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 (DCP), late discovery adoptee (LDA) or a non-paternal event (NPE), collectively referred to as misattributed parentage experiences (MPE). After my own MPE 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.
In addition to individual or family sessions, I moderate an on-going, virtual, worldwide MPE support group via Zoom, every third Wednesday, 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 an integrative approach combining elements of cognitive-behavioral, attachment, family systems and solutions-focused theories, combining deep psychological work with practical interventions based in evidenced-based practice. I am an ally to clients coming as they are, inclusive of all demographics, cultures, races/ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, genders etc., to focus on making the therapeutic relationship engaging by focusing on rapport using humor and empathy.
Throughout my training, I was drawn to family systems models in particular 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 modern psychotherapy, 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 CA, and in 2004 obtained licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist and later Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, opening offices in Marin and Napa counties.
I embarked on a doctoral program at Touro University Worldwide in 2020 and expect to receive a PsyD in Human & Organizational Psychology in Fall 2022.
I currently serve as a full time Adjunct Professor at Dominican University of CA, Counseling Psychology graduate program.