About My Philosophy, Background and Training

My Philosophy

I became a licensed marriage and family therapist because I believe healthy relationships are the foundation of a happy life.  Whether it is with an intimate other, an extended family, friendships or the people we work with, our relationships and what we learn from them on the way to health and happiness are where our greatest gifts are.

When the family unit in our home life is happy and stable, we can take on many challenges and goals that might otherwise wear us down.  We return to our family to resource our selves, and to find nurturance and support.  Neuroscience can now confirm the release of soothing neurochemicals that provide a sense of calm well-being that directly arise from connecting with safe others.

Just as clearly, the absence of healthy relationship challenges our brains and therefore our bodies and minds.

I am on the side of you feeling connected to people in the way that is just right for you.

I believe that therapy can help you to feel safe in your body and life.  To know and express your needs more clearly. To be able to both give and receive support.  To stand with strength and independence and also allow others to help.  To have a personal integrity that allows you to trust your word to yourself.  To feel feelings and identify thoughts and know the difference between them. To know how to separate yourself from thoughts and behaviors that do not serve.  To have a sense of healthy individuality that allows more authentic connection.  To have more creativity and the inner freedom to express it.  Therapy can help you to know and offer forth your particular amazing gifts to the world in service and with freedom.

When held in a safe and caring counseling relationship, all the patterns that inhibit your highest and best can be studied with gentle compassion and curiosity.  In that spirit, alternatives become possible, can be experimented with, and then adopted with the body, the mind and the heart.

My Background

I was born with the gift of intuitive, knowing touch and had a private massage practice for 7 years before I began graduate school to become a psychotherapist. I knew that my massage clients deeply benefited from touch but saw, too often, the mental patterns that they held prevented them from releasing the stuck places in their bodies.

Having already had a long relationship with personal growth through my own psychotherapy, I became interested in how I could help my clients to shift their mental patterns and I decided to become a psychotherapist. I knew that an integration between the mind and the body needed to happen but until the times shifted and body-oriented psychotherapy began to percolate out to the mainstream, I studied psychotherapy and experimented with calling attention of the body to my psychotherapy clients and the calling attention to the mind with my psychotherapy clients.

Now, with my years of training in somatic therapy I integrate the best of both worlds. I have years of training in a therapy orientation known as Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, developed by Pat Odgen (another massage therapist turned psychotherapist). My work now combines my 25 years experience in body work with my deep understanding of the psyche, the mind and the embodied mind. I’ve been practicing psychotherapy since 1998 and now have a wealth of therapeutic skills in addition to my somatic skills.

Those who dive deeply into their felt experience may eventually find that ineffable quality of spirit. I work with all spiritual orientations (or none) with utmost respect. Before I received my degree from the University of Santa Monica in counseling psychology with an emphasis in spiritual psychology, I added a two-year training in non-denominational spiritual counseling from Agape International Spiritual Center in Los Angeles. I see our spiritual self as the energy of love, compassion and kindness that emerges when we drop into our deepest nature.

My Training

My clinical training is diverse. I have years of training in couples counseling, trauma, mindfulness, attachment disorders, drug and alcohol addictions, children and families, depression, anxiety, and am currently in the certification track for Sensorimotor Psychotherapy a body-oriented, or Somatic psychotherapy orientation.

I’ve trained with Sue Johnson, Leslie Kirby, Dan Wile, Pat Ogden, Janina Fischer, Ame Cutler, and have 10 years of experience in EMDR.

I received my graduate degree from the University of Santa Monica in 1998. I also have two years of training in non-denominational spiritual counseling.

Additional post-graduate training includes but is not limited to:
2 years in child and adolescent therapy
3 years in substance abuse and recovery
Level 1 and 2 EMDR from EMDRIA (LINK)
Advanced training in Neurofeedback
Externship training in Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples with Sue Johnson
Level 1 and 2 training in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy
Currently in Level 3 Sensorimotor Psychotherapy training leading to certification