About Phoenix: The Path from Actor to Healer
I actually didn’t start my career as a therapist, but as an actor.
As an actor, I used my skills as an empath, HSP, and intuitive to create highly complex, nuanced characters on stage. I invested my intuitive, sensitive way of being to bring other people’s stories to life. During these performances, the audience felt uniquely seen, understood, and heard since I reflected their complex lives back to them from the safe distance of the stage. I played with the shadows of the human experience, and brought forward emotional vulnerability and sensitivity in a way that was distanced enough to be safe – for them, and for me.
Then something happened. The more I reflected these stories back to viewers through performance, the more they thought they really knew me. People came up to me after performances and wanted to be friends. They believed they had just witnessed some core part of who I am. Because they felt so seen and heard, they felt close to me.
But I didn’t feel close to anyone. In fact, I was hiding.
(As a sensitive, empathic, person, I’m sure you have felt this, too.)
Seeking My True Self
One day I created a performance piece out of this phenomenon. I crafted different masks representing different roles I was playing, and designed a variety of outfits to go along with them. I put them all on and practiced wearing all these roles at once. It was hard to move. It was hard to breathe. It was exhausting. But I knew how to do it, because it was what I was always doing.
For the performance, I slowly took off all the masks and outfits except one. That one was supposed to be me. But as I did it I realized – this wasn’t me either. The truth was, behind all these masks – I didn’t know who I was.
I got the part because the director thought I was authentic. But it didn’t feel right. I was still performing, and I couldn’t stop. It took me years of confusion, messy experiences, and mistakes to finally realize – I wanted to be more than a role in someone else’s script.
I wanted to be me.
Stepping off the Stage – From Actor to Healer
This brought me to explore the healing power of the arts. I had personal experience of healing the arts can be. It was one of the only places I could turn to to explore and express my feelings, wounds, joys, and ideas safely. I could pour everything that was different about me and my life into making characters that were believable to others, and be rewarded for it. On the stage, I could be anything.
But I wanted more. Some core part of me realized one reason I loved acting was because of its potential to heal – myself, and others. I wanted to use this power consciously, to turn that healing journey into something I could then offer to others, off the stage.
I wanted to create and guide others on their own healing journey. I wanted to use the arts to become a healer.
I had never been interested in therapy growing up, because I didn’t believe in pathologizing people. I walked into one psychology class in high school and walked out half way through. I quit the class that same day. It remains the only class I’ve ever quit.
I didn’t believe in what was being taught there. As an empath, HSP, and intuitive, I knew that people were rich, complex, multi-layered beings with so much more than a set of symptoms to define them. I believed we all have our own journeys to travel, and that a healer should be someone who walks with us on that journey. Not someone who defines and limits us.
Becoming the Healer
As a healer, I serve others who feel deeply and are seeking a guide on their own journeys. As an expressive arts therapist, I bring forward healing tools that go beneath your every day way of being. Incorporating the arts into the healing process connects you to an ancient way of being that is alive in all of us. These places inside hold your shadow and your light, and once explored reveal their gifts to you. Therapy allows you to explore them safely, and embody the wisdom you gain from your journeys.
I am committed to supporting you in getting to know your own roles and masks with compassionate understanding. These roles and masks were created for a reason. They have served you throughout your life, even as they have also limited you. It’s important for us to know how, when, and why they were created, and what they offered.
FindYou Beneath the Masks
When you take the time to truly understand something, it changes you. Just like when you watch a performance and feel seen by an actor – whether or not they play a “good” or “bad” character, doesn’t matter. Some part of you that you hadn’t know existed was revealed. And you were changed by this.
When we allow ourselves to take the time to truly see and understand the roles we play, we are changed. When we consciously work to understand and step away from the roles we play, we change our lives forever.
I am passionate about helping you to discover the you underneath the masks – the you who is a mysterious, sacred being whom only you can truly know. This core, sacred space of you is your gift to discover.
It is from knowing and centering yourself in this sacred space of you that you can safely bring forward your unique gifts in this world. It is from this place that you can experience the true joy of being an empath.
Just as I rejected the pathologizing lens of therapy in my youth, I am still just as passionate about the life-long process of engaging in the decolonization of therapy and healing practices. You don’t need to be fixed. You just deserve a guide on the incredible journey back to who you truly are. We all do.
Therapy can help you do that.
Ready to Begin?
What masks are you wearing in your life? What roles do you play? And who are you underneath all of that? Are you ready to find out?
It’s hard to step off the stage and know who we are. But I’d be happy to guide you on your way.
Identities and Lineages
As part of my practice of decolonizing therapy, I believe it is important to name the different identities that have shaped my experience as a person. Though I continuously work to expand my experiences and perspective beyond what I grew up with, they still are messaging that have informed my way of being. Below you will find some of them. Feel free to ask about how I hold and relate to these identities, or questions about others that may be important to know about.
Knowing the lineages and experiences that inform your foundation, as well as the journeys, knowledge, and stories alive in your present being, reveals more of who you are. You are shaped by and also more than these things: where you come from, what has been done to you, what you have lost, where you have gone, what you have done, and what you have gained. You are a living embodiment of your unique and creative responses to all of these things.
You get to choose what guides your life.
I am a white person who was grown with the lands of the East Coast – the unceded lands of the Pennacook, the Abénaquis, and the Wabanaki Confedaracy, as well as the Munsee Lenape and the Wappinger.
Though I was raised without a strong connection to my ancestry, I hold the lineages of Irish, French-Canadian, and Blackfeet descent within me and through my ancestors. These legacies, mixed with my white identity and privilege, have shaped and formed my identity in ever evolving ways.
I am from a mixed class background, with the experiences of poverty mixed with lower middle class values informing my upbringing. I grew up speaking one language, American English, and both sides of my family had already lived in the colonized lands of the US for a few generations. I come from a generational military legacy, though was not raised with any active duty family members. I was raised with a bit of Catholic, a bit of Buddhist belief systems. My upbringing was very heteronormative.
I currently live and offer healing services in Northern, CA on the unceded lands of the Ohlone people. I am queer, genderfluid, and non-binary. I use the pronouns they and she interchangeably. I am an empath, a highly sensitive person, and an intuitive. I practice Earth Based spirituality, and I believe healing ourselves is intrinsically connected with healing the Earth.
I fully believe in each person’s unique and sacred healing journey – and I would be honored to guide you.
Training and Certifications
- Certification in “Working Psychologically with Spiritual Issues, Traumas, Teachers, Students and Communities” with Mariana Caplan LMFT at Real Spirituality
- Ecotherapy Immersion with Ariana Candell, LMFT of The Earthbody Institute
- Certified Hypnotherapist in “Spiritual Practice of Depth Hypnosis” with Dr. Isa Gucciardi at the Foundation of the Sacred Stream
- Advanced Shamanism and Applied Shamanic Counseling with Dr. Isa Gucciardi at the Foundation of the Sacred Stream
- Buddhist Psychology with Dr. Isa Gucciardi at the Foundation of the Sacred Stream
- Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in Expressive Arts Therapy from the California Institute of Integral Studies
- First Level Externship of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy
- Certified Sex Educator at San Francisco Sex Information Hotline (SFSI)
- Rape Crisis Counselor certification program at San Francisco Women Against Rape (SFWAR)
- Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drama from NYU Tisch School of the Arts