My approach to therapy
I’m Jennifer, an East Bay therapist who works with children, teens, and young adults on issues such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, emotional regulation, self-esteem, and trauma recovery.
My approach is relational and collaborative and assumes that we all have inner resources to build upon. I recognize the influence of discrimination and the environment on our sense of freedom, agency, and self. I also believe early life experiences shape who we are and what we expect from others. This psychodynamic and relational lens focuses on attachment and the role of significant early relationships. It also acknowledges that deep change comes from within and often happens when we get insight into our feelings, thoughts, and actions. Uncovering and making conscious our hidden motivations and defenses can spur change. Change can also happen through reparative relationships and experiencing something different and positive in the therapeutic interaction.
I tend to think with my clients versus direct them, though I can also be concrete and explicitly goal and technique-focused when it fits the situation. For children, I use arts and child-centered play therapy approaches. With adolescents on up, I most often rely on talk therapy with mindfulness-, skills- and arts-based techniques mixed in when appropriate.
My professional background
I am licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT 115546) and received my master of science degree in counseling with a concentration in marriage, family, and child counseling from San Francisco State University (SFSU).
After graduating from SFSU, I completed a two-year, intensive psychodynamically informed training program at Ann Martin Center (AMC) in Emeryville. At AMC, I worked with children, teens, parents, caregivers, and young adults while participating in seminars centered on the work. Prior to that, I counseled children in a private school setting for the University of San Francisco's Center for Child and Family Development, provided psychotherapy to adults in San Francisco who were formerly homeless, and volunteered and trained volunteers on the crisis hotline at Crisis Support Services.
I am a member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT), including its East Bay chapter (EBCAMFT). I am also a member of Northern California Society for Psychoanalytic Psychology (NCSPP) and of the Association for Play Therapy (APT).
On a personal note
I come to this work with an accepting, open mind and a lived knowledge of the ways the past influences how we experience the present—and how, by making this influence conscious and finding a way toward self-acceptance, we can integrate our experiences and feel whole and more connected.
I am a mother and have experienced first-hand not only the complicated nature of being a parent but also know what it is like to be a struggling child and adolescent. These experiences deeply inform my professional training and enhance my work.
My undergraduate degree is in philosophy and I have a master’s degree in library science. I am also an animal lover, Greyhound- and cat-owner, once-aspiring vegetarian chef (now a pescatarian home cook with well-honed culinary skills), and a former legislative librarian. Outside of the therapy office, I love hiking, reading, and hanging out with my family.