I graduated from Stanford University in 1989 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. I then attended Washington State University where I received a Masters of Business Administration in 1993. For the next 15 years I was firmly entrenched in the business world. In 2006, I contracted a rare autoimmune disease called alopecia universalis, which caused all the hair on my body to fall off in a 5-week period. While not a life threatening disease, it was certainly life altering. I experienced the grief and loss associated with a dramatic and rapid change in appearance and identity. All this led me to seek out psychology once again, at first as a client to help myself, then later as a new career to help others. I graduated from Santa Clara University in 2012 with a Masters of Arts in Counseling Psychology. I became a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in California on 4/14/16 (LMFT#92542). As an intern, I worked for four years at a local high school counseling adolescents & their families. I also worked at a clinic, treating adults, couples and families. I lead grief & loss support groups on a regular basis.
Therapy can seem like a mysterious process, but it is not. Depending on the nature of your situation there are often other viable alternatives. Once we have talked about your goals, we will discuss some of these other options to therapy. Your best interests are my sole motivation. The key to success here is for you to feel safe and heard. Your trust in our relationship is critical. Hopefully, this trust will enable you to tell me what is going on with you and allow you to deeply explore your thoughts and feelings. I will not judge you. We will work together, as a team. It is my belief that everyone has the answers to their own particular set of problems somewhere within them. My job is to create enough trust and safety here that you can find the answers that work for you. There are different styles and methods of counseling that can be effective. After doing an initial assessment, I will try to use the therapeutic approach the best fits with you and your specific problems.
Benefits and Risks: For most people, psychological counseling is a positive and helpful experience. It often reduces feelings of distress, leads to improved relationships, and teaches new skills to manage specific concerns. There are no guarantees, however. While therapy has helped many people, it doesn’t work for everyone. All I can promise is that I will create a safe, trusting, non-judgmental environment for you to explore your life. It is not always going to be pleasant and there are some risks involved. It is often the case that clients feel worse before they feel better. Unforeseen changes may occur in relationships or in familiar ways of coping. You may experience unpleasant feelings or recall distressing memories. Facing such challenging experiences may be necessary to realize the benefits of therapy. On occasion, therapy fails to relieve distress, in which case other resources may be recommended.
Number of Sessions: The length of time to complete therapy varies. Ultimately, you decide when it ends. Our time together may be short or long but we will both figure out what is best for you. You have the right to end our work anytime you want. If you or I feel that there might be another therapist who could be more helpful to you, I will gladly provide you with a list of referrals. In the beginning, after we create your goals, I will try to give you a general idea of how many sessions might be optimal. I would ask that you let me know at least a week in advance before you end treatment so that we can properly tie up any loose ends. If I feel that you have accomplished your goals and are no longer benefiting from our time together, I will suggest that we start thinking of a good time to end. Nothing we do together here will be anything you can’t learn to do on your own.
Confidentiality: I want you to feel comfortable expressing yourself freely without fear of judgment or other consequences. Everything we talk about is confidential. This is your right as a patient in therapy. If I disclose something you tell me to a third party, without your written authorization, I am breaking the law and will lose my license. California law requires that I keep your records in a safe and secure place and you have the right to review these records. A session can only be taped or observed if you give me written permission in advance. There are times I may consult with other professionals on your case. During such consultations, I will not reveal any personally identifying information.
There are limits to confidentiality, however. If there is a reasonable suspicion of abuse of a child, dependent adult, or elder, I must report the incident immediately. If you pose a danger to yourself or others I will have to report this. Finally, if a court of law issues a legitimate subpoena for your records, I have to produce them. California law prohibits me from releasing any information about you or acknowledging your status as a client without your permission. When a couple is seen in therapy, I view the couple as the client; therefore release of information for couple’s sessions requires written approval of each member of the couple. Also, in couple’s therapy, communication between one member of the couple and me outside of a couple’s session may be revealed to the other member at my discretion. This “no secrets” policy holds during the course of couple’s therapy.