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It's important for you to know my background and experience, and here it is...
In the Trenches
I know and have seen the difficulties families have today with taking care of their children, themselves, spouses, and perhaps working outside the home too. In my years as a Clinical Social Worker, I have witnessed the struggle children have had connecting at school with peers or managing their schoolwork and home life. I have worked with teens who have had significant emotional problems and helped them find ways to manage their extreme emotions. I have heard the frustration that parents have with their child/teen’s behavior and struggle to find ways that work with them. I have helped children find new “tools” for coping with their lives, and I have witnessed families re-connect after a crisis or specific struggle they have gone through together.
I have had the opportunity and privilege to counsel many children, teens and families from all backgrounds, with a variety of problems and concerns. Some of my past and current clients have said that I am “nurturing yet direct”, “approachable”, “down-to-earth”, and have a “compassionate and creative approach”.
As a graduate student in Social Work and gathering experience in many social service agencies and outpatient clinics, I developed a passion for working with children, teens and families. I love and value the possibility of change with children, and the challenge of working with teens.
In my earlier years in private practice I had the opportunity to take a 10 day Vipassana meditation retreat. I fondly think of this retreat as “meditation boot camp” simply because of intense immersion into meditation and how I spent those 10 days there; up at 4am, in complete silence, in the cold, dry desert, but in the company of several hundred people. It was the most eye-opening (even though I had my eyes closed most of those days) experience I have ever had! I came away from that retreat with incredible calmness, openess to my life, and equanimity, and I knew that this way of seeing –actually this way of being in the world was what I wanted to integrate into my life and work from that moment onward.
As my son went through his preschool years and heading into kindergarten I experienced a difficult divorce from my son’s father that provided me the opportunity (and a challenge) to re-focus on what I value most in life and to reconnect to my son and to myself. Through that year I learned more about resiliency, building positivity and gratitude into our daily life, and I developed a renewed compassion for parenting, especially being a solo-parent. I learned the importance of self-care, authenticity and staying grounded in what I knew was best for me and for my son.
After my divorce I re-focused on finding new ways to work with individuals and parents by learning and developing coaching skills and enrolled in a Positive Psychology Coaching Certification Program and completed coursework as a Certified Competent Coach, CCC.
This coaching program is consistent with my professional and personal values within positive psychology; coaching (and providing counseling) keeping in mind the latest neuroscience, a gratitude practice, a strengths perspective, a growth mindset and staying true to my values.
Meditation Bootcamp, Divorce and Building Resilience
I created Mindful Kids and Families Practice to help others find a “connectedness” within their families and to help parents to parent with greater intention and build resilience within their families. My hope is to guide children, teens and parents to a greater understanding of their own emotions and behaviors, learn new skills for communicating and being with one another, and create a more compassionate and kind family life. Outside of work my favorite moments are spent being active in my son’s school PTA, building community in our small town in Marin County, nurturing and enjoying being a mother to my son, connecting with friends, drinking chai tea lattes, and running the hills of Mt Tamalpais.
Renewal; Finding my Authentic Self and Re-creating my family
My Credentials and
Licenses and Education:
2016: Certified Competent Coach, School of Coaching Mastery
2001: Licensed Clinical Social Worker; California License: #LCS20482
1998: M.S.W., Master’s in Social Work, Mental Health California State University, Sacramento, CA
1999: Kaiser Permanente, Post-Graduate Clinical Resident Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Oakland, CA
CSCSW, California Society for Clinical Social Work
NCGPS, Northern California Group Psychotherapy Society
NASW, National Association of Social Workers
GGSC, The Greater Good Science Center
10 day Vipassana Meditation Retreat with S.N. Goenka – Joshua Tree, California
Raising Happiness Course with Christine Carter, PhD
Trained in the Mindful Schools Curriculum with Megan Cowan and Kate Janke
Mindfulness with Children – with Leslie Grant and Gary Buck, PdD
The Whole Brain Child Approach: Develop Kids Minds and Integrate Their Brains for Better Treatment Outcomes – with Tina Payne Bryson, PhD
Mindful Motherhood with Cassandra Vietan, PhD
Energy Psychology: Mind/Body Techniques (EFT) for Emotional Management with Carol Odsess, PhD