I have wanted to be a therapist almost my entire life. My mother was clinical social worker specializing in geriatrics. She inspired me in the quest to help others. My father was also a source of inspiration as he taught me the values of caring for and assisting others who may not be as fortunate as I am. He taught me the importance of being culturally aware and competent. My mother is now deceased and my father elderly, but I hold those early lessons near to my heart as I move forward in my chosen career. One of my earliest memories is of the year my family spent in Guanajuato, Mexico, when I was six years old. My parents were writing a book for use in colleges and universities. Typical of young children, I quickly got up to par in Spanish, running down the streets yelling " no entire do! No entire do!" ( I don't understand), my first attempt at a pun, as clearly I did! I remember wondering why my friends did not have the same material resources as my middle-class Canadian family. My parents, especially my father, taught me that I was very fortunate to have the creature comforts and opportunities that I did, and that because of that, I had a moral and ethical obligation to help those less fortunate than myself, a lesson I carry forth to this day. After I returned to Canada from Mexico I learned French in school as all Canadian schoolchildren do. Talented in languages and motivated to learn, I applied myself to the fullest and quickly learned this second language, soon followed by the German spoken by my father and paternal grandparents. Thus began my love of language, culture, and travel, and that continues to this day. I studied Latin in high school, Ancient Greek in college, and Russian in the then-USSR. I picked up Dutch in a peace corps assignment to Suriname, former Dutch Guyana, and Portuguese in carnival in Salvador, Brazil. I have now either lived in or visited every continent except Australia and Antarctica. I use my cultural competency every day in my work, whether relating in Spanish to an Ecuadorian client, or in English to an Irish-American. I have demonstrated this adeptness with culture in my travels to Malaysia, Uganda, South Africa, and the Dominican Republic, where I taught villagers and professional staff alike the fundamentals of psychotherapy. I came to the United States for the first time post-college in 1995 to study clinical social work at Columbia university in 1995, graduating with my m.s.w. In 1997. My field placements were at Beth Israel Medical Center Phillips ambulatory care center and Sanctuary for Families ( domestic violence). As a second-year student I developed a support group curriculum which relied on my background in alternative healing, which I later presented at the 4th international conference on child victim/ witnesses of domestic violence in San Diego, CA, in 1998. I also presented this work at the 4th and 5th national conference on children and violence in Houston, TX, in 1998 and 1999. Subsequent conference presentations included the 1st international conference on AIDS in Ethiopia in 1999, and the 4th Home and Community Care Conference for persons with HIV/AIDS in Paris, France in 1999. It was at these later conferences that I presented my adapted support group curriculum for AIDS orphans, now n use in over 100 countries, most notably in South Africa and Uganda. My early work in my career focused on health challenges such a shiv/ AIDS and pediatric oncology. This interest in health continues to this day and is accompanied by a dual specialty in trauma and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder ( PTSD). I have received training in cognitive behavioral therapy ( CBT) and have been incorporating this in my clinical practice for the past 20 years. My undergraduate education is from St. John's college, where I immersed myself in the great books program", the classics of western civilization, beginning with the pre-socratics and ending with Freud. All classes were in a seminar format and Relied solely on primary sources, I.e., one's own perception of and commentary on the reading. This education taught me the essential skills of critical thinking, which I use to this day. Another thing that sets me apart from other therapist's is my background in alternative medicine, including Swedish massage, shiatsu, yoga, herbology, homeopathy, and meditation. While I am extremely conservative in the use of touch, I indirectly incorporate these techniques, e.g., teaching a client with generalized Anxiety Disorder yoga and other relaxation techniques. I am experienced with children and adolescents, adults, and seniors, in individual, collateral, couples, family, and group modalities. I have dealt with a wide variety of diagnoses including major depressive Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, panic Disorder with-and without Agoraphobia, ADHD and ADD, and Anxiety Disorders. I have seen literally thousands of patients for short-and long-term therapy. I enjoy my work and approach it with great passion. My 20 years' clinical experience is bolstered by my personal convictions and deep feeling. I engage and relate to clients extremely well ; I would say my greatest strength and what sets me apart from others is my tremendous empathy and ability to understand the human experience--what adolescents term " real talk". I apply everything that makes me " me" to my work in order to enact true and lasting change. I believe in my work.
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