About My Philosophy, Background and Training
I became a licensed marriage and family therapist because I believe healthy relationships are the foundation of a happy life. The challenges that arise from our relationships with intimate others, whether they are life partners, extended family, friends, or the people we work with make us aware of our deepest issues as humans.
When we understand how to regain stability and safety in our relationships and create happiness in our home life, we can find the support to take on challenges and achieve our goals. In nurturing relationships, our brains create neurochemicals that provide calm and well-being. The absence of healthy relationships creates challenges to our neurochemistry and therefore our bodies and minds.
When we live inside our bodies, not just our heads, we receive powerful information about what we need to thrive. From embodied awareness, we can find alignment with our mind, our heart and our intuition and actions taken with this alignment will always serve us well.
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 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.
I was born with the gift of intuitive touch and had a private massage practice for 7 years before I began graduate school to become a psychotherapist. I saw my massage clients deeply benefiting from touch but 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 I decided to begin training to become a psychotherapist. The field of somatic psychotherapy had yet to be taught in schools, so I experimented. I began calling attention to the body with my psychotherapy clients and attention to the mind with my massage clients.
Some time after licensure, I found a system of somatic training created by Pat Odgen, PhD (another bodyworker turned psychotherapist) called Sensorimotor Psychotherapy. Now my work combines my 25 years of experience in bodywork with my deep understanding of the psyche and the embodied mind. Although I no longer practice bodywork, I’ve been practicing psychotherapy since 1998 and have a wealth of therapeutic 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. I see our spiritual self as the energy of love, compassion and kindness that emerges when we drop into our deepest nature. I have training in non-denominational spiritual counseling and have studied many spiritual traditions.
My clinical training is diverse. I have years of training in couples counseling, trauma, mindfulness, attachment disorders, drug and alcohol addiction, children and families, anxiety, and am certified in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, a body-oriented/Somatic psychotherapy orientation. I’ve also completed a teacher training in yoga.
I’ve trained with Stan Tatkin, Sue Johnson, Dan Wile, Pat Ogden and Janina Fisher and have 17 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.