I’m a psychotherapist in private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area.
I also teach, provide consultation and supervision at community mental health agencies, facilitate groups and circles, and do whatever else I can to increase wellness and reduce harm.
I would not be here today, doing this, if it wasn’t for the many brilliant and generous teachers from whom I learned everything I know. To all of you, living and ancestral, thank you.
I’m a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who started by working as an HIV Test Counselor at Glide Health Services, and have been working in community health ever since.
These days, one way I continue to stay involved and connected with community health is in my teaching work in the City College of San Francisco Health Education Department. I’ve taught in a variety of programs including the Graduate Psychology Program at Holy Names University and the California Institute of Integral Studies’ Integral Transpersonal Psychology Program.
My most formative training was during the ten years I was lucky to work at the Harm Reduction Therapy Center (aka the Center for Harm Reduction Therapy), first as an intern, then as a staff psychotherapist and community programs coordinator.
Working at HRTC, I engaged in individual and group psychotherapy with people with unresolved substance use issues, in low-threshold community mental health settings and in private practice, and provided training and clinical consultation for staff at a variety of community-based organizations (for instance, Hospitality House). I also worked with children and families in schools and family service agencies, with adults navigating the criminal justice system at a jail diversion program, and with opiate users accessing opiate replacement treatment. I was a therapist in the Office-Based Opiate Treatment (OBOT) Program, run by Community Behavioral Health Services at the San Francisco Department of Public Health, during the program’s inception as a pilot study in 2003 to 2005, and after its transition to a permanent program from 2007 to 2015.*
Since then, I’ve been teaching at City College of San Francisco**, and conducting clinical supervision and consultation with people becoming licensed therapists, social workers, professional counselors, and community health workers. I’ve also been coordinating and implementing DPH-funded mental health grant programs, and working with staff teams at social service agencies.
Some agencies I’ve been working with recently include:
Episcopal Community Services, where I provide training, support, and consultation to people working as staff and managers in the Supportive Housing Program
Sage Health (“Making Psychedelic Assisted Therapy & Training Accessible”), where I’ve been training in Ketamine-Assisted Therapy, and am now also working in clinical supervision with psychotherapy interns training in Ketamine-Assisted Therapy
SF Family Treatment Court and Homeless Prenatal Program as part of their collaborative work providing “highly coordinated, family focused, and trauma informed care to parents and children that will result in fewer children entering foster care and more families experiencing long-term reunification”– and I do my best to support their work with behavioral health issues via clinical consultation and direct staff support.
Agencies I’ve worked with in the past include:
St. James’ Infirmary, a peer-based occupational health and safety clinic for sex workers of all genders (my position at St. James was cut/combined into the program director’s job, so they now do the clinical supervision, but every so often I get to substitute when they go on break 🙂
The Gubbio Project, which provides safe daytime sleeping environments in churches for people who are without housing
Maitri Compassionate Care, which provides transitional and end of life care for people with HIV
Please see my resume for a more complete list of the agencies I’ve worked with.
My background is in harm reduction, social justice, transpersonal/integral, somatic, and group psychology, music, and hospice spiritual care, and I like to incorporate dreams, drumming, activism, and ritual in personal and professional practice.
In general, I try to walk through life doing whatever I can to increase wellness and reduce harm. I am devoted to being kind while having clear boundaries, to becoming more present wherever I am, to avoiding doing harm and helping to increase benefit, and to cultivating fairness and equity. For as long as I can remember, challenging oppression and working for social justice have been part of my life and (once more grown) my work.
On my Resume page you can read more about my specific interests and work. Thanks for reading!
*I couldn’t express enough gratitude to Jeannie Little, LCSW and Patt Denning, PhD for their incredible training and mentoring over those many years. They work tirelessly to make sure therapists they train are clinically smart, culturally humble, compassionate, and professionally mature. I aspire to these ideals and owe so much of the progress I’ve made toward achieving them to Patt and Jeannie.
**I also couldn’t express enough gratitude to Dr. Sal Nunez for his guidance, mentoring, and care over the last many years, helping me to make it into teaching by being such a compassionate, consistent, kind teacher and taking time and energy to teach me. I will always be grateful.
***While we’re on CCSF shout outs, Tandy and Craig! Alma and Eric! Edith Guillen-Nunez! Andrew, Tim, and Terri! Lisa and Alex and Shannon for teaching me how to teach online (giving it their best shot)… Katie Cugno for teaching me so much about teaching…
****And shout outs to such great colleagues Cynthia Hoffman! And Perri Franskoviak! And Maurice Byrd! David and Paul at Maitri! Susan Canavan! Simbwala Schultz! Joe Wilson! Laura Slattery! Christina Alvarez! Davetta Jackson! Jenn Fernandez! Gerardo Ramos! Richard Rendon! Tess Gurrey! Wendy Williams! Deb Lyman!
*****Super special gratitude to Maria Chavez, for asking me if I would want to learn to teach, and then teaching me how to teach, and Laura Guzman, my first mentor in harm reduction training and motivational interviewing. You saw something in me and helped me learn to fish, which ended up feeding me and my kids to this day. THANK YOU.
*******The way of harmonizing energy, known by its Japanese name aikido, and brought to fellow humans by O Sensei, Morihei Ueshiba, forever changed my life for the better. For many years, I was fortunate to study it with Tom Gambel Sensei and Linda Martin Sempai at East Bay Aikido.
********And to all the other teachers and guides, students, clients, agency staff, group members, colleagues, thank you. (Please let me know if I should include you and apologies if I didn’t yet!)