Phone: (657) 278-7576
Diversity has been a key theme running through some of the most important aspects of my life. I am of mixed descent, with both Japanese-American and Caucasian-American cultural heritage. While most of my peers had soccer moms, I had a soccer dad, and hence grew up in a family that took non-traditional roles. As an adult, I continued to diversify, marrying my husband who is a fine artist from Spain. I balance my role as a professor with specialties in clinical psychology, couples, therapy, and empirical research with an interest in art, traveling, and surfing. Perhaps because of my enthusiasm for differences, it is no surprise that I am now happily part of the Human Services Department. Not only do our students bring much diversity to our program, with a wide range of heritages, experiences, and interests, our faculty also represent a wide variety of academic specialties and backgrounds. Through my life, I’ve recognized the challenges of negotiating differences, but will continue to embrace the variety and joy which diversity brings.
After starting my college career at a northern California community college, Diablo Valley College, I transferred and finished my undergraduate years at UC Berkeley. Several years later I entered UCLA, where I earned my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with minors in Social Psychology and Measurement & Psychometrics.
My teaching philosophy includes the creation of dynamic and supportive educational environments in which learning is central. In my classes, I strive to make learning active and meaningful by encouraging students to apply course concepts to real situations including their own experiences. My goals are to assist students in gaining vital knowledge, developing critical thinking skills, and growing as both people and professionals. I hope to empower students to benefit society as they apply their learning in sensitive and respectful ways that positively impact individuals, families, and our larger communities. I currently teach Counseling Theories & Techniques, 380, Program Evaluation, 470, & Practicum, 396 as part of the Human Services Department.
My research interests are applied, as I seek to understand and improve treatment for distressed couples. This is a particularly important area of human functioning, as relationship distress has serious implications for individuals and families in our communities including maladjustment in individual mental and physical health, as well as negative outcomes for children. My research focuses on studying the effectiveness of couple therapy, understanding how changes emerge in couple therapy, and cultural competence in couple therapy. This line of research may inform educators, researchers, and practitioners about how couple therapy works and may ultimately benefit couples and families in distress.
I’ve worked in a variety of clinical settings with a wide range of clients. Some of my first formal clinical experiences were during my undergraduate years as a volunteer at Napa Mental State Hospital visiting with hospitalized adolescent girls and at a summer camp setting volunteering with boys with ADHD. Through my training years at UCLA, I worked at an elementary school, a psychology department with members of the larger community, and a university student psychological clinic with college students. During my final internship year at the West Los Angeles Veterans Administration, I worked in a hospital ward, a housing unit for the homeless, a day treatment center for individuals with substance abuse and schizophrenia, and a nursing home. By serving a variety of children, families, couples, and adults, I’ve learned about a wide range of human concerns and helping approaches. My current goal is to use this knowledge to assist my students in learning to apply theoretical approaches in meaningful ways to make positive changes in their own lives and the lives of their clients.