My sweet dachshund Reesie (pictured), was with me for 17 wonderful years. I personally experienced the intensity of attachment and feelings of despair and helplessness one often has for an aging, sick, and dying animal companion. This is why I am combining my clinical expertise in grief counseling with my love for animals, so that I may provide support to those who are grieving their dear animals. Pet loss is a unique form of bereavement that requires a specialized approach, particularly from someone who knows the depth of the connection we have with the animals that so enrich our lives. Not everyone understands the relationship and deep bond we form with our animals, nor the way in which our lives and routines are impacted by their loss. I not only understand, but can empathize on a personal level, and provide specific tools to assist in your grieving.
In addition to providing specialized grief counseling for pet loss, I also provide grief counseling for traumatic deaths, including suicide, accidents, miscarriage, as well as for those clients experiencing grief related to abortion and pregnancy termination. Each of these losses have unique characteristics, outcomes, and treatment implications, all of which I can help address through specialized grief therapy. Depending on the client's needs, I utilize various techniques and provide education about the grief process to facilitate improved coping. I also may offer EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) for certain clients whom I believe would benefit.
I also assist people through the various other forms of loss we each face in life and for which we grieve. Clients may not realize that they are going through a grieving process, misidentifying emotions as possibly depression, anxiety, or even believing they are stressed and "just" feeling very overwhelmed. At some point a relationship may come to an end, either through separation, divorce, or death. This can have the additional impact of a loss of identity; for example, one might have been a spouse and is now a widow. For years one might have been a caregiver for a loved one and now does not know how to fill their days or how to begin new routines. A person's self-concept is often intimately tied to caring for a loved one, to the degree it becomes part of one's identity. Loss may also take the form of a change in ability or level of independence. Perhaps one can no longer live alone or work at the job they once held. This change can result in the feelings of grief over lost capabilities and a lost future.
Not all social workers, therapists, or psychologists have training in grief work or are comfortable with the topic. I have the training, experience, as well as the passion for supporting people in their grief.
I believe the past plays an important role in shaping who we are and how we relate in the world. However, past traumas, abuse and hardships need not define who we are nor dictate our future. I have experience assisting clients to work through the past in order to claim a well-deserved, brighter future. Though I feel it is valuable to understand and address the past, my emphasis is on the present moment and helping clients' address current challenges.
Many clients seek therapy because they are struggling with low self-esteem, feeling trapped in a "bad" relationship, or continue to repeat patterns that no longer serve them. Many are experiencing severe anxiety, depression, are going through a major life transition, or are overwhelmed with the demands of life. I have worked with clients to address all of these challenges, and many more! At times, alternative treatments for stress, insomnia, among numerous other issues, may be beneficial. I am able to provide suggestions regarding complementary and alternative treatments to use in conjunction with psychotherapy. Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) is a rapidly growing segment of healthcare that is finally gaining credibility.
My approach to psychotherapy is practical and straightforward, yet compassionate. I utilize techniques from Cognitive-Behavioral, Solution-Focused, and other therapies. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a modality that I often use. EMDR may improve or resolve issues clients have struggled with for years without relief from other forms of therapy. The use of EMDR has transformed my practice and expedited the progress of clients in incredible ways (or so many clients tell me after having spent significant time previously in "talk therapy"!). I am also trained in Psych-K, which addresses subconscious limiting beliefs through muscle-testing and certain "balances" and is promoted by Dr. Bruce Lipton. I am a firm believer in the mind-body connection and the therapeutic results from techniques such as EMDR and Psych-K, which are mind-body in nature.
Despite using techniques that are very practical and somewhat structured at times, the theoretical orientations underlying how I approach working with clients are based in Humanistic and Transpersonal (Spiritual or literally "beyond the person") Psychology. Essentially, I believe clients have an innate wisdom of what is best for their lives; therefore, what may be beneficial for one client may not be as effective for another. I adapt therapy to suit the individual and what serves him/her at that moment. Clients and I work together to uncover how to empower the client towards their desired change.
My basic belief is we are more than just our physical bodies and there is more to the human experience than we might be aware of or make use of in our daily routines. Numerous studies have shown the psychological and physical benefits of prayer and meditation practices; my intent is to assist those who express an interest in exploring how spiritual beliefs and practices might serve to enhance their experience and lives. However, it is absolutely not necessary that a client has any religious or spiritual views in order to work with me in therapy. It is not my agenda to advocate or push spirituality or religion on anyone and I honor each individual's path and choices.
Past life regression sessions are one method to assist clients in gaining perspective and understanding related to current circumstances and challenges. I utilize relaxation techniques, guided meditation, and hypnosis to assist the client in achieving a relaxed state in which they are able to access the subconscious information as to earlier times, places, and events. Often having this insight allows one to gain a broader perspective and see current challenges in a new, more adaptive light. If any of the information is upsetting or traumatic, I utilize techniques to allow the client to observe the scene rather than reliving the event. I also may employ other therapeutic modalities to help the client release the pain or trauma felt following the session. Past life regression sessions are generally two hours in length.
For information on past lives, one may benefit from reading works by Dr. Brian Weiss, Dr. Linda Backman (with whom I trained), Dr. Michael Newton, or Dolores Cannon. Each has a slightly different stance on past life regression; however, the take-away seems consistent: we are spiritual beings incarnated in a human body, ideally to choose love while on our path of growth and evolution.
Clinical Psychologist HI PSY1372
Licensed Social Worker HI LSW1402
Originally from Texas, I moved to Hawaii with my miniature dachshund, Reesie, in 1997. It had always been a dream to live in Hawaii, so I chose to attend graduate school at the University of Hawaii earning a master's degree in Social Work in 2000. I became a Licensed Social Worker in 2002 and have worked in acute care settings, a geriatric psychiatric unit, skilled nursing and rehabilitation center, for the state of Hawaii's adult foster home/case management program, and as a hospice social worker and bereavement counselor/coordinator providing grief counseling to individuals, families, and groups.
In 2010 I completed my Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (PsyD) at the University of the Rockies School of Professional Psychology in the Residential Modular track.
On a personal note, I currently share my home with a chihuahua, Sookie, her daughter, Pepper, who is half miniature dachshund (known as a chiweenie).
Clients are welcome to bring their own pets for emotional support during therapy sessions.
I accept HMSA (including Quest), UHA, PSWA and HMAA/HWMG insurance plans. I can also submit claims to Cigna, though I am not a participating provider.
I do not accept Medicare (including HMSA's 65C+) or Tricare, but may offer a sliding scale with verified household income.
For those who do not have insurance or choose to pay out of pocket for psychotherapy sessions, the rate is $150 per session plus tax.
The fee for Past Life Regression (PLR) is $200 plus tax (allow approximately two hours for a PLR session).
I look forward to connecting with you so please provide the best way (phone number or email) and time to contact you. I will try to respond within 24 hours unless it is a holiday or I am off island (which doesn't happen very often because I can't stand to leave my animals for long!). If you prefer to contact me directly, you may call rather than complete this form.
1126 12th Ave, Room 202, Honolulu, Hawaii 96816
Monday - Saturday: By appointment only