I am a licensed psychologist whose research and practice in dance, education, and psychology support my innovative use of the most effective and empirically based treatment strategies.
How I Can Help
From your first appointment, my goal is to help you figure out your current obstacles and how to get past them. I will listen carefully to your concerns, ask a few questions and then try to provide an accurate and compassionate summary of my understanding of your situation. I will offer some treatment options and give you a sense of how we might work together to move forward. I may also refer you to other practitioners or resources that may be useful.
Formal assessment, guided exploration, and therapeutic fun and games may all play a role as I encourage you make the changes you seek. I look for patterns from past problems that can give us good direction towards new options to use now and in the future. I use cognitive-behavioral strategies that are solution-focused to help you move along your path. I may also use EMDR to help you move through past traumas. Because it can be hard for some children and adolescents to use just words, drawing, acting, moving, playing, and imagining may also be used to understand their situation.
Learning to tolerate difficult feelings like anger, sadness, grief, rejection, loneliness is a developmental challenge for some children and hard on their parents, too. Developing compassion and acceptance while learning new skills is an important part of our work in therapy.
Fundamentally, my goal is to develop your unique strengths and minimize your difficulties so you can move forward in your life.
As a child, dance provided the structure and the context for me to channel my energy toward success. Because of this, I have always sought to integrate my work as an artist, educator and psychologist to find creative avenues for others to succeed as well.
I graduated from Ohio State (cum laude) and later returned to complete my BFA in dance performance and my MA in early childhood education. During my studies at Ohio State, I was able to student teach in dance in the Columbus Hearing-Impaired Program, dance in the University Dance Company, assist research in the Brain Behavior Laboratory, and write my thesis on learning style. While I was teaching developmentally delayed young children, I completed additional coursework in special education during my graduate studies. Always dedicated to community service, I volunteered as Assistant Director of Union County Special Olympics (1987-88) and Program Co-coordinator for the Central Ohio Very Special Arts Festival (1985-86).
After I moved to California, I was offered a fellowship to attend UCLA’s Graduate School of Education: Counseling program and was rewarded with the opportunity to pursue multidisciplinary research in end-of-life coping strategies for people with HIV/AIDS.
In 1993, in conjunction with AIDS Services Foundation (ASF), Irvine, I developed a ground-breaking and innovative support group for children who were infected and affected by HIV/AIDS and facilitated that program until 2000. I also led bereavement support groups for children and their families through the VNA Foundation for eight years.
As adjunct faculty member at Chapman University, I taught in the School Psychology and School Counseling Program from 1998 to 2005. I have worked for Orange County Behavioral Health since 1999 providing assessment, treatment, and case management to children and adolescents. I have also taught modern dance and improvisation at The Wooden Floor, (previously known as the Saint Joseph Ballet) in Santa Ana from 2006 to 2010.
I am fluent in Spanish, as my husband, our two children and I, spent two years in living in Buenos Aires, Argentina.