My Background and Credentials
I am a licensed marriage and family therapist. I have been licensed since Feb 2005. I have worked as a therapist since1999 as a trainee/intern. I became a registered intern in August 2001. Prior to this I have worked in the social service field with homeless and high-risk youth, foster youth, probation youth and their families since 1987. Most of the youth and families I have worked with have been survivors of severe abuse and neglect. Many have also been gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered. I am highly experienced in treating adolescents, dealing with sexual and gender identity issues, helping families, gay/lesbian/transgendered parents and treating trauma. I have extensive experience in helping people who are survivors of abuse, neglect, rape, sexual assault, and domestic violence and hate crimes. I have also treated teenaged sexual offenders (both male and female) in a treatment setting. I have training in the treatment of women through the use of feminist therapy along with their partners and families. In addition to this work, I have been an administrator of mental health programs for 3 years.
I am a member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, the Sandplay Therapists of America and the International Society for the Study of Dissociation. I participate in regular, on-going trainings, supervision groups and conferences in the areas of play, art and sandtray therapies, treatment of dissociate disorders and treatment of women and adolescents.
My theoretical orientation can be described as eclectic. I believe that we each have learned from our parents and families how to view others and ourselves in the world. We relate to one another based upon how we have learned to relate from the people who took care of us throughout our lives. This theory is termed, “Object Relations Theory.” I include Jungian therapy in my treatment which focuses on uncovering what we buried in the past so it isn’t exacting unwanted influence over our daily lives. Jung talked about “the shadow,” where unwanted feelings, emotions we were unable to handle during a particular time and aspects of ourselves that we chose not to develop are stored. What is unknown and hidden impacts our lives tremendously and there are a variety of ways to access this area of our psyche that are safe and will help us put the past to rest so we can go on with our future. From the Humanistic/Existential perspective, I believe that we all innately posses the potentials for personal growth, development, healing the psyche. These potentials are enhanced in a safe, therapeutic environment. Healing comes from an accepting, non-judgmental environment where one has the opportunity to examine him/herself and learn to accept responsibility for making the changes on desires in one’s life. I also believe that we each have created a story about ourselves based upon what others have told us about ourselves, and ultimately what we have accepted and tell ourselves about ourselves. Often these stories are negatively influenced by other people’s struggles, social discrimination and systemic problems in our societies and cultures. We can examine your personal story and explore this in a way that reconstructs your views to more accurately reflect your life experiences. For families, I like to take a relational approach. I believe we all develop habits that eventually are harmful to our closest relationships. Making changes, learning how to communicate effectively and breaking through impasses are ultimately the most helpful.
Finally, I utilize a variety of therapy techniques such as art, play, sandtray and other creative therapies to help facilitate the healing process. In my experience, talk therapies have limitations. There are many things that a person wants to express that words often just do not relay. Alternate forms of expressions are vital to successful therapy, no matter what problem(s) you and/or your family are encountering.
Professional consultation is an important component of a healthy psychotherapy practice. As such, therapists regularly participate in clinical, ethical and legal consultations with appropriate, qualified professionals. For example, I might bring your case up during peer group supervision or with an individual clinical supervisor or expert who specialized in working with similar issues that you are struggling with. During such consultations, I will not reveal any personally identifying information about you.
Records and Record Keeping
Any records produced or contained in your therapy file are the sole property of myself. These records constitute my clinical and business records, which by law, therapists are required to maintain. I will not alter my normal record keeping process if you request this. Should you request a copy of these records, please submit your request in writing. I reserve the right, under California law, to provide you with a treatment summary instead of the actual progress notes. I also reserve the right to refuse to produce a copy of the record if I believe that doing so will be harmful to your care and treatment. Usually I will not refuse you access to any of your healthcare file contents. Therapists are legally required to maintain patient records for 10 years following the termination of treatment; for children we are required to keep the copies for either 10 years or until the child’s 21st birthday, whichever is longer. After this time, your records will be destroyed in a manner that preserves your confidentiality.