Areas of Expertise and Experience
I have a Ph.D. in clinical developmental psychology from Bryn Mawr College, a program that is considered to be one of the top five clinical Ph.D. programs in the country. I also have a Masters degree in clinical social services from Bryn Mawr, and I have been a licensed therapist since 1996. I work from a client-centered, contemporary psychodynamic approach. I take a relational approach to therapy, which emphasizes a strong, engaged relationship between the client and therapist.
I am also clinical faculty in the doctoral program at California Northstate University, where I teach graduate students the process of counseling and therapy, and help them develop clinical insight as they work with clients of their own. I love teaching and mentoring, and many new therapists seek me out in my private practice to provide them with a combination of therapy and consultation as they embark on their careers. I am also on the board of directors for two local professional organizations, and I enjoy contributing to the profession in this way.
I worked in a variety of settings before going into private practice, so I bring both depth and breadth to my practice. I worked at three different universities, both with undergraduate and graduate students and with faculty, staff and administrators. In addition to training new therapists, I have started and supervised programs in health psychology and eating disorders. In the early 2000s, I began working with physicians, and developed a specialty helping physicians address the psychological issues that are unique to those working in the field of medicine. I have also been a part of clinical research projects (including the renowned studies on optimism under Martin Seligman at the University of Pennsylvania). I have published in both peer-reviewed journals and books, and I co-wrote a handbook of therapy techniques.
I work with a variety of issues, including depression, anxiety, stress, trauma (I am trained in EMDR), grief, loss, eating disorders, and pre-natal and post-partum difficulties. I also work with people who are dealing with difficult relationships, whether it is with a romantic partner, a parent, a child, or a co-worker. I am also trained in emotionally-focused therapy (EFT). I especially enjoy working with people going through life transitions such as entering or leaving college, having a baby/starting a family, starting or ending a relationship, or dealing with career-related issues (starting, ending or changing).
I also treat trauma and have sought advanced training in this area. I chose to undergo this training because research has shown that standard psychotherapy is not always very effective in treating trauma, and may actually re-traumatize the client and cause harm instead. In addition, I am trained in EMDR, which has consistently been shown by research to be one of the most effective treatments available for trauma. I am a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional through the International Association of Trauma Professionals. To learn more about EMDR, look under the "Links to Resources" tab on the menu bar.
Since the days when I co-founded the Coalition to End Homophobia at my undergraduate institution, I have been both an activist and an advocate for those who identify as LGBTQ. I have continued that passion in my current private practice setting and am glad to have earned a reputation for being an LGBTQ--friendly therapist.
I often use my extra training in emotionally--focused therapy (EFT) to work with individuals, couples and families. EFT is one of the best--validated and most effective forms of therapy. Rather than work on a surface level, EFT goes to the heart of the relational difficulties and addresses the underlying issues. EFT came out of attachment theory, and accordingly, it not only works with couples and families, it can be used in individual therapy, providing more effective treatment than many of the old--fashioned approaches to therapy.
I also have extensive experience and expertise in treating all types of eating disorders. After working at the Renfrew Center in Philadelphia, which is a world-renowned eating disorder treatment facility, I started an eating disorder treatment center at California State University, Sacramento. Seeing the need for specialized training among therapists in how to treat eating disorders, I started a training program to teach therapists how to treat these conditions. Today, in my private practice, I continue to work with people with eating disorders and provide supervision to other therapists on this and other topics.
I also provide two different categories of assessment: 1) career assessment that includes a look at psychological factors that might be impacting your successful career launch, and 2) diagnostic evaluation (psychological testing). See the "Assessment" tab to learn more.