top of page

My Areas of Expertise

Previously labeled "troubled teens"

I specialize in working with teens and adults who were previously labeled as "troubled teens." This includes, but is not limited to, those subjected and sent to various programs within the Troubled Teen Industry (TTI). As a former "troubled teen," I have seen and experienced how that has played out in my adult life, my relationships, and others perceptions of me as well as mine of myself. That is a hard burden to carry. Through a compassionate and trauma-informed lens I wish to help you work through that and see yourself more fully and authentically.

Trauma

Trauma can fracture who you are as a person and make you feel unlike yourself, distant from others, and hopeless. The impacts of trauma are far-reaching, and the responses to trauma take on many forms, all of which served a protective purpose at one point. I welcome a dialogue to explore those protective factors and the ways they helped, help, and impede your current functioning and well-being so you can be more present and fulfilled in your life.

Grief and Loss

Grief and loss can feel seismic in our lives. It can make us feel upside down: one minute feeling deep and paralyzing sadness, then another minute feeling anger or numbness. These giant shifts can feel confusing, overwhelming, even insurmountable, and often accompany shame for the process leading to isolation. Support is an important factor in moving through grief. I work to create room for grief, processing, and remembering, in order to help make sense of your loss so that you can rebuild yourself around the loss you've suffered.

Not feeling like yourself?

Feeling overwhelmed and anxious? Or low and less motivated than typical? I work collaboratively with you, listening intently and trusting your expertise on your life, to help increase awareness about the problem you're having to equip you with the internal resources that you need to thrive.

About Me

For as long as I can remember I have had a passion for understanding human relationships, social interactions, and thought processes; literally — I was a member of the Conflict Resolution Team in elementary school! I have worked hard to hone those interests into skills and love working with individuals and children with their families with an array of difficulties to assist them through their therapeutic journey, no matter how difficult.

 

I have over nine years of experience working with a variety of clientele ranging from Austistic children and neurodivergent folx, court-mandated adults with domestic violence and substance related issues, the homeless population in Long Beach, and clients seeking help in private practice. I hope to help clients gain awareness in order to increase coping skills, help them better understand themselves, and grow their capacity for self-compassion. I also work as a team with my dog Jenga, who is now a retired registered therapy dog, to instill hope and reignite joy in the life of my clients, should you choose to want him in session.

I received my B.A. in Psychology, and a minor in History with an emphasis in Race Relations from University of California, Davis. I received my M.A. in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from Pepperdine University and have loved almost every minute of my educational process. I love to learn and work to understand how things and people work. I am trained in: psychodynamic therapy, solution-focused therapy, narrative therapy, person-centered therapy, and behavioral modification.

VRD Headshot 11_30_21 full copy.JPG
My Approach
J front S blurry back - name blocked.jpg

About Jenga and Sunny

Meet Jenga and Sunny.

 

Jenga is my six year old Canine Good Citizen and retired Registered Therapy Dog with a Complex Qualification Rating. Jenga is calm, gentle, lovable, and goofy. Research has shown that therapy with animals can have a calming effect, provide comfort, reduce anxiety, and decrease loneliness.

Prior to COVID-19 Jenga used to come with me into a physical office during therapy sessions, working with clients as young as 2 years old. He is a calming presence and, although he is now retired, occasionally makes appearances in session, especially when requested.

Previously registered with Pet Partners: ID 853830

Sunny is Jenga's younger, goofier brother. Sunny is two-and-a-half and has not yet trained and registered as a Therapy Dog like Jenga, but is preparing for his Canine Good Citizen examination. He also gets excited to join session, should you welcome and/or request his presence.

bottom of page