I am a certified child life specialist (CCLS) and certified thanatologist (CT) with professional experience spanning over 14 years. Throughout my career, I have provided child life services and bereavement counseling in inpatient units, funeral homes, hospice, and palliative care settings working with children, adolescents, adults, and families, in order to aid in managing and coping with stressful healthcare experiences and life transitions. Specifically, my specialities are in palliative care, hospice care, and bereavement related challenges. As such, my passion is for providing children and their families with holistic psycho-social care that emphasizes a strengths-based approach and positive coping skills and strategies.
I integrate various methods of creative expression into my work with children and families including arts-based approaches, mindfulness, play therapy techniques, and developmentally appropriate psycho-education. With expertise in childhood growth and development, thanatology (the study of death and grief), attachment, trauma-informed practices, and transpersonal psychology, I emphasize a whole-person approach, which is strongly influenced by present moment, emphatic, and spiritual dimensions of supporting families in crisis.
I hold a Ph.D. in Integral and Transpersonal Psychologies, a masters degree in Thanatology, and a bachelors in Child Life. I have given presentations about the practice of professional Child Life and bereavement at Stanford's Lucille Packard Children's Hospital, Children's Hospital Oakland, Kaiser Hospital Oakland, and UCSF Medical Center. Additionally, I have facilitated conference presentations, poster sessions, and workshops at regional and national child life conferences in both New York and California and at the national American Psychological Association convention.
I am currently the director of Child Life at Mills College where I am also assistant adjunct professor, internship supervisor, and student advisor for graduate students. I teach courses including:
The Hospitalized Child History & Theory of Play Administration of Early Childhood Programs Grief & Loss Child Life Field Experience Thesis Research Child Life Clinical Skills
In my free time, you may find me on the mat practicing yoga, hiking, making art, and engaging in self-care practices that enrich my life.
"I wish I could show you, when you are lonely or in darkness, the astonishing light of your own being" -Hafiz
Qualifications & Credentials
Ph.D. of Integral and Transpersonal Psychologies Dissertation: Handprints on the soul: The impact of legacy building intervention with bereaved families California Institute for Integral Studies 2016
Master of Arts in Transpersonal Psychology Doctoral Qualifying Thesis: Meaning Making and Bereaved Adolescents Institute of Transpersonal Psychology/Sofia University 2014
Master of Arts inCommunity Health/Thanatology: End of Life Counseling Masters Thesis: Do Children Receive Adequate End of Life Care in the USA? CUNY Brooklyn College 2009
Bachelor of Arts in Child Life Studies Senior Project: Integrating Expressive Arts and Child Life Practice Wheelock College 2005
Creative Expression Certificate Institute of Transpersonal Psychology 2014
(CT) Certified Thanatologist Association for Death Education & Counseling 2009