working with you to uncover your strengths
You come to therapy with struggles and worries. You also come with strengths. Perhaps it is hard to recognize those strengths right now, or maybe you aren’t feeling strong, but they are definitely within you. Whether you are a kid, tween, teen, adult, or parent, it is my most important job as a therapist to support you as you uncover those strengths and learn how to trust your inner resources. This is the foundation for healing and positive change.
therapy tailored to where you are right now
I tailor my approach to you (for more information, take a look at my services). Depending on you or your child’s needs—and age—we may look at early childhood experiences, relationship patterns, social interactions, emotions and healthy ways to process them, and the effects of the environment and social forces on how you are feeling right now. The way we “look” at these things could include playing, making art, talking, or using guided imagery or mindfulness techniques.
Education and experience
I received my master of science degree in counseling with a concentration in marriage, family, and child counseling, from San Francisco State University (SFSU). I also have a master's degree in library and information science and was a reference librarian in government and non-profit settings for a decade. My undergraduate degree is in philosophy.
After graduating from SFSU, I completed an 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).
My approach is relational and collaborative and assumes that we all have inner resources to build upon. In addition, I bring in elements of psychodynamic, narrative, feminist, and existential theories as well as attachment-focused approaches. For children, I use a child-centered play therapy approach with psychodynamic and attachment underpinnings.
Psychodynamic and attachment-oriented
I believe in the importance of early life experiences in shaping who we are and what we expect from others. This psychodynamic lens focuses on attachment and the role of significant relationships in our early life development. 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 by experiencing something different and positive in the therapeutic interaction.
social justice: freeing your narrative
I find the power of stories to be both life defining and life changing. We are born into a world of assumptions about who we are and what we can be, stories that are created for us by society and family. These stories can affirm us. They can also limit us. I acknowledge both the power and reality of those stories while inviting my clients to separate from what has been imposed and create a narrative based upon strengths.
Finally, I work from the basic idea that we all need to create meaning in our lives, from childhood through old age. This means sorting through the big existential questions about identity and spirituality (in whatever form it takes for you).