I, Adelina, graduated from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (ITP) in Palo Alto with a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology in 2002 and received subsequent post-graduate training in Somatic Experiencing® (SE*), PsychoDrama (PD*) and NARM* (NeuroAffective Relational Model). I have worked with children at several local school districts and with teens, adults and seniors at non-profit community service agencies such as Asian Americans for Community Involvement and Momentum for Mental Health. I am licensed by the California Board of Behavioral Services as a Marriage & Family Therapist. I work with individual adults, couples, and families regardless of race, religion, nationality, marital status or sexual orientation. I am a member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists.
* - see Frequently Asked Questions
Adelina's Therapeutic Approach
Whether you have experienced several therapists before or this is your first try at therapy, I am glad that you are doing a search to find a therapist that fits your needs. Instead of utilizing one particular therapeutic approach, I work with people based on each person's need and the place they are at in life. At times I may use role play exercises to help you experience problems from a different perspective; at times I will use body language and simple movements to help you connect with your body, clear your mind, and ease intense emotions. I frequently used metaphor and analogy to catch the moment and help you concretize your feelings. I conduct counseling sessions in both Mandarin Chinese and English. Being in the United Stated for over 30 years I am bi-cultural and able to view issues from a wide perspective.
Adelina's Life Experience with Trauma and Therapy
My work with clients brings into the therapy room many different life stories that illustrate how therapy works. Of course I cannot share those accounts with you because of confidentiality, but I can share with you the following account of my own life experiences that gives me particular empathy as a therapist.
As a youngster in Taiwan I used to love to climb like a monkey on my father's grape vines behind our house. At the age of eight I was injured in an automotive accident that resulted in the amputation of my left leg above the knee. My monkey climbing days were over. In the many months before I could get a prosthesis my elder sister would carry me to school on her back. During recess I could only sit indoors and look out the window at my classmates playing. Even after I got a prosthesis, I could never run again.
In the traditional Chinese culture there are many superstitions about birth defects and handicaps so I knew my life had changed forever. No Chinese man would marry a handicapped person like me. I would never have children of my own.
In public school and college I learned some English so when I graduated I was able to get a job in the Purchasing Department of an electronics company. I never expected a job might lead to a complete change in the direction of my life. At that company I met an engineer who visited from America to inspect products we manufactured. After two years of letter-writing romance and a struggle to convince my parents, we were married and I came to America.
The new phase of my life in America was not all romance. In Taiwan I grew up near a bustling train station in a city. His (now my) house in Indiana was in the woods with only one other house within distant sight. There was no public transportation and I could not drive: the thought of injuring someone else in an auto accident paralyzed me. And English? Speaking it every day and avoiding misunderstandings with my husband was much tougher than ordering parts on a purchase order form. When I got depressed I did
not realize that what I was going through was another kind of trauma.
I began going to ESL (English as a Second Language) classes and then to Community College where I took typing and commercial courses to improve my English even more. While I was studying English I went to see Dr. Martin Brokenleg, a professor at a local college who is both a Native American and a licensed psychologist. When I told him about my fear of driving he said, "When you begin to drive you will be a very safe driver." After two sessions with him, I left his office saying, "I want his job." A few weeks later I had my driver's license and now I have his kind of job.
Eventually I passed the GRE (Graduate Record Exam) required to enter the university where I received a degree in Counseling Psychology. Just as I received my degree, my husband's job changed to California. Right after we moved I learned that California would not accept my mid-west degree. Hearing that was pretty stressful, but I went back to school and got a second Master's degree from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (now named Sofia University) in Palo Alto to satisfy California requirements. After accumulating the 3000 hours of practical experience required by the state, I passed the exams to become licensed in California.
Since becoming a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist I have continued my studies, particularly in Psychodrama and Somatic Experiencing®. The standard education for a psychotherapist is based on the cognitive (mental) approaches to therapy that have evolved from the early work of Sigmund Freud. A less well known contemporary of Freud, Jacob Moreno, was the originator of group therapy. Moreno developed a very effective therapeutic approach called Psychodrama, which is an action method that puts the whole body (not just the brain) to work during therapy. A more recent therapeutic process which also uses the body as well as the brain is the Somatic Experiencing® approach developed by Peter Levine. I have completed the three-year training course and am certified as a Somatic Experiencing Practioner (SEP). When appropriate I use Psychodrama, Somatic Experiencing®, or NARM* to augment standard talk therapy.
As an intern I facilitated a court-mandated 52-week domestic violence anger management class. Through learning the course materials and working with men and women from different backgrounds, I found myself developing a great compassion for working with couples. When I started my private practice, I understood that my DV training was not enough for me to work with couples having complex issues, so I attended trainings courses for various modalities of couple work. I found each modality has its own merit, so my couple work is not tied down to one particular modality. I did, however, find myself drawn to Relational Life Therapy invented by Terry Real. He addresses how each partner in a relationship is impacted by the upbringing they had as a child. Characteristics adopted as a child remain unconscious but functional within the adult. Therapy is about bringing the full functional characteristics of the adult into consciousness. Real’s philosophy allies well with my work on trauma.