I first entered the helping profession working with children in afterschool programs. After developing a disguised learning program for elementary and middle school children, I taught this program through LAUSD in afterschool programs. While working with these children, I discovered the sad fact that many of today’s children are under-informed about academic topics and well over-informed about topics about which youngsters should know nothing. This revelation brought to mind something my grandmothers both said to me growing up, “To she whom much is given, much is required.” Having grown up with the gift of a warm loving family, I chose to answer the call for higher academic pursuits and returned to school to earn my Masters of Counseling, Marriage, Family, Child Therapy from the University of Phoenix, Woodland Hills Campus.
As a marriage family therapist, I find myself working with a very diverse clientele as I have very diverse interests in mental health. I am interested in and fascinated by the “why” of my clients. I want to help him or her reach down into the depths of his or her being to discover who they are when they feel safe, secure, and cared for. I believe much of the sorrow experienced by most of us stems from a longing to know ourselves, trust ourselves, and believe we are worthy. With this goal at the forefront of my mind, I have found myself working with teens in trauma and crisis; wedged between the normal adolescent emotional sea-saw and the trauma of growing up in a world where human sex trafficking and CSEC (Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children) exists. I have had the pleasure and challenge of working with teen girls on probation with emotional. behavioral, mental health, substance abuse, attachment, and trauma issues. Here is where I learned what it means to have compassion and empathy while holding out hope for those who feel hopeless.
My journey has led me to work with families suffering the plight of losing a loved one to homicide, drunk drivers, suicide, gang violence; or who were survivors of violent crimes such as assault and battery, robbery, as well as sexually related and intimate partner violence. With this work, sparked the interest to further develop the skills and insight to work as a grief and loss specialist; which includes assisting individuals who suffer with chronic pain, illness, and devastating medical diagnoses.
I practice using traditional talk therapy as well as non-traditional modalities. I am trained to use art, music, and movement as a healing tool, as I believe healing comes through many pathways. Further training includes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy; Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT); Narrative Therapy; Play Therapy, working with children; as well as Sandbox Therapy, working with children, adolescents, and adults. I am a certified Laughter Yoga Instructor, as it is a scientific fact that laughter has healing properties, whether real or simulated. What better way to find optimum health than by laughing your way there.
I work with adolescents, individually, in groups, and with families. In addition, I provide counseling for couples just starting out, (premarital) as well as those who have been together for years and are looking to keep the fires of friendship, romance, sexual desires burning. I also work with children, adults, and families with a variety of therapeutic and life situation-related needs.