Photograph by Robin Ruth

Biography

I remember when I decided to become a psychotherapist. The Los Angeles riots of 1992 had torn the city apart both physically and psychologically and it made me want to become a force for positive change in people’s lives. I had just been through my own period of personal upheaval, having recently come to terms with being gay. My coming out experience taught me how powerful it can be when personal transformation leads to a happier, more genuine life. It became my passion to help people change their lives for the better by living more authentically.

To me, being an effective therapist requires a combination of skill and humanity. The skill develops through good training and lots of practice. I received my training through the USC School of Social Work (MSW, 1995), and through Pacifica Graduate Institute (PhD in Depth Psychotherapy, 2010). Over the past 15 years, I’ve worked in a wide variety of settings with people at all stages of life. I've cared for people with conditions such as depression, anxiety, various forms of addiction, and the emotional challenges of terminal illness. My work as a supervisor and trainer has also helped me clarify my ideas about what makes therapy successful.

Humanity, the other ingredient that makes a therapist effective, is the ability to be grounded, down to earth, practical, and direct with people. At the same time, it is the ability to be warm, caring, and intuitive about what’s happening in another person’s inner world. My clients frequently mention these qualities when they give me feedback about my work. To me, it comes naturally to be with people in this way – it’s who I am as a person.

 

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