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About Me

I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) based in Oakland, CA. I received my master's degree from the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) in San Francisco in the Expressive Arts Therapy program. I worked in community mental health conducting individual and group therapy with elementary-aged children for four years. I worked for two years conducting individual therapy with teens and family therapy with teens and parents, as well as parent support. I am certified in Multi-Dimensional Family Therapy. I started my private practice in the Fall of 2020, working mostly with adults.

I identify as cis-gendered and bi-racial (Chicana and white). I am open and loving of all differences. I have a life-long commitment to social justice, equity, and undoing racism, and I work towards cultural humility and sensitivity. I have been on my own recovery journey for years, which has led to choosing what issues I specialize in. I believe that being a therapist with a lived experience of mental health recovery is powerful, especially because my own suffering and healing can benefit others. I have also experienced the power of the arts, both experiencing personal healing and transformation and utilizing the arts to make social change.

My Approach

I provide authenticity, connection, attunement, and joy. I work to build a therapeutic alliance because the therapeutic relationship can be healing in of itself. I create a safe space for clients to express and explore themselves, using compassion, validation, empathy, and curiosity, free from judgment. I am trauma-informed and strength-based, approaching clients with questions like "what happened to you" vs. "what's wrong with you." I celebrate people’s resilience by highlighting wisdom and strengths. I offer additional perspectives, insights, psycho education, and strategies. I support people in exploring and navigating relationships with others, including creation and implementation of healthy boundaries, connection, and intimacy. I help clients overcome their challenges by collaborating together on tools to calm, ground, and regulate the mind and body.

I utilize a combination of therapeutic approaches and theories, including expressive arts therapy, narrative therapy, somatics, mindfulness, relational cultural, psychodynamic, humanistic, play, liberation psychology, systems theory, the recovery model, trauma-focused CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and attachment-based theories.

Expressive arts therapy is using creativity and a variety of art modalities (visual art, music, movement, drama, etc.) to heal and grow. Expressive arts therapy can provide safe, fun, and creative ways to explore and express ourselves, which can be difficult using only talk.  Expressive arts therapy also allows us to access our inner wisdom and our subconscious mind. I am an expressive arts therapist because I know its power in healing people and making personal and social change.  The arts engage our imagination, which is necessary for making social change, as well as resolving conflicts because it opens up possibilities. No prior experience in the arts is required, and we don't have to use the arts in therapy. I cater to your individual needs.

While individual therapy can be powerful, I also encourage folks to join groups and build community, because connection is healing. Please see my resources page for ideas.

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Qualifications

Education and Training

Master’s in Counseling Psychology, Expressive Arts Therapy, California Institute of Integral Studies 2016

Master of Music (viola), University of New Mexico 2006

Bachelor of Music Education, Loyola University New Orleans, LA 2002

Bay Area Community Resources MFT traineeship, Richmond, CA 2015/2016

Music, Rhythm, and Movement facilitator trainings in Santa Cruz, CA (100 hours) 2010-2013

Facilitative Leadership training with Interaction Institute for Social Change (30 hours) 2012

 

Professional Experience

Lincoln MDFT (Multi Dimensional Family Therapy), Bilingual Clinician, Oakland, CA 2019-present

Ann Martin Center, Team Lead Clinician, Oakland, CA 2018/2019

Seneca Family of Agencies, Bilingual Outpatient Therapist, Oakland, CA 2016-2018

Living Arts Playback Theatre Ensemble, Production Coordinator, Bay Area CA 2014-2016

Bay Area Environmental Health Collaborative (BAEHC), Program Coordinator, Bay Area CA 2010-2013

SouthWest Organizing Project (SWOP), Arts and Culture organizer, Albuquerque, NM 2004-2009

Rio Grande High School and Polk Middle School, Orchestra Director, Albuquerque, NM 2002-2008

Involvement & Memberships

International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation 2020-present

California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists 2020-present

Oakland Healing Clinic Collective, volunteer, Oakland, CA 2015-present

La Peña Cultural Center, Berkeley, CA 2010-2016

Women of Color Coaching Circle, member, Oakland, CA (monthly) 2012-2015