A brief introduction to who I am and what I do
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Our sense of identity provides the foundation for who we are and how we interact with others. However, what happens when we do not have the opportunity to examine ourselves and we experience difficulty with answering the question, “Who am I at my core?” And in particular, “Who am I regardless of what everyone else is trying to tell me that I am?”
It can be difficult to stay true to ourselves while also wanting to fit in and conform to family and societal expectations. Children and teens strive to find a sense of belonging, be accepted and loved by their peers and family. Oftentimes, this may mean hiding certain parts of themselves in order to not be rejected. As an adult, you may have worn different masks in an attempt to fit in. Perhaps you are starting to question who you truly are without the various masks. Or maybe you have reached a point where you are tired of wearing a mask but are afraid what would happen if you took it off?
This is where I come in. Through a combination of education, training and personal life experiences; I serve as a compassionate, empathic and collaborative guide for you and your family as we unravel the messages we have received from society, culture and our families about who we should be, how we should act and what we can do.
My specialties include the intersections of gender (cisgender, trans*, transgender, gender non-binary, agender, your own gender), culture (racial, ethnic, familial, religious) and language (not just limited to English, Spanish and Vietnamese but the language and vocabulary that we use speak to ourselves) and the impact of these potentially conflicting layers on our mental health and emotional well-being.
I have extensive experience working with empowering children, adolescents, young adults and families to better understand their struggles, increase resiliency and develop positive coping strategies. My training includes an undergraduate degree in Psychology and Spanish from UCLA, Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.) from the University of Denver, a two year post-doctoral fellowship at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) in the Department of Adolescent Medicine, and board certification (ABPP) in Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. I am trained in evidence based practices and will create an individualized treatment plan that is unique to you and your family’s needs.
I am licensed by the Board of Psychology in California, board certified by the American Board of Professional Psychology, and a member of the following professional organizations: San Diego Psychological Association (SDPA), American Psychological Association (APA) , World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) and United States Professional Association for Transgender Health (USPATH).
It can be scary to reach out. But as a professional, I strive to answer your questions and will provide you with referrals if I believe there are other providers who will be a better fit for you due to their expertise and your needs.
Please know you are not alone and there are resources for you and your family.