I am a Clinical Psychologist ( License # PSY 24668) specializing in child, adolescent, adult, and family therapy. I maintain a private clinical psychology practice in San Diego, California. In addition to maintaining a private psychology practice, I also provide psychological services and evaluation in third party family building. I provide psychological evaluation for gestational carrier surrogates, gamete (egg / sperm) donors as well as consultation for intended parents (IPs) who require assistance of third parties to help create their families. I am originally from the Boston, Massachusetts area. I am a graduate of Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts with a B.A. in Sociology.
I humbly began my career in mental health upon graduation from Boston College when I began work at Harvard University Medical School's renowned teaching facility: McLean-Franciscan child and adolescent psychiatric hospital. As a mental health specialist, I helped facilitate the creation of a highly specialized residential school for children diagnosed with Autism. While there I utilized applied behavioral analysis (ABA). At this time I also worked at the McLean-Franciscan psychiatric inpatient acute care unit for children and adolescents where I quickly settled into the specialty of acute psychiatric care. It was here that I found my passion and creativity in helping others affected by mental illness.
While at the McLean-Franciscan child and adolescent inpatient unit, I facilitated several groups ranging in ages from latency to adolescents. Group topics ranged from psychodrama to social skills development. In addition, I also helped facilitate individual and family therapy along with a multifaceted team of practitioners including: Social Workers, Psychiatrists and Registered Nurses. While continuing to serve as a mental health specialist in the acute care inpatient psychiatric unit, I was selected by the chief Psychiatrist to serve as the intake coordinator of the inpatient unit at McLean-Franciscan where I fielded calls from local emergency rooms, crisis centers and triaged patient care.
Upon completing my tenure at McLean-Franciscan, I decided to further my education in the mental health field and relocated to San Diego, California to attend the California School of Professional Psychology (CSPP) at Alliant International University (AIU). I earned my Psy.D. (Doctor of Psychology) in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in child, adolescent and family therapy. While at CSPP I gained clinical experience at Sharp Memorial Hospital's chronic pain rehabilitation unit. There I provided bio-feedback, self-hypnosis, medication management, as well as psycho-educational groups with chronic pain patients.
As a counselor at Springall Academy, a public school for children with special needs, I provided individual psychotherapy, group psychotherapy, and crisis intervention to children and adolescents diagnosed with mood disorders, learning disabilities, behavior problems, and autism.
Upon completion of my work at Springall Academy I signed on at Aurora Behavioral Healthcare, a private psychiatric hospital serving children, adolescents, adults, and geriatrics with a wide range of acute mental health disorders and addictions. At Aurora, I provided short-term inpatient psychotherapy, long-term outpatient psychotherapy, group psychotherapy, as well as performed psychological evaluations.
In addition to my aforementioned experience, I also completed two post-doctoral residency trainings. My first post-doctoral residency included experience at New Alternatives, a level 14 residential treatment facility specializing in severely emotionally disturbed adolescents. There I was responsible for providing mental health and case management services, individual therapy to adolescents, family therapy, facilitated psycho-specialty, psycho-educational, and psychodynamic groups. I developed and implemented treatment plans, provided case management services and collaborated with a multitude of systems including: school, court, CASA’s, HHSA, Regional Center, CPS, juvenile hall, psychiatric hospitals, lower level placements, and transitional youth services.
Also, as part of my post-doctoral residency training, I worked at Psychiatric Centers at San Diego's Child and Adolescent Center (PCSD). During my residency at PCSD, I conducted therapy with children and adolescents ranging in ages 4-18 as well as adults. In addition to seeing individual patients, I was trained in administering ADHD as well as Autism testing. I further developed and implemented several specialty groups ranging from social skills groups for children and adolescent on the Autism spectrum, to adolescent interpersonal process groups, as well as an emotional fitness group for teenagers with severe and persistent self-harm behaviors.
My studies have focused on chronic mental illness as well as child, adolescent, family and adult mental health. My clinical research investigated children's experiences of their parent coming out as gay during heterosexual marriage. In addition to being a prominent cognitive-behavioral, solutions focused, interpersonal therapist, I have presented at Aurora Hospital speaking on the topic of diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorders using psychological measures. I continue to develop group-based therapies in the areas of childhood development and mental health.
Along with maintaining a clinical psychology practice, I have developed an additional area of clinical expertise in the area of reproductive sciences. Specifically, in third party family building. In keeping with my family & child focused clinical background, my interest in providing psychological services in third party family building was a pathway and bridge to help additional individuals and families thrive. Driven by personal experiences, as well as a professional passion, my area of expertise began to grow. To sharpen my clinical skills in helping families prepare for IVF, gestational surrogacy, gamete donation, or possible disclosure to any resulting children or family from this process, I began to seek education and mentorship from well experienced professionals. I attended and frequently do attend educational conferences, seek professional consultation, as well as meet with and be mentored by leading experts in the field of third party assisted reproduction. I joined the MHPG (Mental Health Professional Group) of the ASRM (American Society of Reproductive Medicine) where I keep up to date on new methodologies as well as techniques. I regularly meet with and provide psychological evaluations to gestational carrier surrogates who are willing to carry a child for a couple or individual who requires their assistance. In addition to surrogacy evaluations, I also provide evaluation to gamete (egg / sperm) donors and consultations to intended parents (IPs), who require assistance from a third party to create or grow their families. Building on and drawing from personal experiences with surrogacy and gamete donation, along with clinical knowledge and training, I help provide structure, guidance, evaluation, effective communication, as well as create and discuss a realistic expectation for a cohesive surrogacy or donation journey.
My therapeutic approach is to provide support and practical feedback to help clients effectively address personal life challenges. I integrate complementary methodologies and techniques to offer a highly personalized approach tailored to each client. While working with young children I emphasize behavior modification therapy, which often bridges the gap from child to parent. With compassion and understanding, I work with each individual to help them build on their strengths and attain the personal growth they are committed to accomplishing.