What was your path to becoming a therapist?
I’ve always had an interest in psychology and human relationships, which is what initially led me to study psychology at University. Once there, the more I learned about the field, the more confident I became that I wanted to work in mental health. I am now a California Licensed Marriage Family Therapist, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, and Licensed Educational Psychologist in Orange County, California, and I absolutely love what I do.
What is your specialty?
With over twenty years of professional experience in the fields of mental health and education, my specialization is providing psychotherapy for children, adolescents, and their families. I also really enjoy working with diverse populations of clientele, as I believe that mental health services should be accessible to anyone who needs them.
What does a typical session with you look like?
My view of psychotherapy is that it is a collaborative effort! When working with a client, I really see myself as their teammate, and as a teammate I work to understand and connect with my clients in a way that will benefit their growth. During sessions I like to present my clients with multiple perspectives, help them to explore their options, and work towards the one that is right for them. I also make it a point to consider the personal history of the client along with any diversity issues. I like to ensure that the time my client and I have together develops into a safe space where they can feel free to discuss pain, hopes, fears and all the things that create the stories of our lives.
What would you want someone to know about working with you?
I tend to utilize a trauma-informed approach in my work, which involves recognizing the presence of trauma symptoms in a client and acknowledging the effect that trauma may have on the individual’s life. I find that this approach promotes healing, empowerment and mutuality. I also consider myself a lifelong student, so, from my education and ongoing training, I employ a multitude of interventions from evidenced based practices. Yet, my primary approach is always client centered care. I believe the key to successful therapy is a treatment plan that is first and foremost specific to the needs of the client, and every client is different.
If there was one thing you wish people knew about the therapy experience who might be hesitant to try it, what would that be?
Even though therapy is a common part of modern life for many people, I realize that the idea of going to therapy can still seem daunting for some. Especially that first session, because there can be a fear of the unknown, not knowing what expect. But if you do decide to make that commitment to yourself, to learn to understand yourself better – It really can be life changing. When we are able to recognize how our experiences impact us, and respond systemically to individuals, it is possible to experience true safety and collaboration. More importantly, as you learn to lessen these potentially negative impacts, you can begin to heal physiologically, emotionally, and relationally.
If you weren’t a therapist, what career would you have chosen?
Well, that is a pretty easy question for me, because in addition to practicing therapy, I also currently do a lot of work within the field of education. I am already providing clinical supervision and teaching at the graduate level as an adjunct faculty member at a local university. I also actively mentor individuals entering the mental health professions and really appreciate the diversity of our community. I was lucky enough to have great teachers and mentors on my journey to becoming a therapist, and I know how essential that was to my growth. So, I now strive to pay it forward and foster the development of future mental health professionals.
Any final thoughts for future clients?
I look forward to getting to know you, and witnessing you grow and thrive!
Short Term (Solution-focused, etc.)
Ideal for those who are coming in with a specific problem they’d like to address and gain clarity on. Typically, short term therapies are present focused and do not dive deep into your past.
Structured therapies are goal and progress oriented. Therapists may incorporate psychoeducation and a specific “curriculum.” In order to stay on track, therapists may provide worksheets and homework.
Insight-oriented (Psychodynamic, Existential, etc.)
Exploring the past and making connections to present issues can help clients gain insight. Getting to the root of the issue and finding deeper self-awareness can help with long-term change.
Non-directive (Humanistic, Person-centered, etc.)
Going with the flow and seeing where it leads.
Behavioral (CBT, DBT, etc.)
Focuses on changing potentially unhealthy or self-destructive behaviors by addressing problematic thought patterns and specific providing coping skills.
Trauma Focused (EMDR, TF-CBT, etc.)
Recognizing the connection between trauma experiences and your emotional and behavioral responses, trauma focused therapy seeks to help you heal from traumas.