About Me & What I Do

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
– Viktor Frankl


In the “biz”, they call it “emotional dysregulation.” As a second generation holocaust survivor, one who has struggled with Bipolar Dis-ease since a young adult, and the recipient of menopause in middle age, I consider myself somewhat of a poster child. With the state of our world the way it is, it is also difficult to remain positive and hopeful…but all is not lost as long as we develop love over fear. It has been said that there are only two emotions:  fear and love; with all negative emotions coming from fear and all positive emotions coming from love.  But when in the grips of depression and/or anxiety, the transformation from fear to love can be an exceptionally daunting task. Yoda, the small but wise & powerful fictional character from the Star Wars films provides some perspective that may be of help:

“Fear is the path to the dark side.  Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering. Courage leads to connection. Connection leads to love, love leads to growth. Courage is the path to the light side of the force.”

I graduated in 1984 from the University of California at Los Angeles with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and in 1988, from California State University at Northridge with a Master’s Degree in Educational Psychology.  I earned my California licensure as a Marriage & Family Therapist in 1991 and have over 25 years of professional experience working with youth, adults and groups serving a wide variety of client populations in various settings, in both Florida and California. I am an advanced certified equine assisted practitioner (EAGALA) with publications on that therapeutic modality (see www.equineworks.com) and I am trained in EMDR (www.emdria.org).

I am asked what therapeutic orientation/s I utilize with clients and to share my areas of specialty. I believe that we have the answers inside of us to the questions that bring us to therapy and that my role is to assist you in finding that inner wisdom. I search for the talents and skills you have already developed in your life and offer new perspectives so you can cross those over to the areas in your life that need attention. I am committed to limiting my practice to those whom I genuinely feel I can help, I find alternatives to talking when you don’t have the words (an example being addressing trauma-related events) and I work a lot with and in the language of metaphors. I also utilize humor when it is appropriate because without humor, I don’t know how any of us could survive the challenges on this planet.

The majority of my clients are young adult men and women of varied cultures seeking tools for managing anger, anxiety, depression, substance addiction and strained relationships and those seeking healing from traumatic events in their lives. I thank them for teaching me how to be a better clinician.


25283 Cabot Road Suite 204 Laguna Hills, CA 92653 ~ 949.422.6355 ~ joy@oclmft.com