I am a licensed clinical therapist and have been in the field of psychotherapy since 1980 upon receiving my Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Southern Oregon State University. In 1985, I worked full time as a counselor, raised a family, attended graduate school and graduated with my Master of Science degree in Counseling Psychology in 1990 from San Diego State University. The emphasis in our graduate program was in System Psychology. System psychology is how individuals within the family system interact with one another affecting each other’s emotional well being. I always believed that I was lucky to have been mentored by several extraordinary supervisors in both my graduate program and internships. I was chosen along with five other graduate students from my graduating class to participate in the Taft Project. The Taft Project was designed to address adolescents who were failing scholastically in a middle school setting by performing weekly family therapy. Statistically, the Taft project was seen as a success for positively affecting a student’s school performance.
I received my Marriage and Family Counseling license in 1994. In 1996, I became the clinical supervisor for a 66 bed nonprofit residential facility in north county San Diego and supervised six interns for three years. As a supervisor, it forced me to break down psychotherapy into small steps in order to teach my interns. I found that it had made me into a better clinician. In 1999, I had decided to leave residential treatment, and focus on adult psychotherapy including, individual, couple and family counseling. I found myself treating psychological trauma using treatment modalities that were falling short of creating deep positive change. It was then that I had found Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing EMDR, and shortly after, Thought Field Therapy TFT. Both treatment modalities create deep transformative permanent change to where an individual suffering from having to experience intrusive thoughts and images of the trauma get to resolve at a deep level. I have felt honored to have witnessed such deep permanent changes in a person’s life for the past 19 years due to using these transformative techniques.
In 2002, I was hired and worked for Kaiser Permanente as a Psych Social Clinician ll performing individual, family, group therapy for the next 16 years until I retired on December 31, 2018. Upon starting Kaiser an old colleague of mine from a pervious internship asked if I would co-facilitate with her group therapy for couples, which I did for a number of years. However again, I was struck by how ineffective I had found the techniques that were being used for couples, often times lacking and limited to learning communication skills such as, I messages and active listening. And lastly, in an attempt to assist the couple to create a closer relationship, we would use date night to assist in this process. Unfortunately, communication skills, although good in a clinical setting, would quickly fall apart when a person was at home, in conflict and highly emotional with their partner. This kind of emotional reactivity often served to distance emotionally, creating walls, in place of getting what the couple most wanted, to feel emotionally connected again and less like roommates. It was then that I had discovered Emotionally Focused Therapy for couples, EFT. I did a 5 day externship with the founder of the technique, Susan Johnson, Ph.D. Following the externship, I signed up for and underwent an extensive training that lasted approximately five years with her “right hand man”, Scott Wooley, Ph.D. EFT is a highly effective technique that focuses on creating and strengthening the emotional bond between partners by identifying and transforming those key moments that foster an adult loving relationship. The goal of EFT is to reprocess experiences and reorganize interactions to create a secure bond between partners. Once a couple has created a more secure bond, partners can then use their negotiation skills to effectively address issues.
Lastly, my most newest love is the technique of Mindfulness. A Zen technique that has been around for nearly 2500 years that was recently adopted by the field of psychology. Mindfulness is a transformative technique that can help the individual access and transmute that persons deepest fears.
I love being a therapist and connecting with people. During the past 38 years, I have had the honor of witnessing a person’s process of transformative growth which has been highly gratifying. So, even though I have retired from Kaiser, I am not ready for retirement, and instead choose to be semi retired. What all of this means is, I will have the privilege to work for the Achieve Medical Center providing individual, couple, and family therapy for 15 hours a week beginning in early January, 2019.