Areas of Expertise and Experience
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 have been a licensed therapist since 1996. I worked in a variety of settings before going into private practice so I bring both in-depth and a wide breadth of experience to my practice. I have 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. I have worked in schools (both as a counselor and school psychologist), at a crisis facility, with medically fragile clients, and in clinical research settings. I have a strong background and interest in maternal mental health.
In my current private practice, I work with a variety of issues, including depression, anxiety, stress, trauma (I am trained in EMDR), grief, loss, 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 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 work with depression, anxiety, stress, grief, loss, and trauma related to health or medical problems (either with oneself or a family member).
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.
My specialization in pre-natal and post-partum issues, including birth trauma, lets me successfully address in therapy the emotional distress or physical difficulties during pregnancy, childbirth or after birth (with mother or baby) that can result in unresolved feelings (in either or both parents). Birth trauma can lead to post-partum depression or post-partum post traumatic stress disorder. Having a baby in the NICU can be devastating for parents, and if left unaddressed, can affect parenting and attachment with the baby, as well as the relationship between the parents and within the rest of the family. Treating trauma is a specialized area and accordingly, I have sought extra training in this area.
I also have extensive experience and expertise in treating all types of eating disorders. After working at the Renfrew Center in Philadelpia, 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 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.