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The Psychotherapist

My Educational Background:

I am a licensed clinical social worker who has been providing psychotherapy and counseling to children, teenagers, families and adults for over 20 years.  I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and earned my Master’s in Social Work from San Diego State in 1994.

My Professional Experiences:

One of the advantages of the clinical social work discipline is the availability of diverse opportunities to practice one’s craft. Prior to opening my private practice in 1999, I worked with a wide variety of young populations ranging from teenagers in the San Diego Juvenile Court System and runaway shelters, “emotionally disturbed” students placed in Special Education, and families seeking services from an outpatient psychiatric system for a variety of emotional and behavioral problems. I have also worked as a Medical Social Worker at Rady’s Children’s Hospital where my charge was to manage crises in the emergency room, most often the untimely and accidental death of a child. I have interfaced and partnered with numerous entities ranging from school districts, medical facilities and government entities including that of law enforcement and the military.

In essence, I work with individuals and families with the goal of restoring, maintaining and enhancing social, emotional, and behavioral functioning.  My joy is to bring balance back into the lives of each individual with whom I work and to rebuild individuals, families, and couples that are torn apart by emotional turmoil, stress and what so many of us feel is a world that does not always feel balanced and whole.

How I Work as a Psychotherapist:

When you discover the need to get help for yourself, your child, or your marriage, it can be not only a very stressful time, but also a very challenging one. Finding someone to whom you can relate, or whom your child will trust can be daunting for even the most savvy of us.

Establishing that connection is crucial not only to disarm the initial discomfort often associated with the decision to seek therapy but in also allowing individuals to find their role in being part of the process of healing. I recognize that all people have potential; but some need more help then others to actualize what is theirs. This is one of the core values of social work and one that has been a part of my belief system since I was a child and learning about the world around me.

My work is based on the practice of exceeding the typical relationship-based therapy by really getting to know those with whom I will be working. I step outside of all my knowledge to really “see” the person and then look back inside to see how my training and experience can be individualized for that particular client. Oftentimes this can be the most important intervention of all. I have learned that the most important need that my clients have when they first enter therapy is the need to be fully understood.

My life experiences and ‘being’ also brings my very intuitive nature to my practice. This allows me to be part of a greater plan for not only problem solving and strategy building, but also for what I like to call “successful steps to the journey of transformation.”

My approach is eclectic; I draw upon theories and models of psychotherapy based on the needs of my clients. Parents who are struggling with their children’s behavior most benefit from Behavior Modification (methods to mold behavior), whereas those dealing with the negative thoughts and beliefs often associated with depression and anxiety would better benefit from Cognitive Behavior Therapy (methods of examining your thoughts and beliefs, and revising unhealthy thinking patterns). Dealing with grief and trauma requires a Humanistic Approach (emotional support and validation), whereas those questioning the “meaning of life”, typically experienced by individuals facing “identity crises” (such as those that peak during adolescence, mid-life, and retirement) requires an Existential Approach. Whichever orientation I draw upon, my goal is to transform that individual, family or couple into making observable changes that are not only experienced by them but noticed and embraced those around them.

While I value the many teaching of traditional models of psychotherapy I believe that laughter we share creates a bond that goes beyond the therapy session and one that will last forever in the hearts and minds of my clients and me.