First of all, thank you for taking the time to read through individual bios. That tells me already how much you care about your teenager sitting with someone who is the right fit. Fit is extremely important in counseling. There are many therapists with the right skill set to help your teen’s struggle(s), but your teenager also needs a true connection with the therapist. Therapy is rarely successful when your teen sits with some adult who is unrelatable and has no sense of humor.
Given that, how do we make your teenager feel comfortable? We give your teen as much autonomy as possible in the counseling room. I tell every client, “You aren’t stuck with me. If this isn’t the right fit for you, tell mom or dad and we’ll make sure to get you referrals.” Then we find a point of connection through shared experience or humor. Both of these let your teen know this process is more collaborative and less formal.
Secondly, we work together to set goals. Surprisingly, this process is challenging for teens and parents. Many people know they aren’t feeling right, but they don’t know what “better” looks like. When we accurately define this, it makes it a lot easier to reach “better.” Subsequently, we create a roadmap. Most teens know how to follow a plan including knowing when to celebrate progress along the way.
How is family involved?:
Equally important is how the rest of the family is involved in counseling. I have your son or daughter for one hour per week. You have him or her for the other 167. Because of that, my job is to give you tools to support your teen’s growth. Afterall, your teenager is part of a family. The beautiful thing about a family is that when it is working right, everyone has someone to lean on during challenging times.
So, parents receive homework too. What homework varies as widely as the differences in the clients who sit with me, but the idea is the same. You receive information to understand what your teen is going through, support you as a parent in the emotional pain you experience watching your teen suffer, that give you practical steps to take at home to reduce household stress, and give you direct ways to intervene into your child’s thoughts and behaviors.
Together let’s do whatever it takes for your teenager to tolerate emotional distress and move beyond it. Let’s create a place where your teenager feels valued and deeply cared for in counseling and at home.
Please note, as a Christian, I am comfortable incorporating faith into the counseling process if that is something you and your teen value. To read more about this, you can visit our Christian Therapy page.
Your adolescent’s productivity, purpose, and joy are my priorities. My hope is for them to enjoy their life again. I want them to feel confident in handling whatever situations arise. I want your teen communicating to you when and how they need help along the way. We all work as a team to meet this goal.
Most importantly, I want your teenager feeling empowered. There is always, always a way to make things better. Sometimes that is your teenager learning to effect changes in his or her environment (friends, social setting, getting a job, etc.). At other times, your teenager has to improve his or her locus of control. This means your teenager needs to believe he or she has the ability to improve their outlook through an adjustment in attitude and internal thoughts; your teenager does not see him or herself as a helpless victim.
I love to see the light bulb go on at the moment when a teenager uses coping skills in therapy well enough to understand, “I can choose to have a better life.” Believe me, this isn’t always easy to do. Some teens are up against tremendous odds. Still, there is always hope. Overall, it is my philosophy to help your teenager (and sometimes you) find hope for joy again.
Why Teens Love Working With Me:
They feel comfortable. I think this is because I’m not afraid to self-disclose a few facts if that’s what it takes for your teen to feel understood. The result is they are more open. Teens often tell me they feel safe to be themselves around me, but still feel challenged to grow.
Moreover, we laugh. A well-timed bit of humor breaks up the intensity of painful emotions felt in therapy. I started counseling with teens in 2008. Because of the many years of experience, it’s easier to read when your teenager has pushed hard enough. We take what we call “brain breaks.” These are a change of subject, a few minutes to work on a different goal, a joke, a relevant anecdote, or even a moment to stand up a stretch. Interestingly, even these “brain breaks” become an opportunity to learn an important coping skill. Your teen becomes aware of the importance of processing things in tolerable chunks so that he or she doesn’t become flooded.
Overall, teens enjoy therapy with me because they are challenged to grow at a pace that pushes them but doesn’t overwhelm them.
Why I Love Working With Teens:
We have fun! There are difficult parts of therapy, but we laugh too. Teenagers respond well to a place where they feel understood and can talk freely. I enjoy working with your teen to create that environment.
Also, teenagers are very insightful. They understand a lot of what’s going on. Teens tell me profound truths. All of them work hard when given a bar to reach for. It’s amazing to see how they strive if they know someone believes they can do it. Overall, my favorite part of working with teenagers in counseling happens when they start taking responsibility for what is happening to them. Most teens begin therapy by blaming others for their suffering. While I show empathy for their feelings, we quickly transition to, “What are you going to do about it?” Teens respond very well to this. Without a doubt, the moment your teen recognizes the power to improve things, they turn a corner. This is my favorite moment in counseling with every single client.
I have been working with teens and their families for over a decade in various settings. This ranges from kids released from Juvenile Hall, to family sessions on an adolescent psychiatric ward, to the teen just trying to figure out where they fit. I also taught in the Psychology Department at Vanguard University.
In 2010 I started Teen Therapy OC. Of all the types of clients I worked with, I enjoyed seeing teenagers the most. Their sass, wit, hope for the future, and raw honesty about their pain amazed me. Consequently, I dedicated my career to working with adolescents and families. It was my mission to make sure each client at Teen Therapy OC felt valued and respected, and it still is.
At this point in my career, I don’t always have room for new cases. However, I carefully and prayerfully selected a team a team of caring, no-nonsense therapists whom I trust to take great care of your teen if I don’t have an opening. I passionately care about your child from the moment you first call to the day your child finishes therapy (and even beyond that). The most important thing my years of experience taught me is showing interest and care for the life of an adolescent gives them a lifelong gift. We strive to give that gift to each client we see.
It is my honor to walk with your family and your teenager through whatever it is you are facing.
Vanguard University: Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology
University of Arizona: Bachelor’s Degree is Psychology with Emphasis in Cognitive Neuroscience
I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the state of California: MFT # 49367.