Background and Experience
Throughout my career I have challenged myself to exceed the required professional standards. Over and above my psychology license, I pursued Board Certification from the American Board of Professional Psychology, thus attaining the highest diploma a psychologist can acquire (see link: http://www.abpp.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3285). Less than 4% of all practicing psychologists achieve Board Certification. Similarly, in my quest to become an accomplished group facilitator, I obtained Certification in Group Psychotherapy from The International Board for Certification of Group Psychotherapists (see link: http://www.agpa.org/what_is_a_certified_group_psycho.htm). I believe these advanced credentials make me a better psychologist and add benefit to my clients.
|License:||Psychology License #13073
State of California, 1992
|Board Certifications:||Diplomate in Counseling Psychology
American Board of Professional Psychology, 2002
Certified Group Psychotherapist
The International Board for Certification of Group Psychotherapists, 1996
|Registries:||National Registry of Certified Group Psychotherapists|
|Fellow:||American Academy of Counseling Psychology, 2002|
|Education:||Counseling Psychology, Ph.D.
Oklahoma State University, 1991
Experience Training and Teaching Others
I believe that my involvement in training future mental health professionals is an asset for my clients, because it has sharpened my skills and kept me on the “cutting edge” of new trends. Before moving into full-time private practice, I served as Director of Training for the USC Student Counseling Services and Interim Training Director for the UCI Counseling Center. Both Centers offer highly competitive APA Accredited Internship Programs, recruiting interns from all over the country. It was my goal to provide top quality, scientifically grounded, clinically rigorous, ethically sound, and culturally relevant training, so that our interns would be well prepared to begin their careers as psychologists. Currently, I manage the training and supervision of Psychological Assistants. In addition to overseeing the training programs, I have routinely supervised psychology interns, postdoctoral fellows, psychology practicum students, social work interns, MFT field placement students, unlicensed staff and Psychological Assistants. Furthermore, I have taught numerous courses for USC, Mount St. Mary’s College, and UCI. In addition to training students, I have presented continuing education workshops for mental health professionals and have regularly presented at national conferences. As a licensed psychologist with over 20 years of experience, I have worked with a broad range of clients, who present with a wide array of problems. The preponderance of my work has been in university settings, community mental health, and private practice. I am invested in providing culturally competent psychotherapy for individuals, couples, families, and groups.
I value my clients and care deeply about their welfare. Frequently, I am moved and inspired by their courage and resilience. I regard the uniqueness of each client and am sensitive to and respectful of every form of human diversity. My overarching goal is to help clients develop effective strategies for both addressing personal problems and removing the emotional barriers that stand in the way of happiness and success. Throughout the course of life, people are confronted with challenges. Some challenges take the form of internal struggles (e.g. perfectionism, social anxiety). Others are self-imposed aspirations (e.g. desire to change, improve, or overcome). Still others are externally imposed ordeals (e.g. relationship break-ups, transitions, work stress, health problems, disaster, abuse). Regardless of the nature, challenges present the opportunity to adapt, constructively face, and master. When clients seek my help in managing life's challenges, I endeavor to create a safe, therapeutic environment that fosters exploration and growth. Within this supportive space, clients can: Gain insight, work through hurts, losses, and disappointments, fortify existing strengths, and develop useful skills.
I primarily use an interpersonal (attachment-based) approach to clinical work. This highly collaborative approach has been heavily researched and is evidence-based. We explore both current relationships as well as underlying relational templates that contribute to problems and manifest symptoms. Often, an interpersonal component contributes to depression, anxiety, procrastination, relationship problems, disordered eating, and etc. I also use a cognitive-behapvioral approach in order to help clients alter hurtful, internalized dialogues and confront negative interpretations unwittingly imposed on situations or relationships. Because thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are interconnected, changing negative thoughts can bring relief for anxiety, depression, and a variety of and other problems.
Areas of Expertise
I have a passion for helping couples and families. I have received concentrated training and intensive supervision in this area. Besides my considerable experience treating couples and families, I have taught couples’ and family therapy courses to graduate students. While I enjoy working with couples in therapy, I do not believe it is the only effective way to help couples. In fact, I believe it can be tremendously helpful for couples to participate in workshops designed to help them understand couple dynamics, improve communication, and address emotional intimacy issues. Therefore, I developed a workshop series that arms couples with knowledge, while also building skills which can be applied to their own situations. These workshops address some of the most common problems couples experience.
Lesbian Gay Bi, and Transgender Expertise
As a member of the LGBT community, I have an insider's understanding complementing my professional expertise. I believe this benefits my LGBT clients. My long-standing commitment to the LGBT community has been exemplied through clinical work, program development, workshops, training for professionals, and assuming positions of leadership. I have worked extensively with LGBT individuals, couples, and groups. Programs I designed, include the country's first LGBT Mentoring Program. This program helps students navigate the coming out process, while developing positive LGBT self-esteem. Another organization I co-founded was for children with LGBT parents. Using social activities as the vehicle for connection (ice skating, Marine World, etc.), kids found support from similar families. I have conducted numerous workshops on LGBT parenting, coming out, internalized homophobia, bi issues, gender identity, spirituality, and etc. I have trained mental health professionals on treating LGBT clients and have made presentations at state and national conferences. I Co-Chaired the Special Interest Group on LGBT Issues (American Group Psychotherapy Association). I was Co-Coordinator of the Gay, Lesbian, and Bi Student Services (USC), Co-Chair of the Vice President's Advisory Committee on LGB Issues (USC), member-Chancellor's Advirsoy Group on LGBT Concerns (UCLA), member-Advisory Board for the LGBT Resources Office (UCLA), Co-Chair of the LGBT Faculty and Staff Association (UCLA), member-Board of Directors (South Bay Center), member-Board of Directors (Stonewall Alliance. Also, in keeping with the American Psychological Association's stance, I have been an active advocate for marriage equality and against bullying and discriminatory polices.
Group Therapy Expertise
I have a strong interest in group psychotherapy; indeed, I believe it can be a superior treatment option for some types of problems. As a Certified Group Psychotherapist, I obtained advanced training and credentialing in group therapy. I have extensive experience facilitating support, therapy and psychoeducational groups. As part of my counseling center work, I was appointed Coordinator of Group Programs (for 2 Centers). Additionally, I provided weekly group supervision for trainees and introduced innovative approaches to group training that have stood the test of time. Further, I have taught group therapy classes for graduate students. I have been an active member in the American Group Psychotherapy Association, co-chairing a division and serving on committees.
Experience Training and Teaching Others
I believe that my involvement in training future mental health professionals is an asset for my clients, because it has sharpened my skills and kept me on the “cutting edge” of new trends. Before moving into full-time private practice, I served as Director of Training for the USC Student Counseling Services and Interim Training Director for the UCI Counseling Center. Both Centers offer highly competitive APA Accredited Internship Programs, recruiting interns from all over the country. It was my goal to provide top quality, scientifically grounded, clinically rigorous, ethically sound, and culturally relevant training, so that our interns would be well prepared to begin their careers as psychologists. In addition to overseeing the training programs, I have routinely supervised psychology interns, postdoctoral fellows, psychology practicum students, social work interns, MFT field placement students, unlicensed staff and Psychological Assistants. Furthermore, I have taught numerous courses for USC, Mount St. Mary’s College, and UCI. In addition to training students, I have presented continuing education workshops for mental health professionals and have regularly presented at national conferences.
I have a strong interest in helping people who suffer from writers' block and other motivational problems. I have facilitated writers' block groups for over a decade. My writers' block groups provide both concrete "hands on" activities as well as therapeutic discussions of the symptoms of writers' block, including endless web-searching, over-researching to avoid, inertia, procrastination, perfectionism, and avoidance, anxiety and depression. We also discuss the dynamics underlying writing problems such as fear of failure, difficulty staying motivated, isolation, feeling like an imposter, etc. Further, we discuss difficult relationships with academic advisors, publishers, agents, committee chairs etc. that impede writing. I have found that it really helps to have the support and encouragement of other writers.
Sexual Assault and Abuse Expertise
Before pursuing my doctoral degree, I was Executive Director of a non-profit rape crisis center. In this role, I supported assault victims in the immediate aftermath of their assault and through the stages of recovery. I advocated for the needs of sexual assault survivors, representing the Center to the community via the media, presenting at conferences, and making presentations to community groups. I interfaced with community organizations and hospitals. I provided in-service training for mental health organizations. Also, I developed a sexual abuse prevention program for children that was adopted by the public school system.