My Journey

Education:

BSC Psychology from Lancaster University, UK and UCSB, California in 2000.

MS Counseling Psychology, Specializing in Marriage and Family Therapy from CSUN, California in 2004.


License:

Licensed by The Board of Behavioral Science in California, as a Marriage and Family Therapist in 2009.

License Number: 46883.


Traineeship:

The Simi Valley Free Clinic


Internships:

Miracles for Moms, Ventura and Santa Paula.

Rain Project Homeless Shelter, Camarillo.

New Beginnings Counseling Center, Camarillo.

La Ventana Eating Disorder Programs, Thousand Oaks.


Experience:

At The Free Clinic I was trained to practice expressive play therapy with individuals, children and families  with an additional specialty of sand-tray therapy. These experiential therapies are especially useful for children and anyone who finds it hard to express themselves verbally. I still find these methods highly effective for accessing the subconscious more readily than talk therapy can.


As an intern I gained experience treating men and women recovering from addictions and domestic violence in both group and individual settings. It was in these groups that I began to recognize the power of the group to motivate, challenge and support clients to make changes in their lives. 


I facilitated an ANAD group (Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders) for two years at New Beginnings Counseling Center. This gave me insight into the experience of the life and death struggle with food that those with eating disorders experience. It became clear to me how crucial it is to challenge the negative cultural messages that support this devastating illness. I also developed a deep attachment to this population as I recognized the need to heal core childhood issues that often underlie food and body issues. This led to my work in eating disorder treatment centers, both outpatient and residential where I practiced Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, somatic methods, mindfulness, meditation, positive psychology, and assertiveness training to name but a few. These skills added to my efficacy in treating both depression and anxiety, often co-morbid with eating disorders. 


After several years I decided to bring what I had learned about our eating disordered culture to chemical dependency treatment facilities where many addicts switch from substance to food disorders or have eating disorders underlying their addictions. I led psycho-educational groups on how to find balance with food and body image. Before I knew it in 2014 I became the primary therapist at a Chemical Dependency Treatment Center in Thousand Oaks. There I led the multi-family group and used both my personal 12-step experience and clinical training to reach those almost destroyed by drug or alcohol addiction. Working with addicts and their families in the powerful group dynamic was intense and rewarding. 


After working in treatment centers for many years I recognized a need for dynamic group experience that is an affordable and effective long term treatment for those who need a higher level of care than individual therapy. Weekly outpatient groups also support those who have stepped down from higher levels of care. I'm thrilled to provide easy access to groups for some of the populations I've served, expanding their social network opportunities outside the 12-step community. I have facilitated support groups for both men and women in my private practice and find this adjunct to individual therapy a highly effective way to strengthen recovery. 


Today my approach varies depending on your needs, comfort level and personality. I may use a combination of any of the above mentioned methods. My overall framework remains a family systems orientated approach meaning that the environment of your well-being is important. Treatment may include; increasing your awareness of family and social forces that impact you, inviting your spouse and or family into your treatment process or developing a new support system that works to strengthen your recovery. 

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