About Me

 

I help people draw upon their hopes, talents, skills, desires, and values to lessen the influence of problems and to create new life possibilities. Through rich curiosity and a set of change-oriented practices derived primarily from Narrative and Solution-Focused therapies, I assist people in renegotiating their relationships with problems and getting more of what they want out of their lives. 

 

I come from a writing, performing, and visual arts background. I have taught writing for 17 years in various universities (University of California Irvine, University of Southern California, Antioch University) and found kinship in Narrative Therapy early in my training as a therapist.  I liked the understanding that our lives and the stories we tell about them are like creative texts in draft form.

 

Like written or other creative texts, our lives can be revised and re-imagined. I see our lives very much like creative art projects that are in development but which can be challenged by stuckness, self-criticism, anxiety, depression, relational issues, etc. But change is not only possible, it is always happening, even if the stories we and others tell about our lives sometimes fail to recognize the changes or parts of our experience that don’t fit neatly with the dominant, problem story.

 

I see life-making as a collaborative, relational process and although the individual person is in my view the greatest expert of their own creation (their lives), many cultural, familial, and other forces and discourses participate in the shaping of our lives and the means by which we understand them. This participation from ‘outside’ can be variously helpful or harmful; empowering or imprisoning. I am interested in helping people identify where they stand and what their own values are in relation to the cultural discourses and prescriptions for knowing and being that are handed down to them. I’m interested in surmising complexity, and possibility and in holding people accountable for their dearest preferences. In both couples and individual work, I work collaboratively with clients to make space for any and all conversations that need space, and to summon clients’ skills, abilities, talents, and hopes toward the creation of meaningful, wonderful futures.

 

I have been privileged to offer therapy to individuals, couples, and children at the California Family Counseling Center, at the Narrative Counseling Center and the Rosewood Center in Hancock Park, and to teenage boys at Camp Miller Juvenile Detention Center in Malibu.

 

I hold an M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy from Phillips Graduate Institute and an M.F.A. in creative writing from the Writer’s Workshop at the University of California, Irvine.

 

I am very fond of poetry, visual art, and the arts more generally. I enjoy working with creative people of all kinds and many of my clients are involved in some aspect of the entertainment industries.

 

I am currently an Affiliate Faculty member in the BA Psychology Concentration at Antioch University Los Angeles, where I also teach in the Masters Program in Clinical Psychology. 

Photo by Audrey Mandelbaum