Therapy is only as good as the relationship between the client and therapist. Research has found that the biggest predictor of change/ reduction in mental health symptoms is based on whether the client can connect with the therapist.
Because of that, I know it is important to create a safe, supportive, and accepting environment. I value transparency in therapy, and can always count on me showing up authentically. I know that in this role I am a therapist, but first and foremost, I am human.
The type of therapy I connect to the most is Acceptance and Commitment therapy, also known as ACT. This theory is heavily based on acceptance of thoughts, emotions, physical sensations, etc. If this concept is new for you, that’s okay. Having acceptance of thoughts and feelings means that these (thoughts and feelings) are not upsetting or bothering you, and therefore you will not have to choose whether to engage in a healthy or unhealthy coping skill because there is no distress in the first place. Though I generally gravitate towards ACT, I also know that this may not be for everyone and am also trained in CBT and DBT. So, when it comes to my modality it truly depends on the client’s needs, because after all, the client knows themselves best.
My Professional Background
I received my Bachelor’s of Art from San Jose State University in Psychology with a minor in Speech Communication. I then received my Master’s in Science from San Jose State University in Clinical Psychology. For my post-graduate experience, I worked with children, adolescents, and adults in various programs such as outpatient (OPT), intensive outpatient (IOP), full service partnership (FSP), partial hospitalization program (PHP), and residential with a range of mental health such as mood disorders, trauma, anxiety, self-harm, personality disorders, and eating disorders.
Throughout my career and now as a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), I have found that working with eating disorders is my passion. I am currently working towards being a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist (CEDS) in order to further my knowledge and offer quality care.
Education, Training, and Certifications
- Associate Degree in Speech Communication
- Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, with a minor in Communication
- Masters of Science in Clinical Psychology
- Acceptance and Commitment (ACT) Skills Training
- Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) Training
- Trauma Focused- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) Training
- Suicide Assessment, Prevention, and Intervention Training
I became a cat person the day I found a kitten in a bush who happened to be 3 days old (according to the vet). I decided to rescue him which meant feeding him every few hours (yes, I did not sleep much), teaching him how to use the litter box, and cuddling him so he would be warm. Needless to say, he has stolen my heart. Now, he is 8 years old and I have adopted another cat.
I have a tattoo of a lotus flower because their meaning is so powerful to me. “The lotus flower, whose petals open one by one, will only grow in the mud. In order to grow and gain more wisdom, first you must have the mud- the obstacles of life and it’s suffering.. The mud speaks of the common ground that humans share: sadness, loss, illness, dying, and death. If we are to strive as human beings to gain more wisdom, more kindness, and more compassion, we must have the intention to grow as a lotus and open each petal one by one.”
The way my name is spelled and the way that it is pronounced is different. There should be an extra “e” at the end of my name (or maybe after the first “e”) since it is pronounced as Arlene. My dad loves to joke and shared there is not another “e” is because 1) he ran out of ink when he was writing my name or 2) it cost him too much money to add another letter. Clearly, he can’t give me a straight answer. So, don’t let the spelling get you!
And lastly, I am passionate about my car and have been learning how to do maintenance and adding fun car parts.