About Me

I am a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFC 32566). I began my training as a psychotherapist in 1989, with a focus on working with children and families, particularly children with a history of trauma and significant losses. Since earning my license in 1995 and opening my private practice, I have expanded my focus to include individual adult and couples work.

Areas of Expertise

I work well with a broad range of problems that people commonly face, including issues related to stress, depression, anxiety, relationship problems, and addictions. I have two particular areas of specialization: trauma (both from childhood abuse as well as traumas experienced during adulthood), and sexual addiction.

Approach

Just as one does not use the same set of tools for every building project, how I approach therapy depends on who you are, what you want help with, and what the problem is. Most of us benefit from some combination of:
  • Being listened to and accurately understood
  • Trying out alternative healthier behaviors
  • Learning new information relevant to our problem
  • Reexamining what we have been taught about who we are and what our limitations are
  • Above all, having a private, safe place and a supportive person with whom to explore issues that may otherwise feel too uncomfortable, difficult or shameful to deal with
My style is straightforward and interactive: I won't stare at you in silence, only occasionally making brilliant but mysterious interpretations. Instead, I approach psychotherapy as an active collaboration. I have specialized training and knowledge about human behavior and psychology, but the bottom line is we are still human beings working together to make things better. I often use humor.

Depending on the issue and what works best for your own needs, I may be more or less directive and structured. Some problems respond well to structured cognitive-behavioral approaches emphasizing education and practice assignments, but for other issues we may focus more on exploring your feelings, childhood history, and memories. I am a Level II trained EMDR clinician; if you think you may be interested in using this technique, we can discuss its appropriateness for your issues.

Theoretical Orientation

As described above, I do not follow one single approach for every client. My original training was a combination of family systems theory and psychodynamic approaches. The theories and research I have found most consistently useful over the years are in the areas of attachment, the remarkable research done in the last two decades on trauma and how we heal from it, the ongoing insights neuroscience provides on what it is to be human, and the experiential emotional processing techniques I learned through EMDR training.

Technology

The reason I am only in my office two afternoons a week is that the rest of my time is taken up with my job as Director of Information Technology at WestCoast Children's Clinic in Oakland. I mention this to let you know that if you are involved professionally or personally in the tech world, you won't have to spend lots of time explaining and translating your activities to me.