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My Path to Becoming a Therapist

My career as a therapist is largely inspired by my own journey of self-discovery and inner growth. During my teenage years, I became fascinated by books and lectures on a variety of topics such as psychology, eastern philosophy, and cultural studies. Around that time, I also began utilizing meditation and journaling as personal inquiry techniques. The two practices enabled me to reflect more deliberately on who I was as a person, and allowed me to create a life aligned to my core values and ideals. My journey of self-discovery has and continues to be a great source of joy and satisfaction, especially when I gain new insight about the personal deficits that impede my full potential. Based on how much I benefited from my pursuit of self-discovery and inner growth, I decided to pursue a career as a therapist. I knew the line of work would be greatly fulfilling since it would allow me to help others in their processes of discovery. Happily, it turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life. I feel fortunate to be able to offer my clients support and guidance during difficult transitions in their lives, and to witness them transform into stronger and wiser people.

My Experience

I’ve worked as a therapist for nine years, which includes private practice and a variety of Bay Area agency positions. For my master's degree, I studied Counseling Psychology at SFSU, and graduated in 2013. While at SFSU, I completed a clinical traineeship at Peggy Smith Psychological Clinic, where I provided long-term therapy to college students who experienced anxiety, depression, and relationship challenges. I’ve worked in private practice since the summer of 2017. Certifications and trainings include:

  • 2004 to present: Regular, on-going practice and training in mindfulness and meditation. I maintain an eclectic practice that integrates western research, and is heavily influenced by Theravada Buddhism which I’ve studied through several Bay Area meditation groups and retreat centers

  • September 2017 and January 2019: Two one-day trainings on Internal Family Systems (IFS)

  • March 2017: Six day training in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) (earned beginner-level certification)

  • February 2018 to present: Regular, on-going clinical supervision in Hakomi Mindfulness-Centered Therapy and Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples

  • May 2018: 50-hour training in EMDR Therapy for Trauma (earned a certification for basic training)

My Approaches to Therapy

Honoring your uniqueness: In the therapy room, my principal aim is to honor and encourage your unique values, viewpoints, and personality qualities. As a highly skilled facilitator of therapeutic experiences, I guide you to understand yourself better so you feel empowered to decide which steps you will take to re-create your life in new, more fulfilling ways. I aim to understand your unique strengths, challenges, and cultural influences as much as possible, so that we can formulate treatment strategies that work!

Therapy, for many people, is more about finding new ways to overcome oppressive societal forces, than it is about overcoming what is personally “wrong” with them. Therefore, we may determine that the focus of our therapy together will be about investigating the ways social oppression has affected you. And then, when the time is right, we’ll move to help you stand up against injustice, and achieve your full potential in opposition of the societal forces that attempt to hold you back.

Past clients and colleagues have described my therapeutic style as warm, understanding, and emotionally grounding. As appropriate, I offer meaningful questions and research findings to deepen your process, serving as your teammate and guide. Primarily, I serve as a reliable source of acceptance and support, so that you can feel safe to explore new ideas and experiment with new behaviors in and out of the therapy room.

Mindfulness focused: My 15 years of study and practice of mindfulness techniques deeply informs my work in the therapy room. In my view, mindfulness is a practice of living a life of maximum awareness. Mindfulness is also a practice of deliberately living each day in full alignment with our innermost values and aspirations, as a means of caring for ourself and for other people.

Relationship focused: As you can see from my overall website, I emphasis the importance of developing socio-emotional capacities in order to help clients improve their relationships. I believe that all successes and failures in life are at least partially related to a person’s ability to effectively manage relationships. If you can interrelate well with others, and not let unresolved pains from past relationships weigh you down, you will vastly improve your ability to reach goals in all areas of your life.

In therapy sessions, I will work closely with you to bring increased awareness to interpersonal-based emotions, beliefs, and needs that are hard to recognize on your own. And I will encourage you to use therapy as a practice space to communicate your immediate needs and emotions directly to me. Practicing direct communication in sessions with me will: a) provide us with key information needed to tailor therapy in ways that will work most effectively for you; and b) help you develop the skills and confidence you need to better manage all of your relationships outside of therapy.

Ten thousand flowers in spring,
the moon in autumn,
a cool breeze in summer,
snow in winter -
if your mind is not clouded by unnecessary things,
this is the best season of your life.
— Wu-men

Specialities for Couples and Individuals

  • Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples

  • Mindfulness Therapy, including Hakomi Mindfulness-Centered Therapy

  • EMDR Therapy for trauma

  • Social anxiety

  • Depression

  • Shyness

  • Frustration with dating

  • Recent breakups or divorces

  • Grief and loss

  • Gender and sexual identity issues

  • Abandonment and trust issues

  • Lack of communication skills

  • Loneliness

  • Anxiety attacks

  • Anger

  • Low self-esteem