never planned to work with. I believe we all need to expand our knowledge base to include most issues a client may have, as well as continuing to explore our niche and "do the thing better.” There are always new techniques to learn, ways to improve, and new topics to explore. I'm a therapy nerd. I have colleagues from all over the country that I consult with when one of us is stuck or needs advice on a client. I also supervise interns, just learning to practice therapy, which keeps my basic skills sharp.
How do your core values shape your approach to therapy?
I grew up dirt poor and lived in mixed race neighborhoods. I was never taught to hate others based on any factors other than personality. Being the racial minority in the neighborhoods I grew up in (in Southern California), I did not see myself as different. My socio-economic status was more of an influence on how I saw the world than my race; as such, I saw all of us poor kids as the same, and recognized the divide in wealth as privilege. My parents were addicts for a big part of my life. I spent many years working in substance abuse, running treatment centers, and working directly with addiction. I understand addiction on an intellectual, personal, and professional level, and can speak with clients about their struggles from a unique perspective.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
As much as the pandemic sucked, I like that it gave the online space more voice. It showed us that many jobs can be done remotely and we can utilize technology in new ways. I'm excited to work from home, to get licensed in multiple states, and to provide services in under-served areas. I think teenagers are especially going to appreciate telebehavioral health as an option, provided they have the privacy to utilize it appropriately. I love that clients can see me even if they have a slight illness without having to cancel, that clients can see a therapist while their child naps, or while on vacation, and without having to spend time on a commute. I do believe telebehavioral health is the way of the future.
“My goal is to get you healed from any previous life events and happy in your current life.”