I have a doctorate in clinical psychology from the Wright Institute in Berkeley, California, and completed my postdoctoral work at the University of California, San Francisco. I received my BA and MA from Mills College in Oakland, California.
I was introduced to Schema therapy by Matthew McKay, PhD during my doctoral program at the Wright Institute. Jeffrey Young’s brilliant framework for understanding ourselves and others immediately resonated with me. I pursued a deeper understanding of schema therapy by attending three of Jeff’s intensive workshops. I began using schema therapy with my clients during my clinical training and I witnessed the empowering effects of this important piece of self-knowledge.
When I was approached to write The Critical Partner, I was very excited to be given the opportunity to possibly reach an audience that is unaware of schema theory or provide those who are familiar with schema theory another way to utilize their knowledge.
My second book is a guide for clinicians that has been several years in the making. It started with Matt McKay’s idea that it would be great to test the effectiveness of combining schema therapy with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). I was fully immersed in schema theory because I was using it as a clinician and I was writing my dissertation, A Schema-Focused Analysis of Philip Carey in W. Somerset Maugham’s Of Human Bondage. I knew very little about ACT at the time. Matt had a colleague who loved ACT as much as I loved schema therapy so he brought the three of us together to create a protocol for clinicians to treat people with interpersonal problems. Once that was completed, we still had the onerous task of testing the protocol in a clinical setting to determine its efficacy. One of Matt’s students, Abby Lev, was looking for a dissertation topic and she was using schema therapy and ACT in her clinical practice. It was a natural fit for her. So, she took on the enormous project of testing the protocol. The outcome studies were impressive. The result of this collaborative effort is a book that I am very excited about, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Interpersonal Problems: Using Mindfulness, Acceptance, and Schema Awareness to Change Interpersonal Behaviors.
The book begins the treatment for interpersonal problems by defining early maladaptive schemas and helping clients identify which schemas are relevant to them and their difficulties in relationships. It then helps clients identify common schema triggers so they can begin to bring more mindful awareness to these situations as they occur. Once clients are aware of how schema-driven thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are impacting their interpersonal interactions, they have more opportunity—and more motivation—to change their behavior.
My third book is a collaboration with Matthew McKay PhD, Avigail Lev PsyD and Patrick Fanning. It is titled The Interpersonal Problems Workbook: ACT to End Painful Relationship Patterns. It is a self-help workbook based on the empirically validated protocol presented in the clinician’s workbook.
My fourth book with New Harbinger Publications, Love Me, Don’t Leave Me: Overcoming Fear of Abandonment and Building Lasting, Loving Relationships, is a self-help book that uses schema therapy and mindfulness based approaches to help the reader work through the painful emotions and negative thoughts that stem from past experiences while learning to recognize and change the behaviors that are harmful to relationships, with the ultimate goal of getting closer to the loving and lasting connections that everyone deserves.
In my clinical work, I have provided brief and long-term therapy for individuals and couples utilizing schema, cognitive, behavioral and mindfulness-based therapies to address interpersonal issues, weight management, anger, depression, anxiety, disabilities and trauma.