I have been a licensed clinical social worker in the state of California, specializing in individual and relationship therapy, since 1983 (LCSW #L10609. Click here to verify my license status). I received my masters (1977) and my doctorate (1983) in Social Welfare from the University of California at Berkeley. I also have a certificate (#45) in telehealth from Florida that allows me to do online therapy with Florida residents only. I only work online in California and Florida.
I describe my style as informal but professional. I am not a blank screen therapist. I have learned that while the primary focus of therapy is on your needs, that my most successful work is when I bring my full self to the work. There’s a place for humor, for tears, for reflections on current political events. As a musician, I have a special fondness for bringing music into therapy as I believe music is a special language of its own. So feel free to bring your instrument, or to sing a song.
As a professional, I adhere to the ethical guidelines of the National Association of Social Workers and the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. I have learned how to adopt these guidelines to meet the unique challenges of people who live in rural and small communities.
My approach in individual therapy is individualized to meet your specific needs. I will spend 5-10 minutes on the phone with you first to see if it makes sense for us to set up an appointment. If it isn’t, I will help you find another therapist. After our intake session, we’ll check in to see how we feel about working together. While I am a great therapist for many people, I am not for everyone.
Together I will help you identify the issues you want to work on and the possible approaches we might take. I am trained in a variety of approaches and do not do cookie cutter therapy. Some of these approaches include psychodynamic, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), solution-focused, and the problem-solving approach.
I am strongly influenced by humanistic, feminist, and existential approaches.
I am a Sex-Positive therapist and am comfortable working with people of all genders and sexual orientations and relationship and sexual configurations, including open relationships, sex workers and kink.
While I believe that some people can benefit from 12 step programs, I am more comfortable with harm reduction approaches. I prefer to use language that steers away from labeling people. For example, instead of alcoholism or sex addiction, I talk about using substances in ways that aren’t good for you.
I believe that it is critical that our work take into account how your various identities, such as racial, ethnic, social class, and disability impact upon your life.
I am strengths-oriented.
I will check in with you frequently to make sure therapy is working for you.
Most of the work I do with couples is influenced by the approach of John and Julie Gottman. I have done Levels I and II of Gottman training. This approach is one of the few evidence-based couples therapy. While it involves a longer assessment process, the overall length of therapy is usually shorter.
Please see my resume for more information about my education and experience.