When I was in my early twenties, I walked away from San Francisco State University with a degree in Fine Arts (concentration in…weaving) and not much of a clue as to what I would “do” in the world. The available jobs in my field were not terribly enticing, and I found myself scouring the Internet for something that brought excitement.
I was hired as a “milieu” counselor in a residential treatment facility serving “the most severely emotionally disturbed adolescents in Northern California.” On my very first day I was kicked in the face and went home with a bloody nose. It was an intense beginning—leading to an utter breakdown of my confidence and my worldview. Two years in that environment inspired me to develop greater accountability and to discover my privilege and the larger context in which I reside. I also discovered my drive towards meeting others in the most extraordinary of places.
I was accepted to study in the Expressive Arts Therapy program at The California Institute of Integral Studies and was so grateful for the opportunity to combine my passion for the arts with my interest in counseling psychology. I also chose this program because I heard it would challenge me personally and force me to become more aware of my weakness and vulnerability.
I used this time, in part to explore the dynamics of romantic relationship. I exposed myself to a great deal of theory and philosophy on the subject and also examined my personal experiences in love through psychotherapy and other avenues. I continue to find this subject rich and endlessly fascinating.
After graduation I continued on at the site I’d chosen to do my training, New Perspectives Center for Counseling. I spent over two years offering individual and couples therapy to a wide cross section of people with a great variety of challenges. I found a competent and inspired therapist in me and received great satisfaction helping people discover that they were in many ways products of their pasts, not defective individuals.
After a period of travel and personal reflection I accepted a position at St. Nicholas Catholic School, where I served as school counselor for children age five to thirteen. I found the psychological and emotional worlds of children rich and wonderfully complex. I thrived for nearly two years challenging parents to provide consistency and greater structure, and studying the effects of family dynamics on children’s relational and academic functioning.
I was licensed in 2011, a few short weeks before I gave birth to my daughter and began my private practice in 2013. Parenting for me brought many unanswered questions and a humility I had never touched before. I realized I, personally needed a great deal more support and a new paradigm from which to relate to my child. After some investigation I discovered Hand in Hand Parenting, which spoke directly to my heart’s inclination. I trained with Hand in Hand for one year and began teaching classes and facilitating parent support groups in addition to offering psychotherapy.
Today, I am most interested in working with parents and caregivers and people who want to improve their functioning in romantic relationship—people who are challenged by current relationships or seeking a partnership or romantic connections. The time I’ve spent with a treasured non-dual teacher has also deepened my work with clients and I’m finding the question of “control” to be a powerful one. Are we running our own life-show? And what does it look like to support those who have, despite their very best efforts, failed to create the life they want? What happens when we give up the ideal and to what do we open when we allow our hearts to break?