Photo by Johannes Holzer
Belonging and authentic connection are core to well-being. When connections are torn, even in subtle ways, we can spiral into anxiety, depression, or lose sight of who we are. You deserve to feel in sync with loved ones and a chosen community.
With a PhD in anthropology—the study of culture and what makes us human—and ongoing training as a Research Psychoanalyst, I aim to create a safe and nurturing space to explore how belonging and rupture may impact your well-being. Since 2006, my research focused on a marginalized community as members navigated belonging related to issues of gender, sexuality, relationships, and family.
I approach psychodynamic therapy as a way of listening to unconscious processes in experiences like exile, abjection, and shame. With kindness and a desire to deliver the utmost quality of care, I hope to create a space for you to explore what it feels like to belong.
I welcome you to use my offerings to create the life and the community that you most desire.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s your background and training?
I am a psychoanalytic candidate at the Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis, where leading clinicians and researchers contribute to contemporary psychoanalytic practice, particularly related to relationships and what is understand as an intersubjective unconscious between people. We do four years minimum of study, analysis, and clinical work under supervision. I also completed a certificate of training in infant, child, and adolescent psychoanalytic psychotherapy at the Newport Psychoanalytic Institute. More info about research psychoanalysis can be found at the California Medical Board website.
As an anthropologist, I am especially drawn to a therapeutic orientation that pays attention to time and place in understanding a person’s context. My doctoral research won three national awards for my study of the lived experience of belonging in an abject community. I quietly sat with hundreds of Vietnamese lesbians (les) as they worked through struggles with relationships, family, gender identity, and coming out.
Doesn’t psychoanalysis involve laying on a couch and therapists who are kind of distant?
Contemporary psychoanalysis has moved very far from the stereotype of Freud’s blank slate style. Few people know that Freud actually had a beloved pet dog in the room with him through every session in his later years. He found that his dogs would help others with anxiety. I’m specifically trained relational and intersubjective psychoanalysis.
What mental health experience do you have?
I have had years of experience in various mental health and related settings. I have had professional working experience in a mental health residential in-patient facility, private practice as a reiki master in mind-body medicine, tutoring youth with various challenges in learning, such as ADHD, autism, trauma, depression, and test anxiety, and work in domestic violence. For three years, I also proudly volunteered as a peer mentor for LGBTQ+ students who were coming out at UC Irvine, supervised under the Counseling Center’s clinical staff. I’m currently in an MFT training program at California State University, Fullerton, which is guided by Carl Roger’s principles of unconditional positive regard in creating a safe environment for a person to explore and heal themselves.
My other certificates include:
2020 Certificate of Completion in Infant, Child, and Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, Newport Psychoanalytic Institute
2020 Certificate of Completion in TeleMental Health and Digital Ethics, Zur Institute
2020 Certificate of Completion in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), University of California, Irvine, Samueli Integrative Health Institute
What issues do you specialize in?
Given my background as a cultural anthropologist, I am especially suited to work with those who struggle with belonging and relational tears in whatever community they define around them. I have extensive experience with working with queer and Asian and Asian American individuals.
My new work focuses on insomnia, depression, and anxiety from a psychoanalytic perspective. Most contemporary psychoanalytic thought considers insomnia as a form of resistance against a regressive state. As a broad topic, insomnia may cross over with many other issues, like trauma, relationship issues, and other issues. I incorporate aspects of CBT-I and sleep hygiene, the gold standard for insomnia, with key psychodynamic or psychoanalytic interventions so that clients can reach toward long-term relief from insomnia.
Do you work online?
Yes, I see clients exclusively online through a HIPAA secure platform.
Doesn’t psychoanalysis entail multiple days a week of therapy?
Traditionally, yes, but not always now. I like to think of psychoanalysis as a way of listening, as Donna Orange describes. Session frequency depends on a lot of factors. Donald Winnicott’s famous case, The Piggle, a classic studied in training programs for infant and child psychoanalysis, focused on a girl who saw Winnicott less than 10 times between ages 2 and 4. It is not uncommon for clients in psychoanalytically-informed or psychodynamic therapy to do one or two sessions per week, as any other psychotherapy modality.
As a training candidate, I offer session frequency of 1-2 and 4 times per week. If you would like to be a psychoanalytic control case under supervision at a discounted rate for sessions 4 times per week, feel free let me know.
Where do I go from here?
I am currently offering secure video and phone sessions those in California.