Approach

I am grounded in mindfulness-informed and acceptance-based behavioral treatments, as well as psychodynamic therapy. I find working with trauma, psychosomatic disorders, sexual issues, and death and loss to be fulfilling and rewarding, while simultaneously challenging.  As with most therapists and coaches, I often work with clients suffering from depression and anxiety, and the bulk of my work deals with these issues through two separate lenses: sex (e.g. sexual functioning, compulsive sexual behaviors, porn addiction, and arousal issues) and psychogenic pain (e.g. TMS, psychosomatic pain, misdiagnosed autoimmune symptoms, etc.).  I have a foundation and solid experience in working with personality disorders, and am trained in dialectical behavior therapy (DBT).  


Background

I have a Masters in Social Work with a focus on mental health from the University of Southern California.  I spent a year working at a Skid Row outpatient center, working with people coming directly from prison, simultaneously suffering from a substance abuse addiction and a mental illness.  I spent six years volunteering and training at the Suicide Prevention Center, and a year in a college counseling center.  I spent two years at a DBT clinic, working with borderline personality disorder and PTSD. I am currently working at the Pain Psychology Center, where I receive intensive training in the treatment of chronic pain, and Psychotherapy Works., where I receive intensive training in sex therapy and sex addiction treatment. I completed the Sex Therapy training program at the Center for Healthy Sex, and regularly attend lectures with the Los Angeles Sexological Association.  When working with sex therapy cases, I am sex-positive and kink-friendly, and in general my approach is to create a non-judgmental atmosphere. 

Outside of the therapy room, I worked in law firms for six years as a paralegal, and have five years of experience teaching and operating in language schools in Southern California, Japan, and Spain.  I have traveled to thirty countries, performed in bands as both a drummer and bass player, and am an avid reader, writer, college football and hockey fan. 

 
 

Some clients require very tangible skills to face life's challenges, and may prefer very structured sessions involving weekly homework and a disciplined regiment of exercises.  Others may prefer to explore difficult emotions and navigate the depths of their subconscious mind and childhoods to understand obstacles to change.  Regardless of the nature of our work, I am operating under the assumption that somewhere inside of you the ability to heal exists, and together we will determine the best treatment plan for you.


Registered Associated Clinical Social Worker

BBS Associated Social Worker #36227

Under the supervision and license of Dr. Suzanne Pelka, MFC #48129