In the summation of my experiences, from childhood until the present, I can see a clear
progression that has led me to become the person I am today. Foremost among these
aspects of my personal identity is my broad interest in the field of psychology, and my
more specific interest in helping people who are faced with poverty and various diseases.
On the family level, I have always had a strong female role model in my mother. Since the
death of my father, when I was living in England at the age of six years old, my immediate
family consisted of just the two of us, my mother and I. My mother’s ability to face this
situation and raise me well, while at the same time acclimating to a new culture after our
move to America, was essential to my development. Based on this experience I gained not
only a model of what it means to be a strong, independent woman and mother, but also a
personal foundation built on nurturing, respect and support. This has contributed to my
own psychological health while also endowing me with the skill to help others in need of
support and love.
Nevertheless, as I began to mature into young adulthood, I embraced the opportunity to explore various different career paths. After graduation from college I worked as a reporter for NBC in San Antonio, Texas. While this was a worthwhile experience I had an instinctual feeling that I was not on the right path. In simple terms, while I had the skills to do the job, I did not have a passion for the work. It was at this point that I moved to Los Angeles, received my Masters degree in Education with an emphasis in Psychology, and began working as a high school teacher. In my three years spent teaching high school literature, I gained a strong sense for my ability to touch the lives of others, and the great satisfaction that I gained from doing so. One of the important lessons I learned during this time was that many of the students carry emotional baggage that threatens their progress as students, and as people. I came to realize that students needed mental support as well as academic support. In fact, I was surprised at the degree to which mental support was a precursor to learning. In this role of mentor and teacher I gained a vision of my future. Although it might not include a long-term stint as a teacher, I knew that I was destined to work in a helping profession, enabling troubled individuals to overcome obstacles and regain their ability to move forward.
While working as a teacher I also took a leadership role in a counseling group called IMPACT, run by the LAUSD (Los Angeles Unified School District). In this role I ran two groups, each meeting once a week. The first group consisted of gang members and the second consisted of substance abusers. While I had been used to providing mental support to my students, my work with IMPACT introduced me to a deeper set of issues being faced by young people today. I consider this to be a crucial turning point for me, where I truly discovered my passion for counseling and assisting others in making better lives for themselves. I then decided to attain another Masters degree in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy. Subsequently, I was forced to stop teaching full-time due to working as a full-time mental health specialist at a non-profit agency of the Department of Mental Health (DMH). In this role I conducted therapy with adolescents who suffer from substance abuse, and various mental disorders.
The main experience that made a significant contribution to my personal development and further shaped my career goals was my trip to Africa in 2005. As a volunteer with the Kenya Voluntary Development Association (KVDA), I assisted in a program of Peace Building and Conflict Transformation with the Maasai and Kuria tribes. The goal of the program was to explore the nature of the relationship between the two peoples, the historical causes of their conflict, the issues in question and the main actors for the purpose of shaping a better future relationship. In order to gain this information we established a work camp at the Naar-Olong Primary School. This provided an incredible opportunity to interact with the Maasai, helping us to know them better for the purposes of conflict management. After making considerable process with this project, I then traveled alone to various cities, and villages in Kenya & Tanzania interacting with the locals. While engaging with the people, I was trying to get a feel of what's still missing in their communities. Other than severe poverty, I realized the lack of education amongst children and adults dealing with sanitation and prevention of disease by maintenance of sanitary conditions. This led me to fulfill my dream by dedicating myself in starting a foundation that would educate communities on health, hygiene and the environment.
In 2006, I decided to commit all of my skills, passion, and energy by educating myself further and completing my PhD. by 2011, in the field of Depth Clinical Psychology. During that time I was employed at Cedars Sinai’s Thalians Mental Health Center, located in Los Angeles, CA, as a mental health specialist, and at a private practice. In 2012, I moved to Bali, Indonesia, where I provided individual therapy to adults, families, adolescents, and children, and also began providing therapy via Skype.
While finishing building on the foundation gained from my upbringing, I have gone forth into the world and actively explored the various ways in which my skills can be of use to people from all walks of life. Indeed, I feel that one of my greatest strengths is my background working with people of all cultures and backgrounds. Based on this skill and the others that I have developed, I feel that I am ready to make a strong contribution in a lasting dedication to aid in supporting people overcome their negative stance.