I returned to college as a 're-entry' student, in my late thirties, married and with three growing kids. I started out at Junior College taking G.E.'s when my youngest child entered the public school system. After two years of intense course work and thinking I would pursue a nursing degree, I transferred to UCSC. In two more years I graduated with a BA in Feminist Studies, a unique program and one of a few in the country. During my last year at UCSC I became curious about the individual in society, and began asking questions about how we as individuals negotiate and navigate systems in society. I continued on in my education to get a master’s degree but not in nursing, in counseling psychology. Three years later, I received my Master's in Counseling Psychology from the University of San Francisco just as my eldest child graduated high school.
Both USF and UCSC are rooted in social justice methods and practices which orient one towards systems thinking. And this is where I find the individual, as a part of multiple systems. We are not every solely an "I" in the sense of an individual. The first system we are born into is our family system, complete with all of it's history, known and unknown, spoken and silenced. From the family we have a community, a neighborhood, this may include schools, places of worship, work or fun. Then we have our broader society, cultural narratives and This way of thinking has not always been inherent for therapists or psychologists (cough, cough Freud). Systems thinking adds more context and paints a fuller picture of our lived experiences. From this view point, we are better able to avoid pathologizing one’s life condition or experience.
Both of my academic degrees, as well as my lived experience, tend to the intersections of human identity; gender, race, class, sexuality, location, citizenship, religion, ability. These intersections are at the root of a bio-psycho-social-spiritual approach to therapy. As individuals, couples, partners, parents, families, community members, we contend with all of these social markers on very real and intimate levels.
Hence, Audrey Lord's quote: The Personal is Political.
For therapeutic purposes we get curious about how these intersections impact us, challenge us, how do we negotiate barriers, and more.
Master's Counseling Psychology, University of San Francisco
Bachelor's Feminist Studies, University of California at Santa Cruz
Somatic Experiencing, Advanced Student
EMDR, Trained by EMDRIA
NeuroAffective Touch, Student
California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT), Member
Santa Cruz Chapter of CAMFT, Board member
United States Association for Body Psychotherapy (USABP), Member
Northern California Somatic Experiencing Professional Association, (NorCal SEPA), Member