The professional part of my story goes like this: I obtained a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. After graduation, I worked in a residential treatment facility where I treated male adolescents who had engaged in sexually deviant and criminal behaviors and had extensive backgrounds related to abuse and trauma experiences. During this time, I obtained a License in Clinical Social Work and decided to venture into private practice.
For most of my 20’s, I focused on working with children and adolescents who struggled with a variety of life difficulties. I often noted a common thread: the need to include families in therapy to help them understand and implement strategies to tackle the issues the child was struggling with like ADHD, the Autism Spectrum or any emotional/behavioral issue. I partnered in private practice with Dr. Sharon DiGiacomo (a chief psychologist and renowned specialist in neurological disorders) to gain experience and understanding of
psychological testing, neurological disorders and executive functioning, to learn how to approach mental health from a brain-based perspective, and implement treatment to fuse clinical and individual needs of the client and family.
As I continued to grow professionally, I became interested in the impact of divorce, separation and blending of families on children, co-parents and family dynamics. I learned the best interest of the child and educated parents to work together (regardless of discord in their relationship) to co-parent, intelligently and effectively. I worked with individual family units, as well as divorce lawyers and judges to determine the best visitation plans and strategies for each family.
“Of all of my credentials, I believe the most significant is that I know what it’s like to be human and to feel stuck.”
The personal part of my story goes like this: Once I became a parent and understood more fully the stressors of adulthood, my world expanded even more, and I found that working with adults felt inspiring and fascinating.
I reasoned that one of the best ways to help children was to help the adults that cared for them. I made it my mission to connect more fully with moms and dads and other caregivers to empathize with the process of the ‘hood and the ways that this ‘beautifully painful’ process impacts them. I made it my mission to convince these parents that they aren’t alone and that it is possible to choose their style of parenting while getting their own needs met.
And what I learned in this professional journey is that whether it’s parenthood, a new career, anxiety, depression or the normal stressors or life, we all need to believe we can become resilient to them and be willing to learn a better approach. The advantage of starting my experience as a child psychotherapist allows me to understand adults more fully—their own inner child. I learned that every unique problem contained the same element of struggle and required a similar algorithm of approach.
A key ingredient in this process is compassion—for the people in our lives, certainly, but also for ourselves. Compassion is an unlimited resource. In fact, self-compassion breeds compassion not just for others, but in others. Though people come to therapy for any number of reasons, I’ve noticed a common theme: Their stories tend to include an element of emptiness or disconnection, no matter how many people are in their lives, no matter how much success they’ve achieved. Having compassion for ourselves allows us to take ownership of our stories, gives us agency to act, and helps us to create and maintain meaningful and healthy relationships.
In my practice, I use a variety of age-appropriate treatment interventions such as Play Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Filial Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and Applied Behavioral Analysis to diagnose and treat clients.
Observing the impact that therapy has had on clients inspires me to keep improving and fuels my passion to do even more.
I had a wonderful experience with my therapist. (Saioa) listened and helped me manage my anxiety a bit better. To this day I continue to meditate and use the methods she taught me. I would go back to her if I have problems in the future.
Rates and Payment
• $125 - $150 per session; $200 initial consult; $40 per group
• Cash, check and credit card accepted
• Reduced fee services are available on
a limited basis
• Private insurance:
- Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO
- Blue Cross Blue Shield Blue Choice
- Cigna PPO
- Cigna HMO
- Cigna EAP