From a young age, my work has focused on helping others. For four summers during college, I worked as a nursing assistant, first in a nursing home and then in several hospitals. I became a registered nurse and went to work at Stanford University Medical Center. I enjoyed taking care of others, both physically and emotionally. Those experiences made a strong impression on me that caring for others is a very intimate and rewarding experience, based on trust and respect, and not to be taken lightly.
After caring for seriously ill people at Stanford, I returned to my initial goal of becoming a physician. The summer before starting medical school, I worked as a visiting hospice nurse. My patients were dying of their illnesses, and my job was to see them in their homes. Again, I was providing physical and emotional care. This time, I had more opportunity to interact with patients' families, which provided a much fuller sense of what the patients' worlds were like. That job had a profound effect on me and allowed me to share in my patients' sacred experience of death and dying.
After medical school, I became a board certified anesthesiologist. I chose anesthesia because I found the science fascinating and felt that caring for people having surgery was a unique yet important job. Over the course of several years, however, I realized that I deeply missed the opportunity to meaningfully interact and develop a relationship with my patients. After leaving my practice, I volunteered as a reader to preschoolers and as a board member for the Susan G. Komen foundation, both of which bolstered my desire to be in helping relationships with children and those who are ill.
Within the next couple of years, my husband and I had twins. While my children were toddlers, I began volunteering as a court appointed special advocate for abused and neglected children in King County. This experience, along with parenthood, reinforced to me how critically important it is to meet the emotional needs of children and adults, and how tragic the result can be when those needs are not met.
All of the above experiences contributed to my returning to school (when my children went off to kindergarten) to obtain a master's degree in psychology. I realized during the course of my master's degree that I would rather help people deal with their pain than anesthetize them to avoid it. Thus, upon completing my degree, I knew that I wanted to have a practice that incorporated all of the things I'd learned over the previous 30 years. My background makes me somewhat unique as a therapist: I have many years of experience in helping people deal with difficult situations, I am able to easily understand and help people discuss any medical issues they are dealing with, and I am very comfortable discussing difficult issues such as cancer, sexuality, grief and loss, and death and dying. It is an honor and a privilege to provide a place for people to find comfort, compassion and support.
I am on the therapist referral lists for Gilda's Club, Cancer Lifeline, and Overlake and Evergreen Hospital's Cancer Resource Centers. I am listed on CounselingSeattle.com, and am the former cancer Topic Expert on GoodTherapy.org. My GoodTherapy.org cancer blog posts can be found here.
Please note that while I am a physician I am not a psychiatrist, and do not prescribe medication.
2007 M.A., Antioch University
1988 M.D., University of California, Irvine
1984 B.S., University of California, Irvine
Marriage and Family Therapy License: LF60311984
Medical License: MD00027957
Washington Association of Marriage and Family Therapy
American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy
American Psychosocial Oncology Society
Association for Death Education and Counseling
American Medical Association
Hospice Foundation of America
Code of Ethics and Supervision
As a marriage and family therapist, I abide by the Code of Ethics of the Washington State Board of Licensed Professional Counselors and Therapists, as well as the Code of Ethics of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists.