Areas of Expertise
Parental Identity Discovery™
DNA discoveries are surprise revelations, often from commercial DNA tests, that you have falsified or misattributed parentage, and can come from learning you are donor conceived, late discovery adoptee or a non-paternal event (NPE). After my own NPE discovery in 2014, I pioneered the only mental health treatment protocol dedicated to DNA surprises, called Parental Identity Discovery; a unique, holistic approach to resolve trauma, synthesize identity and adjust to family dynamics.
I moderate an on-going, virtual, worldwide NPE support group via Zoom, third Mondays, monthly - 7:00pm-8:30pm PST
I have extensive experience with EMDR, having trained under founder, Francine Shapiro. I utilize this efficient and effective treatment to address traumas of all sorts, core beliefs resulting in stuck behavior and have cultural competence with first responder communities.
I structure ADHD counseling as a two pronged approach: first, resolve poor self-esteem and core beliefs therapeutically, addressing emotional pain usually stemming from family of origin relationships; and second, shift focus to a coaching format in support of cognitive-behavioral tools for better daily functioning. The result is accountability and well-adjustment.
I favor cognitive-behavioral interventions due to their practical and empirical nature - common sense tools we already know but often misperceive their accessibility. I engage in a strict application of ethics and strive to make the therapeutic relationship engaging by focusing on rapport using humor and empathy.
Throughout my training, I was drawn to family systems models and use genograms (family maps) to learn about a client’s family of origin patterns. I had no idea that this training was setting me up for the work I would later come to pioneer as Parental Identity Discovery™. In fact, one of the very founders of family system’s work, Erik Erikson, was influenced by his DNA story from falsified parentage – an affair.
In 2001 I received a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology from Dominican University of California, and embarked on a doctoral program in 2020. In 2004 I obtained licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist, opening offices in Marin and Napa counties, and expect to receive a PsyD in Human & Organizational Psychology in 2022 from Touro University.