I was born and raised in San Francisco (aka The City), a place for which I have so much appreciation and pride. As the daughter of Filipino immigrants, I understand the struggle and confusion that comes from trying to navigate different cultures often with conflicting values. I know the pressures of wanting to honor your parents and their struggles while also not wanting to lose other real parts of yourself. I know the humble desire to make them proud, the sense of duty and gratitude for their sacrifices, and the fierce loyalty inherent in many immigrant families.
I also witnessed so much of my family’s unaddressed wounding. The bottling up. The silent suffering. Even the martyrdom. Whole traumas and years of pain were tucked away only to leak out in unproductive ways. Defensiveness. Narcissism. Sibling comparisons. Rigid and toxic gender roles. Spiritual bypassing. Warped definitions and displays of love. (Things that were largely unconscious because the focus was on providing for our basic needs.) This template for interpersonal relationships didn’t make for healthy, trusting, open connections and consequently, my relationships were rife with undertones of distrust.
I worked while in college, mostly in hospitals, and got a taste of what it was like to be of service to the vulnerable. I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Mathematics and worked in tech for a few years before realizing that industry was not for me. I went soul searching and traveled which deepened my appreciation for authentic connection. I, then, bartended for 10 years during which I received endless confirmations of the importance of a listening ear and feeling heard, seen. So much rich-ness in people’s stories. It was here that I realized I wanted to do more, so I went to grad school to become a therapist.
Unbeknownst to me, I was required to be in my own personal therapy. A blessing, therapy helped me work through my family stuff, helped me process emotions, face unaddressed wounding, understand problematic thoughts and behaviors, and own up to choices I’d made. Even within grad school, more than half my classes were experiential, which basically meant I was processing shit left and right. Through my desire to help others, I inadvertently began healing myself. The process was uncomfortable, hard and yes, painful. . . AND also illuminating and
l i b e r a t i n g .
Which makes my work as a therapist even more meaningful…
I believe in it because I have experienced it.
I love helping others in their own journey of self-exploration, processing and healing. I feel alive connecting with others and offering hope. (This poem by Nayyirah Waheed sums up how I feel about being a therapist.)
I am committed to creating a welcoming space for all races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, nationalities, classes, religions, abilities, sizes, and neurodiversities. I am an advocate for social justice and equal representation.