WORKING WITH YOU
I am dedicated to helping you experience relief from whatever painful experiences, beliefs, or fears are leading to unwanted behavior or unmet needs or goals. This can feel like a daunting task as many often come to believe these things can't be changed, or that it would be too overwhelming to try —and understandably so! Usually people seek therapy after many failed attempts at making such changes. However, I'm hopeful things can be different. My aim is to support you, at your own pace, in getting to know, understand, and relieve the road blocks that prevent you from feeling recognized, valued, and unburdened.
I hold the belief that you know what's best for you, and my intention is to help you gain greater clarity as to what that may be. At times, I’ll be active in lending you my own openness, compassion, and sense of direction, and at other times I’ll support you by stepping back, offering guidance and support as you lead.
Having experienced it myself, I realize that takes a lot of courage to admit you need for support. And yet, this is a helpful step to take toward achieving your goals of feeling connected to your purpose, to your relationships, and to yourself.
I have a wide range of therapeutic experiences that have served as a foundation for my trauma-informed practice. For a significant portion of my early training I provided psychotherapy to low-income and homeless populations struggling with substance use, mental illness, and complex trauma. Here, I became familiar with the frustration that arises when trying to change, or combat, painful symptoms. I also became familiar with the inadequacy of many interventions in promoting and supporting significant change. Eventually, I came to understand that these symptoms, while concerning, usually had some sort of role in keeping my clients functioning, and that these symptoms were reluctant to let go of their responsibilities out of fear that something terrible could happen.
This insightful experience led me to quickly find appreciation for the Internal Family Systems (IFS) model. IFS recognizes that symptoms, or “parts,” hold some sort of positive intention and are (or were at one point in time) helpful in making life manageable. I’ve found that instead of fighting against these “parts” to change them, getting to know them in their positive intention can actually help them relax and take on a more holistic internal role. In turn, the internal system is left feeling less ashamed about such behaviors and more free to make new, creative choices. If you're interested in learning more about IFS, visit www.ifs-institute.com.
EDUCATION AND TRAINING
I graduated from San Diego State University with a B.A. in Psychology, and from Bethel Seminary with a M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy. I'm a Certified IFS Clinician, with IFS being the lens through which the majority of my work is conducted. Additionally, I'm trained in Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and influenced by Bowenian Family Systems Theory, Dr. Dan Siegel's parenting work, Attachment Theory, and Toni Herbine-Blank's IFS couples work (Intimacy from the Inside Out). Because of the transformation I've seen within myself and in others as a result of these theories, I've often found myself in teaching roles hoping to aid others in their own healing, and in their ability to support healing in their families and communities.
Through the past few years my wife and I have fostered a handful of children ranging from ages 3 to 13. As parenting tends to be, this has been both challenging and incredibly transformative - and has given me some important and unique insights into the impact of trauma on an individual, familial, and societal level. In the midst of it all I've learned how essential it is to hold space in my life for enjoying many hobbies, time with friends, time alone, and the new experiences of whatever season of life I may be in. I truly love this work, and I look forward to meeting you!