A brief introduction...
Hello, and thank you for your curiosity in my work. Our life narratives are important avenues of self-awareness as well as a great means of simply getting to know each other. Our stories are important components of mentorship and so I share this bit of biographical information as a way for you to come to know a bit about who I am and how I came to work the way I do.
I grew up as the youngest child of three in Greensboro, North Carolina, graduating with a B.A. in Psychology from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2003. My main activities throughout my childhood and adolescents revolved around sports, most notably tennis and golf, with a good bit of basketball. After college I began working full-time at a racquet club, teaching tennis to children, teens, and adults. I greatly enjoyed coaching, particularly in regards to the mental components and associated 'self-talk' than inevitably emerges during tennis. During this time of my life, I stopped competing competitively and instead began practicing Ashtanga Yoga which remains a daily practice that I participate in, now 14 years later. I felt the pull to head west to learn to integrate and make sense of my interests in sports, coaching, and psychology, and ultimately to learn about who I wanted to be as an adult! In 2006, I moved to San Francisco to study East-West Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS).
I fell in love with California right away. I was so taken by the land, the weather, the laid back 'vibe', and the progressive culture. I finished my first masters degree, which I consider my introduction into psychotherapy. I spent a year soul-searching in Asia and ultimately returned to California to pursue a second degree in Clinical Psychology so that I could obtain a license to work psychotherapeutically with families, couples, and individuals.
I am deeply grateful for the circumstances that led to this decision. In 2012 I graduated from CIIS after working for one year at the California Pacific Medical Center which was undeniably life changing and continues to deeply influence the way I work. In the hospital I experienced first hand the power of presence. I learned that healing can come in many forms and that people's needs vary tremendously based not only on their own pasts, yet also of course on one's present circumstances and future considerations as well.
I went on to practice as an intern in an office in Pacific Heights in San Francisco. Though I relished the work, particularly with young adults, I felt out of place, and inexperienced in the office setting. It was not a good fit for me, and so I began working at St. Vincent's home for boys in Marin, CA.
Though the intern years are challenging on a number of levels I remain profoundly grateful for my experience at St. Vincent's. The time spent working with orphaned boys was unimaginably humbling. I had shoes thrown at me by my clients, I argued with the staff (on behalf of my clients), and I learned new ways of creating relationships in which vulnerability and authenticity can be expressed and shared in meaningful ways. I often took my clients off campus to work with them in 'the real world'-- to see their issues and anxieties emerge at Target and help create an experience of somatic awareness that makes interacting with the world doable, ok, and even fun.
Simultaneously, I began working with the Stepping Stones project which led to my leading backpacking trips with teenagers.
As my private mentoring practice grew, I let go of St. Vincent's, and gradually Stepping Stones as well. I did work with Coyote Coast in Orinda for over a year, as well as the Muir Woods rehab center in Petaluma. There I enjoyed leading wilderness outings for teenagers struggling with substance abuse.
For the last several years I have maintained my private practice and now solely work with families and individuals in my practice. I strive to offer life changing work that is both client-centered while also holding a family systems oriented approach to treatment.