As an Associate Clinical Social Worker, I can help you navigate through a broad range of issues, individually or as a couple, from depression and anxiety to relational and intimacy challenges. I believe in a holistic approach to care; where good health involves the “whole” person, mentally, physically, and spiritually. I also believe there is room for serious work and laughter to coexist in the therapeutic process. I aim to create a safe, judgment-free environment for your journey to self-discovery.
My approach to individual therapy is to use evidence-based practices (EBP), which are well-researched interventions that best support the presenting issues and client’s needs. I often use cognitive behavior therapy and psychodynamic therapy to improve mood and increase happiness by instilling mindfulness and identifying unwanted behaviors and thought patterns. Most people who come into my office are dealing with a single incident or many past incidents, big or small, which have changed how they see themselves and the world around them. I aim to help make the connection between these past experiences, how unwanted behaviors and thoughts patterns can stem from past experiences, and how these patterns are causing distress in the client’s present-day relationships and life. After this connection is made, we can then work towards creating new positive cycles of thoughts and behaviors and have a plan of action to combat future negative patterns of thoughts and behaviors. This new level of self-awareness can lead to self-empowerment and ability to change unwanted thoughts and behaviors moving forward.
Emotion-Focused Couples Therapy (EFT) is my approach to working with couples. EFT is focused on the bond between two people and helps to address distress in intimate relationships. “Research studies find that 70-75% of couples move from distress to recovery and approximately 90% show significant improvements.” EFT is based on attachment theory, which is the concept that people feel safer and are healthier when they are connected to others. Distress in intimate relationships is caused by deeply rooted fears of abandonment and misunderstanding. The couple becomes stuck in a negative cycle of hurt and misunderstanding about the emotional needs of the other. Over time, this creates insecurities within the couple’s attachment bond and can lead to thoughts of doubt such as “Does my partner really love me?”, “Am I important to them anymore?”, “Is this relationship important to them anymore?”, and “Can I trust them?”. I aim to help the couple gain insight to these questions by helping them better understand their own emotional needs, the emotional needs of their partner, to identify their negative cycle of interaction, and to show them both their desire to see and understand one another genuinely.
I received my BA in Theology and Religious Studies from the University of San Diego where I studied world religions, such as Catholicism, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Daoism. I received my Master of Social Work (MSW) from the University of Southern California and focused on working with adolescents, adults, and healthy aging.
I have had extensive training in sexual health and wellness and have been working with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Plus (LGBTQ+) community for over seven years. I am dedicated to addressing the needs of sexual minority populations and those in alternative lifestyles. I see the need for more sex-positive knowledgeable providers and strive to keep up to date with current research and education.
I currently serve on the planning committee for the Institute on Violence, Abuse, and Trauma (IVAT) and am the outreach coordinator for the Center for Positive Sexuality (CPS), which is a non-profit dedicated to addressing social issues through sex-positive research and education.
I am currently supervised by Dr. John McConnell (PSY 10673).