Who I Am
I’m a compassionate guide dedicated to improving the lives of teens and families. With a decade of service to youth in and out of the therapy space, my passion comes from the hundreds of young people who have opened up their inner world to me, to trust and receive wisdom, and to be kinder to themselves.
As a therapist and administrator, I built mental health programs from the ground up, increasing access to support for thousands of middle and high schoolers. During my time working in schools, I learned that sometimes the simplest solutions applied consistently can be the most profound. With school and nonprofit partners, I created curriculum programs that addressed topics such as: emotions, substance use, peer relationships, communication, conflict resolution, self care, identity formation, and cultural pride.
I find that I work best with folks looking for a quick witted, goal-oriented, and approachable clinician. Someone who can weave through the many ups and downs of healing with ease. I don’t work in a silo. My support is robust and I take into careful consideration all the aspects of wellbeing. I believe in a whole-istic approach, that there are multiple ways to experience wholeness - through art, conversation, laughter or mindful presence - whatever floats your boat.
I am a complete nerd with a sense of humor and artistic touch. I ground my work in developmental psychology, attachment theory, and neurobiology. This means that your teen is tended to with evidence based approaches that will stick with them for the long haul. What they learn in therapy will carry them into adulthood. As a team, we will usher your family into the confidence needed to launch a full-on human.
What You're Looking for in a Therapist
You don’t mind having a therapist with personality.
You like to learn and feel engaged wholeheartedly in therapy.
You get that I need to cuss sometimes to relate to the young folks.
You appreciate that I have lived experience working with youth and that I can explain mental health in a relatable way.
You’re open to truthful conversation that helps motivate you toward your personal goals.
You don’t always need answers, but you’re not afraid to ask questions.
You would be okay if what you needed was steps at a time and are not in a rush to make everything better all at once.
A Licensed Professional Here to Guide You
When it comes to your mental health and overall wellbeing, it’s important to have a knowledgeable professional you can turn to. Over the years, I’ve provided counseling and case management services to adolescents in multiple settings: outpatient therapy, schools, foster care, and community programs. My expertise covers a broad spectrum of services, and I’m happy to share my experience and qualifications.
Education & Training
Training in Psychotherapy
Perinatal Mental Health Certified (PMH-C) through Postpartum Support International
Internal Family Systems introductory course
Somatic Interventions and Social Justice
Crisis management and stabilization
Master's in Social Work, SDSU
With training in social service administration and direct people work, I took the university's first mentor & mentee program for social workers to new heights. Passionate about caring for helping professionals, I funded a conference highlighting the emotional and educational needs of social work students.
Sociology, UC San Diego
Minor in English literature. I worked for a co-op on campus and learned the beauty of what people can do together when there's equity in power. Graduate of the Chancellor's Undergraduate Diversity Learning Institute, the early years of my consciousness of how identity shapes our experiences were formed.
“People turned to guided meditations during the pandemic because it was the most accessible form of mental health care at the time,” Rachel Ruiz, LCSW, a California-based psychotherapist, tells Verywell. “Even therapists were recommending apps for treatment while we transitioned to virtual platforms.”
According to Ruiz, different types of meditation can alleviate a spectrum of mental and physical health concerns. Though the methods may differ, meditation typically involves training the mind to focus on something specific—be it the breath, an object, a visualization or a chant—in order to reach a state of calm and relaxation.
“You don’t understand!” Parents and teens have been saying this to each other for decades. When it comes to supporting a teen with anxiety, it can be even more disorienting. You try supportive listening, letting them take a day off from school. You try tough love, exposing them to ways to overcome their fears. You try relating, and dragging up your old memories doesn’t feel too hot either.
So what to do, when it feels like nothing is working?
Frame Therapy - Parenting Adult Children
An interview with me where I share my thoughts on how to shift your mindset when parenting an adult child, why roles change, and how you can connect across values differences.