One of the most rewarding feedback I receive from my Clients is that they enjoy learning new things through their treatment process about themselves, those that impact their lives, and how the world has shaped all of us into who we are today. Many of the Clients that connect well with me are the ones who value exploring and discovering knowledge that will empower them and give them the courage to expand beyond their comfort zones. This usually leads them into new directions they only dreamt of or may have never even thought of before. A good portion of my treatment with Clients is psychoeducation which raises awareness and creates new opportunities. This experience provides my Clients with increased focus, confidence, and strength to change their lives forever.
In high school, I wrote a book report on a book titled On Death and Dying - What the dying have to teach doctors, nurses, clergy, and their own families by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. It was a couple of years after my paternal Grandfather passed away and I witnessed my Grandmother and out family going through the grieving process. Through her research, Kubler-Ross discovered that we all go through a pattern of behavior when faced with a loss or potential loss, exhibited by her model of The 5 Stages of Grief. What I took from this book, my life experience, and my experience with my patients is that there is always a pattern that leads us to healing, acceptance, and hope, regardless of how slow or quickly we move through this process.
My approach to therapy is Client-Centered and focuses on customizing a treatment plan that fits a Clients individual and unique needs. This is based on a Clients strengths while strengthening and balancing other areas of a Clients life. After a thorough clinical assessment with a Client, I am able to collaborate with them to assist them in identifying what they want to accomplish by the end of treatment and what they would like to accomplish each day in between sessions. I then determine and recommend the best interventions for the Client and discuss these interventions with them. This allows the Client to choose the best options for themself. These options are then established and agreed upon by both myself and Client as a team in the form of a written Client Treatment Plan (CTP). I review and revise with Client this CTP once every 3 months to determine and measure the impact interventions are having on Clients progress. This is usually the most exciting part of treatment for myself and my Clients because the results are usually positive!
Grief is a reaction to an emotionally significant loss and often comes with symptoms of depression or anxiety. These symptoms can remain intense and last for a long time after a loss, making it difficult to move forward with a healthy lifestyle.
Children that experience parents and/or guardians that are avoidant, ambivalent, or resistant from an early age, may develop attachment issues. This can manifest as difficulty forming or maintaining friendships, romantic relationships and empathetic bonds throughout life, as well as other issues.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is a condition that is precipitated by a perceived terrifying event. This event need not occur directly to the person but may happen vicariously—having seen something terrible happen to another person. The condition may last months or years while symptoms include ruminating thoughts, flashbacks, nightmares, intense anxiety when triggered, and potential substance abuse in attempt to cope.
Trauma is the result of experiencing a perceived, extremely distressful event. Although the stress threshold for each person differs, meaning that each person considers and experiences trauma differently, it is an event that tops one’s threshold. It exceeds one’s ability to cope or emotionally process. Symptoms may include shock, anxiety, confusion, hopelessness, feeling disconnected, mood swings, nightmares, and intrusive thoughts.
Depression often causes people to feel sad, empty, or hopeless, and can cause a lack of interest in life. It can also affect a person's thinking patterns and physical health.
Anxiety can mean nervousness, worry, or self-doubt. Anxiety disorder is a mental health disorder that entails excessive, repeated bouts of worry, anxiety, and/or fear.
Borderline Personality Disorder
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is characterized by persistent instability in relationships, extreme emotional reactions, and chronic fear of abandonment. People with this may also tend to be moody, experiencing a lot of high highs and low lows.
It's normal to experience anger at times, but for some, it becomes so frequent, intense, or difficult to control that it negatively affects their life. Anger management is a structured therapeutic approach toward reducing one’s anger to a point where more appropriate coping and/or conflict management skills are used. Beliefs and thoughts leading toward anger outbursts are explored while healthy coping and interpersonal skills are put into practice.
Child mental health
Children can be impacted by things like anxiety, depression, ADHD and more. However, they can be difficult to identify because kids aren’t always able to communicate effectively. Untreated, child mental health issues can have long-term effects.
Young Adults (18-24)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Strength Based Therapy
Family Systems Therapy
Marriage and Family Therapy
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy
Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)
Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy
Pastoral & Faith Based Counseling
Advocacy Training (including domestic violence and sexual abuse/child molestation) - W.I.S.H. (Women in Safe Homes) - Ketchikan, AK
Exploring the Mask Within: Externalizing Shame Through Drama Therapy - North American Drama Therapy Association, SoCal Chapter NADTA Workshop
Seeking Safety (for Adolescents) - Hillsides - Gabriella Grant
Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children & Youth - Hillsides
Child Sexual Abuse - NCTSN - Hillsides
Mental Health Interventions for Invidiuals with Co-Occuring MH or ID - Hillsides - Dr. Darlene Sweetland - Hillsides
EFT (Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples) - CAMFT San Gabriel Valley Chapter
Separated & Divorced Leadership Training - Office of Family Life Archdiocese of Los Angeles
Triple P - Standard Level 4 (Parenting) Hillsides
Unified Front - Honoring Our Unsung Military Heroes - USC School of Social Work
The Other Invisible Woulds: Sex & the Military Conference - USC School of Social Work
Addressing Challenging Client Situations with Cultural Humility - County of Los Angeles Public Health Substance Abuse Prevention and Control - Pacific Southwest ATTCC
Diversity Training - Hillsides
Introduction to the Assessment and Treatment for Skin-picking and Hair-pulling Disorders
Understanding and Diagnosing Problematic Sexual Behaviors - CAMFT San Gabriel Valley Chapter
Sex & the Military Conference - USC School of Social Work
The Call to Darkness: Managing Suicidality in Clinical Practice - Larry Hedges, PhD, Psyd, ABPP
Evolutions in Trauma Treatment: Emerging Relational and Ecospiritual Pathways to Health and Healing - Dr. Chante' DeLoach - Azusa Pacific University - Voices Conference
Crisis Intervention Training (CORS) - Nancy W. Kirshberg, MSW
Risk Assessment & Crisis Intervention Strategies - Andrew Kurtz, LMFT - UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Programs - ATTC - UCLA
Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)
Adult and Pediatric First Aid CPR AED with Anaphylaxis and Epinephrine Auto-Injector
CA, LMFT, 110956
Masters in Clinical Psychology with Concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy
Bachelors in Psychcology
My journey in psychology started in my junior year in high school when I took my first psychology 101 class. I was hooked. Never had I been so fascinated and absorbed in a subject that it was to remain a lifetime hunger for knowledge and understanding not only of others but of myself. Even when I was a child, my Father, as a business owner, would take me with him to meet with business contacts, reminding me to observe and learn human behavior while he was chatting away. Frankly, as a child, I was usually asking, Daddy, when can we go? I am bored. Little did I know that these experiences of observing and learning from others would catapult me into developing a lifelong skill and curiosity to understand and learn from others while helping them understand themselves and heal. My Mother was and still is the master of balance, faith, and wisdom. With a Bachelors in English and Teaching career before she met my Father, there has always been only one toy my Mother enjoyed and still does today. Books. She is one of the smartest people I know and has never stopped being curious, exploring, and discovering knowledge and sharing it with me. She was so worried that neither of her children would ever share this love with her. Thankfully, this changed and our Mother was able to follow along with me and my siblings as each of us stretched our minds and our possibilities in our higher educations. Every day with my Parents was a field trip and an ongoing adventure of discovery, learning, and growing; even when we were making mistakes. I am so grateful for the foundation and support they have given me. I feel as if they have given me a lifetime guarantee to endless possibilities. Pay it forward, my Mother reminds me. My Parents began this journey for me and I intend to pay it forward every step of the way. I know what it feels like to feel loved, supported, and challenged. In my adolescent years and early twenties, I was a survivor of domestic violence, compelling me to volunteer for the local shelter called W.I.S.H. (Women in Safe Homes), attending to the shelter residents, answering the hotline, and burning the candle at both ends, as my Mother would say, while working full-time at National Bank of Alaska and attending part-time at University of Alaska. I learned what it is like to be a victim and overcome. I learned what it is like to work hard; for those in need, for myself, and as a student. Fast forward to my late twenties when I met and fell in love with a man who had been suffering from PTSD as early as the day he was conceived. For many years, I learned by observing and engaging with my husband how debilitating PTSD and trauma can be and how many people and things are impacted by unresolved trauma. He was a man not part of my culture so I learned a great deal about multicultural diversity. He grew up in a broken home and in a neighborhood where few stayed out past sunset so I learned a great deal about what it is like to be a part of these types of environments. He was a Marine and a Deputy with the Los Angeles Sheriff Department in some of the most challenging areas of the city so I learned what it was like to be a soldier at war overseas, in law enforcement, and a wife of such a brave, cautious, highly skilled, and tormented man. In 2012, I began my graduate studies at Azusa Pacific University to achieve my Masters in Clinical Psychology with a Concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy. It was a second career for me after the economic downturn of 2008 and ending my first career of 17 years in banking due to massive layoffs that swept the country in 2010. I learned what it was like to lose a career and start all over again. This time, alone. My husband was gone, so I learned what it was like to lose a loved one. In 2014, I received not only my Masters in Clinical Psychology but also a University Award for Dedication to Learning. Both my Mother and Father were there to see this day and continue to witness my ongoing exploration in learning about others, meeting them at their crossroads, and joining them in grief and gratitude to eventually set them free. This is my intention. This is my promise. To pay it forward. To stay curious. To stay with you, as your Therapist, confidant, guide, and advocate. Stay Curious, J ~
49 South Baldwin Avenue, Suite D, Sierra Madre, 91024, CA