My Education and Training
I was born on the east coast and attended Barnard College/Columbia University on a scholarship. I majored in literature and psychology, which reflected my lifelong interest in the intersections between culture and the psyche. I moved across the country to the University of Southern California to attend graduate school, where I became very interested in issues relating to health, relationships, and sexuality. I earned my masters degree in 1993 and my doctorate in 1996 from USC, and I completed postdoctoral studies at the UCLA Medical Center. I began publishing papers on illness and psychology while still in graduate school, and eventually I won grant support for my work from the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Some of that early work forms the basis for patient education materials still distributed by the NCI.
Much of my work has touched on issues involving relationships and sexuality. I've undergone specialized clinical training in sex therapy, and I teach graduate students and lay audiences about various sexuality topics. I also continue to write and present at conferences. One of my most recent talks was a case study about a couple where the husband was healthy, the wife had a chronic illness, and their sex life had fallen off the table. Through our work together, they were able to regain both a satisfying connection and hope for the future.
I work with clients from a wide range of cultural backgrounds. I have extensive experience working with Armenian, Persian, Jewish, religiously orthodox, gay, disabled, and sexual minority clients.
For the full rundown on my professional background, click on the "Curriculum Vita" tab.
Why Training and Education Matter
All psychotherapy is not created equal. I believe the more rigorous and varied a therapist's training, and the more skilled the therapist's teachers and mentors, the better the work that gets done. Moreover, specific issues, like anxiety, depression, illness, and relationship counseling, require special approaches.
I have training in both cognitive-behavioral, family systems, and psychodynamic approaches to change. Most clients come to me with an immediate problem that needs help. They stay because I do help, and I never lose sight of the presenting problem, even if we're exploring deeper issues of feelings, personal history, and behavior.
For more on my specific approaches, click on what brought you to my website.