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The Person

Psychotherapists do not typically share their personal background with their clients.  However, my years of experience have revealed that my clients have valued knowing the person behind the professional.

I am the youngest child of an English mother and Sri Lankan/Malaysian father, both of whom came from modest upbringings.  I grew up in Malaysia where my favorite activities were running around on the beach, swimming, and playing with our extensive collection of exotic animals - including our pet gibbon “Jacko”!

My parents highly valued the ongoing pursuit of education. During my early years, I was home-schooled by my scholarly mother and a very patient family friend. Later, my parents gifted me the privilege of attending the Ashford School for Girls in England at the age of 10.  Although I was very grateful for the opportunity to be educated at such a prestigious institute, the experience of living at a British Boarding School was traumatic for me for several reasons.  The ongoing stress of being separated from my parents and siblings for 9 months out of every year, while being in a country where I felt I did not belong, combined with being thrust into an emotional atmosphere that was devoid of warmth and compassion were very painful experiences for such a young girl to embrace. Back "in those days" there were no counselors to help children deal with their fears and sadness; there were no therapists to validate your self-worth and your feelings. So, it was really up to me to navigate through the adversities that life brought me.  Luckily, I found reprieve in my studies and connecting with other “lost souls”. My diligence and work ethic, coupled with my natural tendency to nurture others were rewarded by my becoming a star student and a trusted confidante.

I attended High School/Community College in Oxford where I was again surrounded my even more colorful international cultures than what my homeland offered, which gave me a true appreciation once again that there were many ways to look at a problem, and the plethora of ways to solve them. Being a teenager raised in a household of teens helped me develop a sense of independence and identity as well as cooperation and healthy competition.

My parents moved temporarily to Canada when I reached the age of 19.  Soon thereafter, I set off to California to attend college at San Diego State University. Like many young adults, I believed I “knew it all”, and despite my parents’ desire to settle me into a new life, I insisted in launching “solo”. I arrived in San Diego, with one suitcase, and $500 in my pocket, no car, and no place to stay.  Whereas I attribute my boarding school years to the development of emotional survival, I can truly say that my early years as a young adult in America forced me to quickly learn how to physically survive in an otherwise fast-paced and at times dangerous world. Despite the distractions and challenges, I earned my Bachelors Degree in Psychology and my Masters Degree in Social Work.  I can sincerely say that of all the places in the world I have traveled and lived, California provided me with the greatest culture shock.  Yet ironically enough, it is also the place I have felt most at home.  I have remained here ever since.

I knew at the age of six that I was destined to become someone who would be of service to others. My life journey and the experiences I have endured have not only validated my passion for helping people but have placed me in a unique position to understand the complexities of the human experience. It gives me great pleasure and gratification to know that I have now become the person I wanted to have in my life from an early age; a person "who could see me, hear me, and guide me"; someone devoted to making a difference in the world by helping people become and remain happy, as well as fulfilled throughout their lives, and part of a world in which they belong.