PACT Couples Therapist (Level II), Holistic Psychotherapist
Connection. Intimacy. Joy. Wellness.
It is an honor to partner with my clients on their healing journeys and I feel blessed to work with a variety of populations in Washtenaw County/Michigan.
I believe therapy is ultimately about healing. I look forward to supporting you on your healing journey. Together we will search for root causes of distress and explore an interdisciplinary approach to holistic health by learning how to mobilize internal and external resources.
I am a bilingual (Spanish) Licensed Clinical Social Worker. I graduated with a MSW from San Francisco State University in 2001 and immediately began the process of obtaining supervision for licensure in CA. Before completing that process I moved to Ann Arbor, MI and gained clinical licensure in MI in 2007. From 1999 to 2009 my academic and professional focuses have been on International Adoption, Trauma/Attachment, Child Welfare , Feminist Social Justice, Pediatric Medical Social Work and Clinical Psychotherapy. In 2010, my own health issues introduced me to Ayurveda. After western medical doctors could not find the cause of my discomfort, I was referred to and received care from an integrative medical doctor, Paul Dugliss, M.D., who also practiced Ayurveda. Upon learning that the key to health in the Ayurvedic model is a daily meditation practice, I decided to study with Dr. Dugliss and enrolled in his school, New World Ayurveda. I graduated from the Ayurvedic Health Practitioner program in June, 2014 and that fall I began working at WomanSafeHealth, a trauma informed, feminist medical practice where I provided holistic psychotherapy and Ayurvedic consultation. Meanwhile, I continued studying with Dr. Dugliss and graduated from the Ayurvedic Psychology Program in 2015. At that time, I was authorized to teach Heart-Based Meditation.
After coupling and having children, I witnessed many friends, family and community members struggle with their intimate relationships. In my desire to support othes and strengthen my own marriage, I came across PACT and found a home in the approach and the community. I studied with Dr. Stan Tatkin at the PACT Institute in 2018 and became a level II practitioner. As I work with couples, I also continue to work with Dr. Tatkin and my PACT colleagues to deepen my understanding of adult attachment and hot to support couples who whish to create secure functioning relationships. This is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves, our partner and our children.
Additionally, I became aware of somatic approaches to working with trauma and chose to study through the Sensorimotor Pscyhotherapy Institute. I completed level I in early 2020 and integrate those principles and practices into my work with both individuals and couples alsong with parts work which stems out of Internal Family Systems.
My journey with health/nutrition has been long and treacherous and I truly understand the struggles that many of us face with emotional eating, food addictions, body shaming, diet/exercise and behavioral change. I am happy to partner with those desiring more balance and peace in this area. I have participated in Mindfulness-Based Eating Awareness Training (MB-EAT) with Dr. Jean Kristeller and I bring this approach to my work when appropriate.
I currently live with my family in Ann Arbor, MI and offer PACT couples therapy, holistic individual psychotherapy and instruction in Heart-Based Meditation. I practice yoga, meditation, breathwork, energywork and compassionate communication (non-violent communication) on a regular basis. You may even see me around town riding a tandem - the ultimate vehicle for developing a secure functioning relationship!!!
Tools I Bring To Our Sessions:
A Holistic approach to therapy is one that considers all the different aspects of our selves and our lives that impact our experiences. I consider the influence of culture/ethnicity, beliefs/values, historical and current oppression or injustice, body image, feelings/thoughts/needs, identity and orientation, family of origin dynamics, past physical and/or emotional trauma, spirituality/religion, relationships, work, family, environment, etc. Whether or not these areas are the focus of our work together, they inform the path we take.
Additionally, holistic mind-body practices (mindfulness, meditation, Ayurveda, yoga, breath/energy exercises, etc.) can be presented and explored if a client is interested.
This approach allows me to provide support on multiple levels and to partner with you on your journey toward:
1. healing past or current emotional pain/trauma
2. integrating wellness of mind-body-spirit.
3. preparing to better handle future challenges
My approach is client-centered, which means that I guide our work together as we move toward goals that you determine are important in a way that make sense to you.
Heart Based Meditation
The impact of stress on our physical and emotional well-being is enormous. Research has proven that meditation is one of the most effective methods for decreasing stress. Heart-Based Meditation is a simple technique that works in harmony with the nature of your mind and makes meditation easy and effortless. As an authorized instructor (and daily practitioner), I am able to incorporate instruction into sessions for interested clients. Heart Based Meditation helps to reduce stress, increase joy and health.
Ayurveda is an ancient healing wisdom and the primary healthcare system in India. It has been practiced for thousands of years. This system links our health with the biorhythms of the natural world and continues to be extensively practiced and researched around the world for both prevention and treatment of illness/disease. Ayurveda looks outside the western medical system to find the cause(s) of discomfort. Clients who are interested in incorporating Ayurveda into their healing, may benefit from this rich, holistic practice.
Marshall Rosenberg's approach to Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is based on the principles of nonviolence-- the natural state of compassion when no violence is present in the heart. NVC begins by assuming that we are all compassionate by nature and that violent strategies—whether verbal or physical—are learned behaviors taught and supported by the prevailing culture. NVC also assumes that we all share the same, basic human needs, and that each of our actions are a strategy to meet one or more of these needs. People who practice NVC have found greater authenticity in their communication, increased understanding, deepened connection with self and others and improved conflict resolution skills.
NVC can transform violence within us, our relationships, and communities into peaceful understanding. As a student and practitioner of NVC, I bring this resource into our sessions as a tool for deep listening, understanding and connecting.