Hey There

First of all, I'm so glad you're here. Lifting people up has always been one of my strongest-held values and I hope it's something I can do for you.

 

I’ve had a lot of educational experiences that make me qualified as a psychologist, but I also have a lot of other life experiences that I bring to therapy too. I'll let you decide which ones are most important to you.

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About Me - The Professional Version

I've been working in the field of psychology for more than ten years. I earned a Bachelor’s in psychology at UCLA and a Master’s degree at Antioch University before going on to complete my training with a doctorate degree from the California School of Professional Psychology, where I specialized in Health.

 

Over the course of my training, I worked with health populations throughout the lifespan and across a variety of diagnoses and settings (medical centers, primary care and specialty medicine offices, research facilities, and community clinics, etc.). I've always appreciated the experience of working alongside doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, pharmacists, personal trainers, dieticians, and other health professionals to maximize patients' progress.

Throughout my schooling I also worked as an NSCA certified personal trainer, gaining knowledge and experience in physiology, exercise, nutrition, sleep, and the biological mechanisms of stress. These additional experiences in the wellness world serendipitously shifted my understanding of how dependent physical and mental health are on one another.

 

Recognizing the connection between both health worlds, I have since focused my career on bringing psychology, medicine, and lifestyle habits together with the goal of improving clients’ mental and physical health simultaneously. I operate from the understanding that our nervous system runs everything in our body--physical health and mental health are the same thing.

 

My work includes individual and family therapy, program development, supervision and consultation, teaching, writing, and speaking. 

Areas of Specialty

  • Anxiety & Depression

  • Binge Eating & Weight Management

  • Chronic & Complex illness (including POTS, EDS, MCAS, dysautonomia, etc.)

  • Gastrointestinal/Microbiome Health

  • Diabetes

  • Sugar Addiction & Nutrition Habits

  • Gut/Brain Disorders

  • Dementia & Caregiver Burnout

  • Exercise & Cognitive Performance

  • Chronic Pain

  • Insomnia & Sleep Issues

  • Smoking Cessation

  • Post/Peripartum Depression & Anxiety

  • Trauma-related Conditions

Treatment Modalities

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBTi)

  • EMDR

  • Family Systems

  • Lifestyle Medicine

  • Mindfulness

My Style

Marble

Did you know that “goodness of fit” (i.e., how well-matched the client and therapist feel) is a huge predictor of success in therapy?

“Good” therapy can mean a lot of different things, but to me it feels most like a meaningful conversation with a trusted friend or someone you’re comfortable with. I try to balance flexibility and structure using a warm yet direct style, while infusing a sense of humor for life’s quirks and ironies.

 

About Me - The Personal Version

Ok, now I'm going to do something that most therapists are told NOT to do...

I'm going to tell you the personal story that led to my passion for Health Psychology. 

It started as a kid--my frequent throat infections, rounds of antibiotics, and stomach issues. My love for sugar and refined carbs (I wouldn't so much as LOOK at a vegetable). I wasn't a sickly kid at all--on the contrary I was strong, healthy, athletic--but when I look back, the signs were there. Signs that my system was out of balance.

Fast forward to my teens and early twenties when I experienced a LOT of stress at the hands of toxic dynamics within friendships and relationships. I had full-blown IBS, all-over puffiness (inflammation), and weight gain. My GI problems were ruling my life and giving me anxiety--anxiety I could feel from the inside out. Then I experienced the scariest symptoms yet...I began having episodes of vision loss and aphasia; I couldn't understand language or speak in full sentences. Though these episodes would only last short periods, they became a consistent reminder that not only was something wrong, but that my health was getting worse.

Brain scans and second opinions yielded nothing and I was told I had "migraines without the headache." I was offered a migraine medication (I said no thank you) and was sent on my way. My symptoms continued until two serendipitous changes happened in my life: the beginning of my career in fitness and the end of a notably toxic relationship. As soon as I began working out, making major changes to my diet, and once I eliminated the single biggest source of stress in my life, my IBS began to disappear. After awhile, I wasn't afraid of food or eating out or how my body might betray me. Most importantly, I no longer felt that deeply anxious, unsettled feeling that would start in my stomach and travel to every corner of my body--a feeling I now recognize as my gut and brain begging me to treat it better.

Life felt better without major GI issues but the stress came back in the form of grad school. I had to move away and lost close access to my support system, family, partner, and the healthy patterns I had been using to cope. I felt very alone. Then I experienced the most difficult thing I had ever been through in my life. New symptoms came flying at me--skin issues, zombie-like fatigue, infections, brain fog and cognitive issues, major mood swings from crawling-out-of-my-skin anxiety to tearful depressed mood, and others. Then, I was lucky enough to stumble upon the best doctor I've ever had--someone who looked at systems and patterns instead of symptoms and pills.

 

She performed a lot of tests and told me that I had developed an autoimmune condition and that I had a significant imbalance in my microbiome (even though I no longer had GI symptoms). She explained why my body had developed this condition and prescribed a number of supportive treatments and lifestyle changes, including an even more significant shift in my diet: no sugar, gluten, or dairy for a solid period of time. I cried on the way home from her office. Gluten foods had always been my most favorite foods.

 

But after I got home, I decided I needed to listen--to my body, to my symptoms, to all of the knowledge I had gleaned from the worlds of fitness and psychology. To the science behind the gut-brain connection.

I began a very (very) clean diet.

I started meditating daily.

I gave my body consistent, ample sleep. 

I listened to my system and balanced restorative workouts with off days when I needed rest.

I devoured everything I could read on guts and brains and the nervous system and trauma.

I managed my stress using tools I had learned from my work in psychology.

And you know what?

Not only did I achieve remission from my primary diagnosis, but every other symptom that I had been experiencing disappeared as well. I no longer have IBS. I no longer have an active autoimmune condition. I no longer lose my vision or my ability to speak. I no longer feel that terrible pang of anxiety from the inside out. I no longer feel like my nervous system is unraveling.

 

I'm scared to think how different my life might be if I had exclusively listened to the first doctor and taken a pill to manage my symptoms. Instead I listened to my body and took the harder road, giving my system the resources it needed to heal.

To be clear, I am not against medications; I believe they are very powerful tools that can be used strategically within comprehensive treatment plans. But they are rarely the standalone solution for restoring health to the most complex living system we know. Even most doctors will tell you that what they really want their patients to do is prioritize a healthier lifestyle.

 

In conclusion, here is what I know: everybody deserves the ability to make truly informed choices about their treatment and their bodies. Everybody deserves the knowledge and the tools they need to heal the physical and emotional pain they experience.

 

That is why I have dedicated my career to health. 

 I know

what it's like to feel betrayed by your body or controlled by your emotions.

I know

what it’s like for your health to make you question everything that you thought was “normal.”

I know

what it’s like to try to make changes only to keep falling off course.