Welcome! I am a licensed psychologist in San Diego, CA and maintain active licenses to practice in both California (PSY32934) and Iowa (113234). I received my Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Iowa State University and specialize in couple therapy in my private practice.
I am a practitioner of Emotionally-Focused Couple Therapy (EFT), a highly researched treatment for couple therapy in which 90% of couples significantly improve their relationship, and 70-75% of couples no longer fit criteria for relationship distress following treatment. I completed my Externship and Core Skills training in Emotionally-Focused Couple Therapy through the International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy.
EFT is based on attachment theory, which posits that all human beings have an innate, hardwired need for secure, loving attachment bonds with a significant other. This need follows us from the cradle to the grave, and is transferred from our primary caregivers when we are young to our intimate partners as we become adults.
This attachment bond is no joke: it is akin to our need for oxygen in the air we breathe. We literally need it to survive. It is so important, in fact, that when we sense a threat to our connection, our fight or flight response is automatically activated in our brain and we instinctively move into a protective stance to protest the loss of connection with our partner.
This protest can look like criticizing, demanding, accusing, or yelling on the one hand , or shutting down, numbing out, getting defensive, or pulling away on the other. While these protective “moves” make so much sense in the context of our attachment distress, they unfortunately betray our cause and do not allow us to receive the comfort we so long for from our partner. The real beauty of couple therapy is slowly unearthing the softer, more vulnerable attachment-based fears underlying our protection that are much harder to talk about, such as our fears of rejection, abandonment, inadequacy, or failure. When couples can talk about their pain from a place of vulnerability rather than reactivity, we find that the negative cycle or “dance” they find themselves stuck in transforms into one that promotes love, safety, and secure connection.
I will challenge you to dig deep into tough places and uncomfortable feelings while firmly remaining your ally and supporting you through this process. I am not a “fixer” of relationships, but a fellow human being journeying alongside you as we navigate this immensely complex world of relationships together. It would be my absolute privilege to work with you!
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