Where is your office?
I am located at 4647 Long Beach Boulevard in Long Beach.
Sherer Park is right across the street, which is important as I love to do walk-and-talk therapy.
Is your office handicap-accessible?
Is parking available?
Do you do telehealth?
How long are your sessions?
Do you take insurance?
Why don't you take my insurance?
This is a really challenging question for me. I believe good mental health care should be accessible to all. I know that insurance is the way most people can have access to it. Sometimes it really hurts to tell people that I can’t take their insurance.
I’ve also been there, paneled with insurance companies, and it’s not pretty for me.
And… I still believe you should not have to be rich to get good treatment. I have a few spots in my practice for a sliding scale. Ask me about this. Don’t let insurance be the obstacle that keeps you from calling.
How do I set up an appointment?
What is your cancellation policy?
Do you work with women? Men? Couples? What age ranges?
What do you actually do in sessions with clients?
The real question is… what do you need in session? I have a broad range of skills, from using handouts to teach specific emotion regulation skills to explore the most fragile part of you that has been buried deep. We will work collaboratively to find the best approach for you, and I want you to speak up about what’s working for you and what’s not.
One thing that makes my work unique is that nature can be an important part of healing, so I like to work outdoors when and if that fits your needs.
Do I have to lie on a couch?
Haha! For many people, the only “inside view” of therapy they see are old, stereotyped images of a client lying on a couch talking and talking (free-associating). At the same time, the therapist sits out of view, taking notes, and says, “Hmmm,” once in a while. That’s a caricature of a form of therapy called “analysis,” which I don’t do.
I will be across from you (sitting upright on comfy couches) or walking with you, and we will interact a lot. I will be asking lots of questions and providing direction. I don’t “analyze” what you say to come up with a succinct explanation of who you are, why you do what you do, and who is to blame for being the way you are. Instead, we collaborate on understanding what you want in life and how to get it.
And if you want to lie down on my couch, you can! There are throw pillows and a blanket which I regularly launder that you are welcome to wrap yourself in and get as comfortable as you want!
Do your clients receive assignments between sessions?
I have some clients that ask for homework, and I am happy to give assignments. I have some clients that shudder at the idea of homework, so I don’t give it.
Whether you have specific assignments or not, I believe it is very important that therapy continues outside the confines of our 50-minute session. If you allow the work to percolate in between sessions, you are more likely to get results. For some people, that percolation looks like journal entries. For some, it looks like talking with a trusted friend about the process. For some, it’s practicing a skill I taught you. I’ll help you find what works best for you.
What modalities do you use?
I have had advanced training in Mindfulness, Internal Family Systems, Ecopsychology, Polyvagal Theory, Trauma-informed Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)*, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
If you see one in there you like – great! If you don’t know what any of those are… don’t worry. We will work collaboratively to find the best approach to meet your needs.
*I no longer provide comprehensive DBT. If that’s what you’re looking for, I can give you some good referrals.
What's your professional training and experience?
I went back to school for a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy in my forties, after a 20-year professional career in education. One of the best things I ever did!
I did a year of training in LGBTQ+ affirmative therapy at the Los Angeles LGBT Center. I went on to be intensively trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy and worked at the DBT Center of the South Bay for over five years.
Now that I am in private practice, my training has not stopped. I am a lifelong learner, and I find great value in being trained in new modalities and learning the latest about psychology and neuroscience. My recent trainings? Ecopsychology, Polyvagal Theory, and Internal Family Systems.
What else does a client need to know to make the most out of working with you?
Most of the things you need to know you learned in kindergarten. To paraphrase a few of Robert Fulgham’s points… Play fair, don’t hit, remember the Golden Rule.
And maybe the most important for therapy… tell the truth and be open to wonder.
I see you talk about mindfulness on your site. The benefits of mindfulness sound great, but who has time to sit and meditate for an hour every day?
There is a difference between mindfulness and meditation. All meditation is mindful, but you can practice mindfulness without having a formal meditation practice. Mindfulness means being wide awake to your life. Mindfulness is the opposite of shutting down, shutting out, numbing to life.
You can practice mindfulness while playing hide and seek with your kid. You can practice mindfulness while enjoying your morning cup of coffee. I’m all in favor of formal meditation practices, but I almost never prescribe them.
Outdoor therapy and Ecopsychology sound interesting, but I'm no tree-hugger. What's it really about?
You can refer to my Services page for more information on Outdoor Therapy. The bottom line is, however, that we are a part of the natural world. When we get separated (or separate ourselves) from the natural world, we are missing something vital to our well-being. Our stress levels go up; our curiosity and resilience often go down.
You don’t have to hug a tree, but it’s good to notice that the tree is there.
What do you like to do when you are not working?
Putter in my garden.
Have coffee and long conversations with my spouse.
Cuddle with Casey, the stray orange tabby who adopted us several years back.
Play with our rescue dog Olaf and give him warm hugs.
Do crafts with natural-found objects or walk in nature with a friend.
Travel… visit my adult kid who lives too far away, in my opinion (but good for them!)
…to name a few things.