Becoming a Relationship Therapist
As an enthusiastic student of philosophy and the humanities in my early years, through more than a decade of teaching in the U.S. and abroad, and in my graduate work in couples and family therapy, I have come to regard creating, fostering, and maintaining relationships as the greatest challenge we face as humans — and the greatest opportunity for growth. Collaborating with individuals and couples as they heal and grow is my life’s passion, and I find inspiration in every therapeutic journey I undertake with my clients. I strive to create a safe, balanced, and compassionate space for couples to grow and flourish.
Reconnecting couples in crisis is my specialty, and helping couples realize their relationship goals is my passion.
I believe that “Your most important relationship is with yourself.” In order to change and grow, we need to foster an attitude of curiosity, acceptance, honesty, and compassion. Life doesn’t come with an owner’s manual: each of us is engaged in a process of discovery and meaning-making. Even with the best intentions, we can make mistakes with harmful consequences, we can lose our way, and sometimes our coping strategies seem only to increase our suffering. Seeking help is an act of courage and the best time is now.
Counseling Style and Strengths
My journey includes lived experience with addiction and mental health challenges, and my style is to come alongside and join with the men and women I am honored to work with as clients and collaborators. I will create a safe, compassionate, understanding space for us to work together, whatever your age, cultural background, spiritual or religious beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity, or severity of your challenges.
Beside working with couples using the Gottman Method, I also incorporate Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) which is humanistic and grounded in the science of attachment and interpersonal neurobiology. I also find many clients resonate with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) which is a mindfulness-based approach to mental and physical health.
I excel at creating a space for my clients to feel supported to develop acceptance of experiences beyond our control and take committed action towards living a valued life.
Professional Counseling Background
For the last decade, I have been seeing clients in an outpatient setting as well as in my private practice. I also serve as a Licensed Mental Health Clinician at County of San Diego Psychiatric Hospital, providing acute patient-centered supportive therapy and crisis intervention for the most vulnerable population dealing with mental illness.
In my work as therapist at VA San Diego Healthcare, I collaborated with dozens of veterans and their families as they repaired their relationships, recovered from severe mental illness, and rebuilt trust and intimacy.
I have also worked as a Program Manager and Counselor at McAlister Institute, ensuring that youths at our Teen Recovery Center and three school sites received optimal care for their substance use and co-occurring disorders, whereas with Vista Hill, I provided individual, group, and family therapy for adolescents and adults with substance use and co-occurring disorders and offered psycho-educational services in the community. I continue to volunteer my time and skills as a group leader and counselor with Men’s Center of Los Angeles, helping to coordinate retreats for inner-city youth and their mentors. I have volunteered with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), and at Prevencasa, A.C. in Tijuana, providing free community-based counseling.
Professional Therapist Credentials and Training
- Gottman Method Level 2 Trained
- M.A. Marital and Family Therapy, University of San Diego, 2014
- Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist since 2017
- California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
- Emotionally Focused Therapy
- Motivational Interviewing
- PESI Certified Trauma Professional
- American Society of Addiction Medicine certification