Values that I choose and guide me personally and professionally include kindness, collaboration, playfulness, humor, curiosity, flexibility, compassion, learning, creativity, caring, connection, and love.

These values are directions I choose in my life and the points along this journey include:

  • Following sports, especially the NBA, via games and podcasts
  • Walking, running, and hiking the outdoors
  • Spending time with my Airedale terrier Fozzy
  • Playing video games, especially Mario and Legend of Zelda
  • Thinking up puns and plays on words
  • Listening to podcasts about film, television, and current events

Education

Master of Social Work, California State University, Sacramento       2014 – 2016
Emphasis: community mental health for adults & children;
Thesis Topic: Sexual Identity-Focused Therapy

Bachelor of Arts in Film & Media, University of California, Santa Barbara       2004 – 2008
Awarded outstanding graduate honors, voted upon by program faculty.

Professional Development

  • ACT Consultation Group – group consultation with other ACT therapists meeting biweekly, February 2021 – present.
  • ACT in Practice – 23 hour online training on how to implement advanced ACT principles into practice, October 2020.
  • ACT Immersion – 23 hour online training on how to implement ACT into practice, November 2019.

How did you get interested in becoming a therapist?

I was first interested in education in some form so I volunteered in schools. I started first in elementary schools and I thought: “Okay, I just want to dip my toes in the water and see if I’m interested in teaching grade school.” The more I did that, the more I realized:  “Oh, I want to work individually with kids that have special needs.” I didn’t imagine myself enjoying managing a whole classroom of kids. Down that path, I found I was more interested in the mental health barriers to learning than actually teaching. It appeared as though social work schools were going to be the best path for me, especially financially because any of the psychology / counseling psychology programs are private and really expensive. 

My father is an LCSW so he was encouraging in my going to an MSW program. I went in with the thought that I wanted to get into working with kids, doing mental health work with kids, and therapy specifically. I wound up landing my first internship at a crisis clinic when I was at Sac State. Then in my second year practicum I was working with foster & adoptive families. I realized I liked working with kids, but less with the system and the families. Therefore, I came back to working with adults after my schooling and worked at a crisis clinic here in San Francisco. Eventually I transitioned into doing therapy for adults.

What therapies do you do?

Internal Family Systems and ACT. I’d say at this point I’m doing like 60% IFS with folks & 40% ACT. IFS doesn’t jive with everybody, so ACT has become my fallback now. I’ve found IFS to be just so powerful with people. I’ve had trainings through a place called IFSCA which is more or less IFS Canada. The CA stands for Counseling Association, not Canada, funny enough. It’s hard to access training with the IFS institute here in the U.S. I’m grateful there’s this other option. 

As I started using IFS with the clients that I was using ACT with, I was assessing at the same time movements in psychological flexibility in all the six areas of the hexaflex. As I was doing IFS work with people, I found leaps and bounds in psychological flexibility, especially with the really stuck folks I was working with. I thought: “Oh, these are approaches are compatible. They’re not exactly the same thing, but absolutely these are two compatible modalities. So now that is my bread and butter I guess you would say – ACT & IFS are my home bases.

What clients do you work with in private practice?

I work with many different types of clients. At the top of the list are tech workers, young adults ages 22-35, & gay/lesbian/queer-identified clients. I find these clients bring out the best in me, you know the most caring, competent, confident parts of me and I think especially the young adults piece. I’ve worked & continue to work with clients who are in various stages of life related to young adulthood. Just coming out of college, their first kind of career jobs, folks thinking about going back to grad school or who are in grad school. 

People coping with what life is like post-grad school, and some clients having the golden handcuffs thing where they’re in a job that pays well, but they feel like they’re stuck there because they’re paying back student loans. I tend to feel like those people respond to my style really well because there’s lots of humor, lots of pop culture references as metaphors. Who I am and what I project tends to land well with that population.

What’s something that you used to believe in that you’ve now come to learn is wrong?

We can’t replace thoughts. They’re there to help us, they aren’t the enemy they’re just the messenger. That’s something I would say is big for me that hasn’t happened recently necessarily, but its been this over time recognition. Not just viewing them as bad. Dick Schwartz, the creator of IFS, said our emotions are not the enemy, don’t shoot the messenger, they’re just messengers. I’m pretty sure Steve Hayes has said that too. So yeah, that’s something that’s a big change I’ve had over the course of maybe the past two years.

What’s something that people would be surprised to learn about you?

I have a bachelors in film and worked in the film industry for about three years

Are there any sayings, quotes or poems that inspire you these days?

Steve Hayes says something like: “Love isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” That gets me.

It’s that for all the struggles that people have, it’s all about love, really. That struggling feeling, whatever it may be, is protecting us from not getting love, or not feeling love. Just recognizing that all the things that may look bad or wrong or whatever on the surface are just intended to kind of protect the love that’s underneath.