I am a holistic integrative therapist using techniques from CBT, mindfulness, solution focused and psychodynamics. My specialty is communication skills. I enjoy working with individuals, families and couples. Many of my clients struggle from anxiety, depression, relationship issues, and trauma.
My educational background consists of a BA in Psychology and teaching credential from University of CA, Irvine. I received an MA from University of Iowa in Developmental Education, and an MS in Marriage and Family Counseling from California State University, Fresno. My post graduation work includes certification in mindfulness, couples therapy, domestic violence, substance abuse, mediation, and collaborative divorce.
I have always been a student of human nature. I am curious about how people grow, learn and change. As a teacher for 17 years, I learned and gained insight into what makes people motivated, frustrated and stuck as well as strategies to overcome their obstacles. It is my life’s calling to help people achieve their best so the transition to therapist was natural. My experience in the field varies from working in a women’s inpatient rehab for addiction to director of addiction for group homes for adolescents. I have worked as a supervisor for interns that provided therapy at a refugee and culturally appropriate counseling center for south east Asians. I enjoyed sharing my knowledge with students as an adjunct instructor at the University level as well. I have grown my private practice for the past 10 years and apply my various experiences to help tailor my approach to my clients specific needs. I hope to provide clients a rich and effective therapeutic experience.
It is my focus as a therapist to create a safe, supportive, and nurturing environment that allows for vulnerability, personal discovery and self growth. I am a down to earth practical therapist working together with clients of diverse backgrounds to explore how to overcome their challenges and create a happier and healthier life. I love seeing my clients live out loud!
What would your clients and colleagues say is your therapist superpower?
My superpower is that I am intuitive and that I can connect dots that others could not see.
What was one of the most challenging experiences during your training to become a
therapist. How did you overcome the challenge, and what did you learn from it?
The most challenging thing I experienced from my training was learning to remove judgment from the client. I worked in a Child Protective Services Rehab center for women and not being able to judge their drug use while endangering their children was difficult to take and still be compassionate in therapy. I learned about my own biases. I worked on looking beyond the circumstances and being able to be present and compassionate no matter what circumstances. I checked myself often and learned that if I gossiped about the situation then that indicated that I was probably being judgmental. I had to stop gossiping.
What is one thing that you have learned through your own therapy?
I learned it is really hard to be vulnerable and that therapy is work. I also learned that everyone can benefit from therapy.
How have your personal experiences helped your work with your clients?
Being a first generation immigrant has given me a perspective that includes racial tension, cultural diversity and learning to maintain identity as well as assimilate. I have had a colorful life. I have travelled extensively, lived in 3 countries and moved around quite a bit. What I learned was that people are good every where. I learned that we have more in common than differences. I learned that adapting to the environment makes for a happy life. Of course being a mother, wife, caregiver and living in a multigenerational home brings its own challenges and the nuances needed to live peacefully in a family.
What does a typical session with you look like?
I usually let the client take the lead, then adapt and fine tune the therapy to include processing their history, plan for the future and give the clients skills and things to consider for their present. I work on helping the client understand themselves and others using tools from various psychological schools of thought, person centered being the primary, then cognitive behavioral therapy coming in a close second. I lean towards Gottman’s Couples therapy techniques for couples therapy. I generally include mindfulness with most patients as well.
How do you approach the stigma surrounding mental health and therapy?
I talk about it like it is normal to go to therapy. I make it less scary and give examples of success stories or how seeing your life through another perspective could be helpful when you are stuck. I emphasize that it is not weak to go to therapy.
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.