Welcome to my website. I am a clinical psychologist in Mill Valley, California, and an author, speaker, and business coach. My expertise is in helping clients manage stress, negotiate life transitions, find, manage, or heal relationships, and find fulfillment in life, love, and work. I teach my therapy and coaching clients how to overcome the emotional fallout from past traumas and attachment issues so they do not act as barriers to happiness and success. I provide relationship counseling focused on communicating mindfully, transforming negative cycles, and building connection and partnership. I see individuals, couples, and families in my clinical practice. I also provide talks, workshops, and consulting and coaching services to entrepreneurs, leaders, health professionals, businesses, and schools.
As a psychologist and coach, I help clients to grow personal strengths and skills, live mindfully and with compassion, overcome adversity, and build authentic connection with themselves and others. I treat the whole person, focusing on mind, body, and spirit, and drawing on modern neuroscience, integrative skills like mindfulness, and cutting edge therapies like Schema Therapy, EFT for couples, and EMDR for trauma. Modern times present unique stresses and life demands that create anxiety and insecurity, impacting our relationships, health, and well-being. I help clients manage these stresses and reorient the mind and brain towards living with purpose, resilience and courage, finding authentic, empowered ways of expression, to work, lead, love, parent, and contribute in meaningful ways.
Born in South Africa, I graduated college during the last years of the apartheid era. Growing up in this beautiful, yet troubled and changing land made me a seeker of new perspectives like mindfulness that could help me cope with societal pressures that I couldn’t control. Living without freedom of speech, I became an advocate for empowered self-expression.
I came to the US at the age of 26 to study for my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Stony Brook University. My training encompassed both Cognitive-Behavior Therapy and the emerging field of Health Psychology. After completing a postdoctoral research fellowship in health psychology in New York City, I was fortunate to be able to move out to California – a place I had always wanted to live. I love the ocean, casual lifestyle, and sunny weather.
I worked for more than a decade as a professor in the Clinical Health Psychology Doctoral Program at the California School of Professional Psychology/Alliant University in San Diego. During this time, I chaired more than 20 doctoral dissertation students and mentored many others. A big part of my research program looked at how an expressive writing intervention helped people cope with stresses like past traumas, unemployment, chronic illness, or relationship breakups. I also researched how stressors and emotions influence health, happiness, and success. I taught graduate courses on topics such as Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, Health Psychology, Stress and Coping, Culture, and Cognition and Emotion. I also supervised practicum students. During this time, I published more than 50 research articles and conference abstracts in academic journals like The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. I also spoke at national conferences of the American Psychological Association and the Society of Behavioral Medicine, and wrote chapters for books including Positive Psychology: Exploring the Best in People, Handbook of Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine, and The Writing Cure.
A few years after my daughter was born, I moved to Marin County, just north of San Francisco. It is a beautiful place to live with many natural trails and healthy, organic food. I started a clinical practice in Mill Valley, which I built from the ground up – a source of great pride to me. I became more focused on mindfulness, self-compassion, and neuroscience as part of my treatment and approach. During this time, I also presented continuing education workshops to psychologists, and started writing a blog – The Mindful Self-Express – for Psychology Today that currently has over 8 million pageviews. I am very active on social media and have almost 50,000 Twitter followers. I was named one of the Most Prominent Psychologists to follow on Twitter by The British Psychological Society.
My first book The Stress-Proof Brain was published in 2017. In the book, I explain that the key to coping with stress is in how we respond to the situations and things that stress or threaten to overwhelm us. The Stress-Proof Brain offers powerful, comprehensive tools based in mindfulness, neuroscience, and positive psychology to help you put a stop to unhealthy responses to stress, empowering you in mastering your emotional responses, overcoming negative thinking, and creating a more stress-tolerant brain.
I met my husband in graduate school and we have been together for more than 25 years. I am the parent of a teenager and have a mini Australian shepherd. I had a child later in life and this changed my life for the better by teaching me how to live in the present and find the joy in each moment. I love to do yoga, walk my dog, hike, read, play word games, visit museums, go to Stinson beach, or hang out with my family and friends.
For more information, please see my CV.