I was raised in the California Bay Area and currently reside in the western suburbs of Chicago. I obtained my undergraduate degree in Psychology with a minor in Health Sciences from the University of Arizona and my doctorate from Wright State University School of Professional Psychology. I completed my postdoctoral Residency in Clinical Psychology (Geriatrics) at the Louis Stokes Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center. My own experience with chronic pain issues starting in adolescence led to my interests in pain management and the study of alternative treatment approaches. My efforts have consistently been to empower others through education and experience to reach goals, overcome obstacles/ challenges, and increase their perceived options. Prior to graduate school I worked with the Contra Costa County health department Teen-Age Program in California. Through partnerships with county high schools and county clinics I promoted education and opportunities for maintaining health on a variety of levels (conflict resolution, substance use, sexual health, domestic violence etc.). I later developed a Contra Costa County program that trained and employed students to provide presentations to their peers throughout the county.
Areas of Clinical Focus
My interests include empowering individuals, couples, and groups to obtain emotional wellness and fulfillment by improving their communication, managing stress, and adopting healthy behaviors. My specialty training in Health and Geriatrics encompass issues related to transition, coping with Illness, and other health issues in aging. The role of the caregiver is often overlooked, as shifts in relationship dynamics added to care needs can be difficult if not overwhelming when caring for loved ones.
My approach to treatment is not only to relieve the symptoms and clinical presentation of one’s dis-ease, but to promote the search for fulfillment in life and the embodiment of joy – not just the absence of emotional instability. My extensive experience in the health setting and working with individuals later, and at the end of their lives led to my positive psychology treatment approach, which embraces positive emotion, engagement, relationships, finding meaning and purpose, and accomplishment.
I use a variety of approaches in my work to tailor the intervention to the needs of the individual. I use motivational interviewing, behavioral modification, Psychodynamic Therapy, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, brief solution-focused therapy, and mindfulness techniques. When needed, testing is incorporated with treatment, and assessments are made in the areas of mood, personality, and cognitive functioning. Areas of practice include the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders, disability, chronic pain, chronic illness, grief and loss, and the evaluation and management of neurocognitive (memory and thinking) changes.