When I graduated high school, I decided to study cosmetology and I became licensed as a cosmetologist. I am not sure why it is that many clients tend to talk about their personal problems with their hairdressers but they do! Well, I found the work boring but the people interesting so I decided to go back to school and pursue social work. I changed to psychology along the way because it was academically more interesting to me and I wanted to do research of my own.
Many of the therapists I most admired had come from the counseling psychology program at USC and because I wanted to be like them, I worked hard to get into that graduate school.
I was so excited when I was accepted and I loved every minute of it. It was a great training program at the time with some truly wonderful professors. They warned us at the beginning, to fasten our seat belts because this was not going to be just book study. They confronted us (students) about who we were and what we were like, every step of the way. I wanted to learn about myself and happen to believe that this is what is required to be a good therapist, so it worked out well for me.
My first job as a therapist was working for the Kaiser Permanente Medical Group. I got lucky there as well. This was a dream job with a great group of colleagues. They taught me so much. I left there after six years because I wanted to pursue doctoral studies and it was impossible to do both.
I was accepted to UCLA, where I would do research with a Professor who is famous for his work in chemical dependency and the prevention of it.
My doctoral studies were completely different from my experience at USC. It was no longer personal and practical, hands on training. UCLA was intellectual and academically challenging but I found it to be the perfect mix for me. Now I would have the best of both worlds and I feel to this day, that this has been the case.
I did my research and ultimately my dissertation, on “Attachment & Loss.” I intuitively believed and continue to find it to be the case, that insecure attachments and [unresolved] losses in our personal histories contribute greatly to emotional problems of all kinds. My research supported this with statistical significance.
I opened my private practice in 1983 and continue with it today. I also spent a number of years teaching psychology classes, most were addiction &/or family counseling classes. If you are interested, see my credentials.
I have had many great mentors and colleagues that I have learned from along the way and I am still learning and “growing,” as they say.
I think I learn the most from my patients and clients. Psychology is a science but it includes a lot of philosophy and it is my opinion, that psychotherapy is an art. No two people are the same. The process involved in all of my services is to some degree a mutual one in that we are always learning and discovering together. I shall stop with a bit of wisdom I acquired from a special mentor long ago: “to be the same with everyone is to be with no one.” I hope this helps to explain why our work is so interesting and meaningful but yet, often so difficult to describe.