It is important you feel empowered, safe, and understood by me.
You’re taking the first steps on a journey, but you’re not taking them alone. People typically come to therapy because they are in a state of emotional pain. Just like our physical wounds, our emotional wounds warrant the same attention and care. You may not be able to pin point what exactly you want or need, but you know that “it should not be this hard to get through”. As your therapist I will help you work through your problems rather than telling you what to do. Therapy is much more than simply “fixing” you. I will carefully help you uncover your feelings, face painful
experiences, and begin to live more connected to what you desire and need.
I would be honored to support you with whatever obstacles and struggles you are going through in life. Psychotherapy is an authentic choice that is made from a place of self-love. Like anything of worth, therapy takes commitment and bravery. You are embarking on a journey where healing and transformation are possible. Everyone has different experiences in therapy, but here are a few changes people commonly report during the process: 1. You learn to see your struggles as strengths. 2. You become more accepting of yourself and others. 3. You learn to understand and express your feelings. 4. You become more aware of what is going on inside and outside yourself. 5. You set and achieve your goals.
While listening, guiding and learning from you, I can offer my own experience and resources to help you start off in the right direction. You can start by setting up a free 30-minute consultation. At any point, you can ask about the process of therapy. Be empowered to ask for what you want and need from your experience. This process is about your growth and renewal. I am here for you.
My areas of clinical interest:
There are unique populations that I have great interest and clinical experience working with. If you can identify with any if these issues, be assured that our work together could be helpful for you.
Braver Living Individual Counseling:
When I work with clients I often use concepts from Brenè Brown’s research concerning shame, vulnerability and bravery. I have taken an online course through COURAGEworks called Living Brave Semester which was engineered by Brenè Brown Ph.D herself. I have learned to help lead others in discovering self-care, becoming confident in their own skin and practicing vulnerability. Braver living can be as simple as setting a boundary with a family member to saying no to a friend. According to Dr. Brown, “daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others”. Often times we stand in our own way from receiving the healing we need. During our time we will work together to help you gain back authority over your life. My goal for our work is to help you gain the tools and skills needed to become resilient despite the difficulties of life.
I greatly enjoy working with premarital couples. It is such a valuable time to have the courage to ask ourselves and each other the hard questions. I am recently married and my husband and I both went to individual and premarital counseling before we got married. Before starting, we thought that we were the only ones hitting a wall in trying to understand each other. Now we know that we are totally normal and it is perfectly ok to struggle before and after marriage. Struggling does not mean that you are doomed forever. I believe we can learn from our differences and grow from our relationship wounds. To help this process, I use material from the #1 premarital and marital assessment tool called PREPARE-ENRICH (P/E) which has shown to reduce the risk of divorce by 30% (www.prepare-enrich.com). According to PREPARE-ENRICH, “relationships thrive when there is understanding”. P/E covers various areas within your relationship from communication, finances, spiritual beliefs and conflict resolution. Whether it is laying the foundation for your relationship or getting to the root of your tensions, we will work together to enhance your relationship.
“Never get tired of doing little things for your partner. Sometimes those little things occupy the biggest part of their heart”-John Gottman. I find my work with couples very rewarding because I believe in the restoration of relationships and that there is always hope! Sometimes we just need the tools to help our relationship thrive. I specialize in working with couples in all phases whether engaged, married or in committed relationships. I work to make sure that both of you are heard without taking sides. It is my goal to help you heal from your past traumatic experiences and find deeper intimacy. To aide in this work I use helpful material from my training in the Gottman Method Couples Therapy (gottman.com). We will discuss what Gottman refers to as “gridlock issues” which can be defined as perpetual problems that continue to show up in relationships. You will be given the tools to address underlying issues and build emotional connection. My counseling services are here to help a diverse population of people and issues. From culture, race, gender, sexual orientation to faith background, I will make myself available to you. Being married to someone from a different cultural background than myself, I understand the challenges and lessons it can bring. I have learned that our partners can be our greatest teachers.
Faith has played a significant role in my life and because of this I want to make myself available to discuss how faith, religion, and spirituality can be used as solutions to our problems. As Martin Luther King Jr says, “faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase”. Faith can be used to guide us through trials, reveal answers and provide strength during your therapeutic journey. This is true whether it is having faith in God, the universe, love, ourselves or a higher purpose. Faith-based counseling is psychotherapy that incorporates the role of beliefs, values and religion play in your healing process. I will allow the client to bring up faith when they feel comfortable and safe. It is not my job to impose my personal beliefs or image of God unto you. However I would love to pray and dialogue with you. Lastly, I recognize that religion has caused hurt in peoples lives and I am here to support and validate you.
Eating Disorder/Body Image:
It is hard to love and even like our bodies in this society. We have to make a conscious effort to learn new healthy behaviors and self-talk! I have experience working with men and women who are battling disordered body image and a disordered relationship with food. My belief is that eating disorders are not a choice. They can be debilitating and life-threatening. Eating disorders can often be used to give us a sense of power and control. In your recovery, we will work to discover some of the underlying issues and gain healthy ways to feel empowered without needing to manage your weight or food intake. Disordered eating can be difficult to spot because we live in a culture that promotes skipping meals and going on diets. Our society is lacking in body diversity and we are need of positive role models who can represent all body shapes. I take a Health At Every Size (haescommunity.com) approach meaning that I acknowledge that well-being and healthy habits are more important than the number on the scale. We will have the opportunity to work together to help you find peace with food and your body.
Are you feeling stressed, overwhelmed and alone? I will reassure you that every one on some level could be feeling the same way and just not saying it. We do not typically bring up these negative emotions so we feel like we are the only one feeling them. There is a significant amount of pressure to find your place, group and even your spouse in college! We can become more vulnerable to the comparison game which leaves us even more isolated. Comparison only takes away from our well-being and inner peace. I have become more familiar with the issues that come up for college students in my work at the counseling center at Pepperdine University. I also was a Resident Advisor at Azusa Pacific University and gave students a safe place to talk about their struggles without judgement. I have experience working with a diverse amount of issues including perfectionism, OCD behaviors, body image dissatisfaction, suicidal ideation, boundary setting and self esteem. I believe that we set the platform for who we are, what makes us happy, and how we want to live our lives in our college years. What a opportunity to start your introspective journey during this vital time! I will work with you to offer a sliding scale so that finances do not stop you from getting help.
Trauma expert Bessel van der Kolk believes that, “being able to feel safe with other people is probably the single most important aspect of mental health; safe connections are fundamental to meaningful and satisfying lives”. We all in some way have experienced trauma in our lives. PsychologyToday states that “smaller, everyday events can still be traumatic”. Something that I found helpful in understanding trauma is that there are different types of trauma: Big T and little t traumas. Little t traumas are events that exceed our capacity to cope and impact our emotional functioning. Examples being a divorce, financial worries, or infidelity. Big T traumas are significant events that leave us feeling powerless and no longer in control of our environment. Examples include: a sexual assault, a terrorist attack, natural disaster or major accident. Both types of traumas leave an impact on our lives and often disconnect us from our bodies. We will work together to help you gain awareness of what your body is trying to communicate to you. The goal is to equip you with the skills to better cope and rise above adversity.
One type of trauma that I support clients in is betrayal trauma. Because I have seen the devastating impact betrayal trauma has on people’s lives and self-esteem, I have done the clinical research and training to best support you. Betrayal trauma is “when the person who we’ve loved and trusted to protect us, is now the one who has betrayed and deceived us”-Dr. Sheri Keffer. A betrayal can be anything from using pornography, an emotional affair or a complex sexual addiction. Us, as their loved ones are left wounded and in need of answers. It has been shown that betrayal trauma impacts our bodies so much so that we exhibit symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
A betrayal or series of betrayals impact our connection, trust, and intimacy with our partners and even strangers. According to Dr. Sheri Keffer, “the deception around the betrayal damages our trust and we no longer feel safe”. If you have felt unsafe, alone, hopeless and that the pain is unbearable, I can assure you that what you are feeling is completely normal and appropriate due to what has happened to you. However, there is hope! If you are looking for a christian emphasis on healing, we will use the Betrayal and Beyond workbook that provides valuable tools, biblical wisdom and testimonies of other women who have found hope and healing in their journey. If you are looking for a non-faith based approach, I am here to make the healing process easier for you. I can be present as you take your first steps towards your own recovery from betrayal trauma. It can be empowering to have a safe space to express painful emotion. It is important to set up boundaries to stay safe and healthy during the process. You will be given tangible tools to soothe the panic and build your self-esteem back up again.