My interest in psychology developed through my undergraduate studies in philosophy at the University of San Diego, where the psychoanalytic concepts of the ego, id, and superego helped me understand and navigate my inner world’s complexities. During a semester abroad in Australia, I became fascinated with Zen Buddhism and meditation, and my inquiry led me to investigate connections between Buddhism and Carl Jung’s notion of individuation, the process of becoming whole. These notions formed the foundation for an ongoing search for authenticity and self-actualization, which I believe are essential pillars of mental health.
Since then, my path to becoming a therapist has been anything but straightforward. I have worked as a High School English teacher, a tutor for students from Iraq and Saudi Arabia, a writing teacher in a county jail, a farmhand, and a personal trainer. It was my work as a freelance writer, however, that led me to enroll in Naropa University’s Mindfulness-Based Transpersonal Counseling program in 2019, for my writing led me to learn about psychedelic-assisted therapy, through which a new passion was born.
I see writing and therapy as similar processes: both are founded upon curiosity and inquiry into the unknown. Likewise, both are restricted by excess focus on the mind and what we “know” to be true. In both writing and therapy, turning toward what we fear opens the gateway for discovering new possibilities for ourselves. In the words of Joseph Campbell, “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.”
I believe that mental health correlates with participation in life’s possibilities. Beneath the myriad pressures of modern society, the pain of our pasts, and the sociopolitical factors restricting our authenticity, our sense of possibility can become dimmed. Over time, this restricts our energy and passion, which can become so far removed that we no longer believe we are capable of feeling alive and well again. I aim to help clients not only remember those possibilities, but feel them deep within themselves.
As a therapist, I take an “inner-directed approach” in which the client is recognized as holding the key to their own healing. It is my job as a therapist to understand and empathize with your experience, pointing out patterns that may be unrecognized and empowering you to improve the conditions of your inner and outer life. Whether that involves lessening the impact of your inner critic, uncovering the roots of your trauma, or changing a pesky habit, I aim to facilitate a safe and trustworthy space to support your healing process. I have primarily worked with adolescents and adults struggling with depression, anxiety, addiction, PTSD, anger, lack of purpose, low self-esteem, and psychedelic integration, but I am open to working with anyone who feels drawn to my approach.
I have completed a Level 1 training in Internal Family Systems therapy, a non-pathologizing model that enhances self-compassion and self-regulation skills to facilitate a broader understanding of why we act, think, and feel the way we do. I incorporate mindfulness skills and awareness of the body, for I believe the tension our body holds can be gateways into unconscious patterns and limiting beliefs. In the spirit of Jung, I am a firm believer in the imagination’s role in our healing, and I help clients gain insights from the images of their dreams and waking visualizations.
I have found that these approaches align well with ketamine-assisted therapy, for which I received training through PRATI in 2020. I have also been trained in MDMA-assisted therapy through MAPS, and I hope to offer that modality if/when it receives FDA approval. While I am passionate about psychedelic-assisted therapy, I do not believe psychedelics are essential for healing, and I am equally enthused to offer non-psychedelic therapy.
Outside of therapy, I continue to work as a writer and educator. My favorite ways to unwind are playing board games with my partner, watching and analyzing films and TV shows, taking road trips, strumming my guitar, going to concerts, reading, and lifting weights, with the occasional night of enthusiastic dancing with friends. I am thrilled at the opportunity to work with the wonderful people of Wholeness Center, and I would be thrilled to support your navigation of this complex journey through life.