Background & Training
Mindfulness, or being fully present with what is in a given moment, is the cornerstone of my work with clients and underlies all of my training as a psychologist. I have been extensively trained in each of the following modalities:
Meditation (Vipassana, Mindfulness and Zen)
Meditation is the practice of sustained concentration on a particular object with some intention, often to cultivate a state of consciousness or awareness. One of the most common forms of mindfulness meditation, for example, involves concentrating on the breath in order to cultivate a state of mindful awareness.
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)
MBCT is derived from the practice of being mindful. As a function of increasing one’s awareness in the present moment, the chain reaction of reactive thoughts, feelings, urges, impulses, needs, wants, and desires leading to unwanted or harmful behavior becomes apparent and is investigated.
Yoga (Hatha, Bikram, Vinyasa, Power, Vini, Kundalini, Iyengar, and Ashtanga)
Yoga is a movement practice originally intended to prepare the body for sitting meditation. Yoga as most of us know it involves sustained concentration on the breath while moving from posture (asana) to posture. Yoga has many different forms ranging from more passive practices to more active practices.
Psychodrama is the creative use of role-playing of oneself, inner parts of oneself, or other people in order to investigate and cultivate insight into one’s psychological experience in relationship to oneself or in one’s relationships with others. Psychodrama stimulates transformational experiences for healing disconnection and conflict.
The Hakomi Method
The Hakomi Method is a mindfulness, somatic, and experience- based psychotherapeutic approach to change. The Method combines venerable operating principles with mindfulness and precise methodology to create an extraordinarily effective path towards transformation. The basis of the work is to create a bonded relationship that allows enough safety for the client to turn inwards and explore present experiences, to follow those experiences towards the core material that generates them, and to pursue ways to heal and evolve the core material.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
DBT is an evidence-based cognitive-behavioral treatment that was originally developed to treat chronically suicidal individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and it is now recognized as the gold-standard psychological treatment for this population. However it is also widely used as a treatment protocol for people who experience severe emotion dysregulation.
Somatic Experiencing® (SE)
SE is a short-term naturalistic approach to the resolution and healing of trauma supported by research. It is based upon the observation that wild prey animals, though threatened routinely, are rarely traumatized. Animals in the wild utilize innate mechanisms to regulate and discharge the high levels of energy arousal associated with defensive survival behaviors. These mechanisms provide animals with a built-in “immunity’’ to trauma that enables them to return to normal in the aftermath of highly ‘’charged’’ life-threatening experiences. SE helps human beings to learn how to allow heir nervous systems to go through the same natural process other animals do after a traumatic experience.
Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP)
AEDP is a psychotherapeutic method intended to undo the unbearable aloneness we sometimes experience, especially as we grapple with pain, emotional or physical. The focus of therapy is fostering a safe, loving relationship that leads patients to connect with themselves, to experience secure attachment with their therapists, and to feel safe enough to explore intrapersonal and interpersonal dynamics in the present moment so that healing can occur.
Bodywork and Somatic Education (BASE)
BASE is an approach created by Dave Berger, Physical Therapist, Psychotherapist, and SE Faculty Member, that uses hands-on supportive touch targeting specific body structures effected by chronic distress as part of PTSD to help trauma survivors to find greater ease and flow.
Transforming the Experience-Based Brain (TEB)
TEB is an integrative neurodevelopmental approach to the treatment of developmental trauma with a transforming touch® approach. TEB is based on the belief that if the body is in optimal regulation, then the body will heal itself.
I weave in the above modalities as it suits your therapeutic objectives and interests. If you are interested in working exclusively using one or a few of the specific modalities listed above, please let me know.
There are also a number of other affective, cognitive, somatic, spiritual, relationship, and trauma healing modalities including but not limited to Gestalt, Authentic movement, dream work, creative expression, group process, and Imago with which I’ve had some experience. If it is important to you to work with a therapist with an understanding of a particular framework or modality not mentioned above, please let me know.
I have a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California, and a minor in Italian. While an undergraduate student, I had a full immersion experience studying abroad in Padua, Italy, becoming well-versed in Italian culture and fluent in the Italian language.
I have a PhD in Transpersonal Psychology, the study of psychological connectedness,—to ourselves, to others with whom we are in relationship, to all beings, to God or the Divine, to nature, and to the Universe—and a Master’s in Counseling Psychology, both from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (renamed Sofia University) in Palo Alto, California. There I received a mindfulness-based, holistic, and experiential education in psychology and was exposed to a wide range of therapeutic modalities.
My doctoral dissertation was entitled Breaking a Leg Without Breaking the Spirit. This was a quantitative study examining the psychology, spirituality, and self-actualizing tendencies of 116 professional working actors and involved years of research on creativity, the psychology of acting, multiple intelligences, creativity, fame, consciousness, and the range of spiritual experiences common among actors and other creative artists. Over the course of working on my dissertation while living in my hometown of Los Angeles, I was given the rare opportunity to go behind the scenes in the life of the average working Screen Actors Guild (SAG) actor.