I was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest and I moved to the Bay Area after completing my Bachelor of Arts Degree.
I specialize in mindfulness based approaches that are both experiential and process-oriented treatment modalities. I utilize Somatic Experiencing therapy, blended with EMDR when it's indicated, along with Mindfulness Based Therapy and Compassion Focused Therapy. I have been in private practice in San Carlos, California since 2010.
A Wholistic Approach:
I have sought out many trainings and studied approaches that aligned with my commitment to work with the “whole” person which includes mind, body and spirit as well as family, culture and community. This initially led me to the Evergreen State College (TESC) where I completed a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1987. TESC is an institution that approaches learning and life in a holistic and experiential manner.. At TESC I was exposed to a variety of treatment modalities including person centered, gestalt as well as Freudian Psychoanalysis, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Expressive Arts as modalities that support healing. After graduating with a B.A. in Liberal Arts, I moved to the Bay Area where I began my career working with at risk youth as well as homeless mentally ill adults. In 1992, I graduated from San Francisco State University's Master of Social Work program where, once again, I was trained to look at each life in a holistic manner but this time the focus of my education was broader and emphasized the impact and influences of external factors such as institutionalized bias, systemic discrimination, cultural and familial contexts and all the other ways it is important to include the whole-person, whole-lived-life and in all aspects of the change and healing process.
A Personal Commitment to Healing and Spiritual Growth:
I am committed to not only supporting others on their path the healing and wholeness but to my own healing as well. I have devoted myself to the intensive study of mindfulness practices, and I actively incorporate Buddhist teachings and practices into both my personal and my professional life. Through the intensive study of the mind on long retreats, in Buddhist training programs as well as in daily life I have experienced healing on deeper and deeper levels. Over time, those experiences engendered greater and greater trust in our innate capacity to heal. Healing happens when we are fully aware, connected to our bodily experience, in a safe environment, we have enough wisdom and perspective and we trust the process of healing in the same way that we trust our bodies ability to digest food.
Populations I have worked with:
Over the years, I have worked with the full lifespan and people in all walks of life from pregnant teens and the homeless mentally ill to physicians and therapists. I have worked in Outpatient Mental Health Clinics, Community Based Programs, Residential Treatment Programs, Sub-Acute Psychiatric Hospitals, Medical Clinics and in Chemical Dependency Treatment programs since 1987.
In summary, I have worked most closely with addictive behaviors, depression, gender/sexual identity issues, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, severe mental illness, parenting issues, relationship issues as well as trauma and loss. I have found that a mindfulness-based process-oriented approach is effective across a broad range of issues.
I have trained in many different types of Mindfulness Based, Somatic and Compassion focused modalities including: Somatic Experiencing as developed by Peter Living, PhD; EMDR; Natural Processing which is a powerful healing technique developed by Craig Penner, MFT, that combines EMDR with Somatic Processing.; Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) as developed by Paul Gilbert; Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) with Zindel Seigal, PhD; Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) with Sarah Bowen, Ph.D.; I have also attended numerous mindfulness and psychotherapy trainings with Jack Kornfield, Ph.D., Tara Brach, Ph.D. and other gifted teachers at Spirit Rock.
I am a student, teacher, sangha and board member at the Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City where I study and practice under the guidance of Gil Fronsdal and Andrea Fella. I am in a Four-Year Dharma Teacher Training program that started in 2021, a graduate of several Dharma training programs including: the Local Dharma Leader Training Program; The Local Dedicated Practitioners Program (DPP4); as well as the first Dharma Mentor Training Program (DMTP) at the Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City. I regularly attend residential Vipassana meditation retreats ranging in length from one week to one month.
I feel tremendous gratitude for the healing powers of mindfulness, compassion and the continuously evolving field of clinical psychology and neuroscience. Studied and practiced together, these fields of study and practice support transformative experiences that enhance clarity in the mind and the hearts capacity to love. Through mindfulness, compassion and somatic practice it became possible to nurture and deepen my connection with my heart and a deep reservoir of inner wisdom. I hope it will do the same for you.