From despair to joy
Like many of you, I too have endured many challenges in my life. My personal and professional journey began many years ago when I realized that I desired to help people through their challenges so that they didn’t have to suffer alone as I had in my youth. I pursued that path diligently, majoring in psychology at Dartmouth College, doing psychological research for my professors, and beginning my work in psychiatric hospitals and group homes for troubled adolescents at the age of 19. After graduation, I moved to Colorado to take a break before grad school. It was there that a series of events, including a fateful tick bite, altered my plan and led me down a path of severe illness, depression, hopelessness, and despair; a truly dark time in my life.
I found my way out through alternative medicine, and Energy Psychology in particular. First, I completed a year of training in massage therapy at the Boulder School of Massage Therapy. It was there that I began to understand that mind, body, emotions and spirit were all interrelated and interdependent. I was introduced to meditation, chiropractic, muscle testing, nutritional supplements, and all kinds of mind-body healing techniques. I was seeking answers and found myself on a spiritual journey. This led me to Palo Alto, California for graduate school at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, a program that takes a holistic approach to the training of psychotherapists, teaching them how to help people self-actualize and reach their highest human potential. Here, in addition to traditional clinical psychology, I learned about Eastern philosophy, shamanic traditions, creative expression, somatic psychology, and even had classes in Aikido and Yoga. I took outside courses in Reiki, and became a certified hypnotherapist as well. I came to understand that in the healing of psychological issues, one must acknowledge and address the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of those issues.
While over the years, all these methods were helpful, and all that I was learning was expanding my mind and spirit, my body remained quite ill. In fact, I was so sick and in so much pain, so weak and exhausted all the time that I could barely function. At this point, I fully immersed myself in alternative medicine, began seeing a naturopath, taking herbs and homeopathy, receiving acupuncture and a host of other somatic treatments. I would make progress, but kept hitting plateaus. Things really didn’t change significantly for me until I discovered Energy Psychology in 1999 and began clearing the emotional and energetic blocks that were contributing to my state of dis-ease. Bing – the light bulb went off! In fact, the light bulb exploded! Results were profound and I was so impressed with my own healing and the miraculous growth that I saw in others doing this work that I decided to pursue EP wholeheartedly, starting with my doctoral dissertation (Be Set Free Fast: The Use of an Innovative Psychotherapeutic Technique to Improve Self-Esteem In a Dually-Diagnosed Population), and going on to gain extensive training in a number of techniques, including my certification in NET (Neuro Emotional Technique). In fact, I don’t think I would’ve made it through grad school and on to obtain my license as a Clinical Psychologist if it hadn’t been for these amazing tools. With the addition of Access Consciousness® in 2011, I finally was able to beat the symptoms of what turned out to be Lyme Disease and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
I have brought the best of these innovative techniques along with traditional psychology approaches to my job as a Clinical Psychologist. My work has always seemed to involve complex issues and populations. I’ve worked in psychiatric hospitals, group homes, residential and outpatient clinics. I developed a specialty in treating addiction and co-occurring mental disorders over 12 years at Catholic Charities (San Jose, CA), where I worked my way up from Psychology Intern to Program Manager, and as Director of Outpatient Services at Marin Services for Women (Greenbrae, CA), where in addition to providing therapy to clients, I redesigned the intensive outpatient program and trained interns and seasoned clinicians to become the best therapists they can possibly be. After that, I was the Director of Outpatient Services at Alta Mira Recovery Programs, an innovative holistic program in Sausalito, CA providing intensive, high-quality individualized treatment for people recovering from addiction and co-occurring disorders.
In 2012, I decided to leave agency work to embark on private practice full-time. I have since worked as a Consultant for Alta Mira and Foundations San Francisco, teaching Energy Psychology classes and providing individual therapy to clients who wish to go deeper with the EP work. Most recently, I’ve helped launch Avery Lane, an innovative new women’s dual diagnosis residential treatment program in Novato, CA, as their Clinical Director. I’m bringing the best of all my EP tools to this position, empowering both clients and staff to learn how to manage and grow their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. I also teach classes for students in the Chemical Dependency Studies program at California State University – East Bay, I’ve started a local chapter of ACEP (The Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology) for San Francisco and the greater Bay Area, and I’m involved in a new nonprofit for victims of abuse called FREA – Finding Recovery and Empowerment from Abuse.
Over the years, I’ve led thousands of therapy groups, and provided hundreds of people with individual, couples, and family therapy. I’ve treated people from all walks of life, with all kinds of presenting problems, from depression and anxiety, to chronic pain and illness, to addiction and severe mental illness. I have found that the common denominator across populations is low self-esteem; people really don’t seem to be able to accept or love themselves. I have come to realize that the true core of my work is to empower people to find the light within themselves – to discover their true nature and free themselves of their self-judgments. I believe that this is what brings us true joy and inner peace, and allows us to create all that we desire in life. It’s been a long journey for me, but I am proud to say that I am healthier, happier and more satisfied with life than I have ever been, and I’m super excited to share what I have learned with others.
These days, I am traveling around the world attending and facilitating workshops, mostly in Access Consciousness®. I also work with people in my private practice, whether in person at my San Francisco office, or by phone/video chat. Though the energy psychology techniques I employ are so powerful that we are often able to make amazing changes in a brief period of time, I always enjoy working with people who are interested in longer-term therapy. Most recently, I’ve added an innovative, intensive coaching program to my practice.
The great thing about most of the EP techniques that I use is that you can practice them at home in between sessions. In fact, it’s possible to do a tremendous amount of self-healing, but often there are blind spots that we miss, which is why it’s usually more effective to have someone guiding you through the process. Plus, there is tremendous value in the therapeutic relationship itself; feeling that you are safe, understood and cared for promotes a profound depth of healing.
To our work together, I bring a warm, nonjudgmental, accepting, authentic, realistic and optimistic attitude. Humor is really important as well, because if we can’t laugh at ourselves and life sometimes, we’re screwed! I’m not afraid to say it like it is, but always with the greatest respect and compassion. Everything we talk about is kept strictly confidential (with certain exceptions mandated by law). I see myself as a catalyst for change. I believe that everyone has the knowledge they’re seeking inside themselves. It’s my job to help you find it.
Want to know more? Wondering if our working together would be a good fit? I offer a free consultation to help answer any questions or concerns you might have. You can contact me by phone or email.
Thanks for reading…and whatever path you choose, may you find all that you are seeking!