My Approach to Healing
In my own personal experience, I found it difficult to ask for help. Our society’s cultural lesson of independence made its way into my family and, as such, a belief emerged that said “I don’t need anyone and should be able to fix this on my own.” This belief proved to be isolating, anxiety-provoking, and ultimately exhausting! It wasn’t until I learned the results of recent neuroscience research that humans are wired for social connection that I was able to fully embrace a new belief that interdependence is the path to true health and happiness. When I found myself helping others, I would experience happiness and I was now able to realize that by asking for help, I actually allow others to experience happiness too.
Unfortunately, many people grow up in circumstances beyond their control, where their social bonds are threatened or worse, severed, and the research indicates when this happens in childhood it can lead to long-term health struggles, including a felt sense of being different from, or less than, others, thoughts of not being worthy of love, acceptance, or inclusion, and/or beliefs that it is safer to be alone.
It was my own childhood experience of chaos, addiction, conditional love, manipulation, and rejection that had me longing to be accepted with all of my powerful emotions, have my voice heard, be valued and appreciated for who I was and not what I could do for or give to others, and to say “No” to others in order to say “Yes” to me and not feel like I was being selfish. And it was my own journey of healing – through both yoga and talk therapy – that led me to return to school to pursue a Master’s degree in Couples and Family Therapy from Alliant International University after a career in health care administration as I felt passionately about wanting to help others on their own journeys of healing. And it was my own personal experience with yoga and talk therapy that made me realize ‘one size does NOT fit all’ when it comes to finding someone to work with to heal.
Now knowing that humans are wired for connection, grow when in healthy, reciprocal relationships and wilt when experiencing disconnection from their tribe, my healing offering takes a holistic and systemic, relational view. As a long-time yoga and meditation practitioner, LifeForce Yoga® for Mood Management and trauma-informed yoga teacher, and psychotherapist, my approach is founded on the integration of emotional, physical, psychological, and spiritual well-being. As no two people are the same, I let my clients lead as I set the intention to create a sacred, safe space within which they can experience radical acceptance, deep presence, and unconditional love and then provide gentle guidance towards internal resources to recreate that experience for themselves. I weave an exploration of early childhood connections – or attachments – with primary caregivers together with mindfulness and yoga practices to create space in the mind and body to support the empowerment of clients to get to know themselves better at their own pace. I believe deeply that when we feel safe and allow ourselves to truly feel all of our emotions, we learn that our feelings hold a lot of wisdom and intelligence that guide us on our journeys of self-discovery, growth, and transformation.
When we create space for reflection, we begin to become aware of long-held beliefs and unhealthy relational patterns in our life. With this new found awareness, we can gain insights around where those beliefs and patterns originated. With these insights, we can begin to accept that our development and behaviors to this point were normal, natural adaptive responses to such primal fears of rejection/abandonment, betrayal, and failure. As we begin to accept that we are human and, as such, don’t need to be perfect to be loved and accepted and appreciated, we open up to an experience of change through compassion for ourselves. As our experience of self-compassion grows, we release our attachment to our old beliefs and behaviors, explore new ways of being, with ourselves and in our relationships with others, and begin to experience a greater sense of purpose growing from a place of gratitude for the abundance in our lives.
During my clinical training, I spent a great deal of time (literally thousands of hours) working with individuals, couples, and families of all ages, sizes, and compositions and from many cultural backgrounds in community mental healthcare centers. I felt honored and blessed to work alongside my clients to help them find their way through the overwhelming effects of trauma as experienced as uncertainty, self-doubt, anxiety, fear, depression, internal and external conflicts, rage, disconnection, grief, addiction, chronic physical pain, mind-body dissociation, powerlessness, voicelessness, worthlessness, and loneliness. My education, training, and experience deepened and broadened my awareness and understanding of what is considered trauma, how trauma cuts across all cultures, and how complex the effects of trauma are on the mind, body, and spirit. The resiliency of the human spirit – as witnessed through my clients’ journeys – continues to amaze and gratify me, reinforcing the hope I have each day for my clients’ ability to heal, connect with and express their authentic self in their relationships and in the world, and ultimately find and experience inner peace.
- Rider University, Bachelor of Science, Business Administration
- Joseph’s University, Master of Business Administration, Health Administration
- Alliant International University, Irvine, Master of Arts, Couples & Family Therapy
- The Gary Center, La Habra, CA – Staff Counselor
- Living Success Center, Costa Mesa, CA – Staff Counselor
- American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT)
- California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT)