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I'M PAULA. AND I GET IT.

I've been right where you are - confused, isolated, hurting, and wondering how to rebuild. I got really lucky and found a therapist that helped me recover and rebuild my life. When I was healed, and since I was already a therapist, I committed myself to following in her footsteps and helping other survivors heal.

Not everyone understands hidden abuse. Some therapists can't help identify your abuse, minimize it, or make you feel like the problem. Or they join with your abuser and make you feel crazy if a therapist is siding with them and not you.

I'm here to end it. I understand what you've gone through and I trust your story. I'm passionate about giving a name to your experience and I know how to guide you to recovery.

Therapy is a brave step in
reclaiming your power.
Here's how I work...

MY STYLE

I'm warm, tuned in, and dedicated to clients and my work. I want to learn about what worked and didn't work in therapy in the past so I can meet your needs. Some clients prefer me to take an active role as a therapist, assigning therapy homework and holding you accountable. Others prefer a more gentle approach. It's important for me to know this about you, and in the beginning I ask a lot of questions to get to know you better.

In the trauma work we do together, I take a read on clients at each session. Sometimes we move in a focused, steady way through trauma. Other times we have lighter sessions as a break to avoid flooding or overwhelming you with trauma. My clients come to know this distinction as "hard work" versus "warm bath" sessions and I encourage and welcome you to tell me what approach you need each week.

I am kind and gentle, but I can be direct. It's part of my job to sometimes guide you to see patterns or hear things that can be painful. But I'm not a therapist that will push you with too much reality. If I think it might help you to hear something that might be tough to digest, I always first ask if you are in the space to hear a loving message that might be hard. Sometimes I ask, "Are you in a place to be pushed a compassionate way?" I do this because I respect your right to be in the driver's seat about the pace of our work. You might have trauma from being out of control in the past, but you are safe and in control in our work together.

 

I love it when we have a strong relationship and clients can be honest. I encourage honesty because so much healing can happen in our relationship itself - in what you bring to our work and receiving an accepting, non-judgmental, compassionate response from me. You deserved this in your early and love relationships, and I'm so sorry you didn't get it. But you can heal and reset neural pathways created in trauma - and change the way you feel about and respond to your pain and trauma.

MY BACKGROUND

EDUCATION

Bachelor of Social Work (1995)

University of Illinois

Urbana-Champaign, Illinois

Master of Social Work (1997)

University of Illinois

Urbana-Champaign, Illinois

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LICENSURE

LCSW, Illinois (2000 - 2009)

License no. 149-009019

LCSW, Missouri (2008 - 2018)

License no. 2008036640

LCSW, California (2017 - Pres.)

License no. 75414

THEORETICAL APPROACHES

Dialectical behavioral therapy

The Gottman method

Attachment-based therapy

Feminist therapy

Psychodynamic therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Internal Family Systems (IFS)

TEACHING & SUPERVISION

Dominican University (2003 - 2006)

Associate Professor, MSW program

Loyola University (2005 - 2006)

Associate Professor, MSW program

MSW field practicum/ASW supervisor (1999 - 2019)

ASW supervisor (2021 - present)

CONTACT ME

Phone:  708-975-9500

Address:  55 W. Sierra Madre Blvd. #210

              Sierra Madre, CA 91024

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