As a child, I was very curious about why we do what we do and why we are alive—in essence, what is the reason we are here. These burning questions escalated into an existential crisis during my teen years where I felt my own impermanence dominate my experience. Within this looming sense of lack, I wondered: if there is nothing stable, if all that exists and all we are is impermanent, then why do anything in life? In my core, in the space where psyche meets essence, I sensed that what I was pursuing outwardly would not bring me true joy, peace, love, and, ultimately, liberation. This realization was the beginning of my life’s journey.
At 15, I studied the philosophical writings of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky for 2 years. I still clearly remember my awe in reading the first paragraph of “In the Search of the Miraculous”, which talked about how human beings, without getting to truly know ourselves, we are merely automatons. The words resonated deeply: no, I did not want to be on ‘autopilot’ and numb anymore in my life. I want to be authentic and alive.
As my spiritual search continued, I encountered Suzuki Roshi’s book “Zen and the Art of living”. That was when I instantly realized that I am Buddhist at heart. I became a voracious reader of sacred texts from the East and started attending workshops, seminars, teachings, and retreats. As I entered the world of psychology and spirituality, I found a calling to Vipassana (insight) meditation and practiced with several groups in New York City for 10 years. During those years, I had completed my undergraduate degree in Psychology and my Master’s degree in Counseling at Queen’s College, New York, and begun to work in public schools helping teens maneuver the challenges of adolescence.
While attending graduate school, I completed my advanced yoga teacher training at the Shivananda Ashram in Montreal. Shortly after, I started teaching yoga and became increasingly interested in the intersection of yoga and psychotherapy, as the somatic field of therapy was newly burgeoning at the time.
In my pursuits, I completed a certification program called Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy, which integrated yoga, breath work, and movement as an integrated model for therapy. Once I started integrating this method in my work, I was deeply moved by the healing I witnessed in my clients. Realizing the importance that the body holds in processing, configuring, storing and transforming psychic material, as well as how – therefore- the body offers us profound doorways to healing, I decided to specialize further in the field of somatic psychotherapy. Beginning with the teachings of Wilhelm Reich and continuing with the works of Carl Jung (particularly focusing on his notion of individuation process and the Magnus Opus of Alchemy), all the way to the works of Bessel Van Der Kolk and his teachings regarding how the body stores trauma, my study explored all major approaches and methods to somatic healing.
At the age of 30, I encountered Tibetan Buddhism and became a devoted student of several teachers for 20 years. During those years, I also begun my post-graduate studies in East-West Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies. Through my doctoral work, I sought to integrate the philosophy and practices of both worlds, that I was at the time passionately exploring, first of all within myself, and then in my psychotherapeutic practice and my work with clients. In addition, I completed a certification in Tibetan Yoga called Tsa Lung from the Ligmincha Institute in Virginia under the guidance of Alejandro Chaoul.
In 2005, I started working in private practice specializing in addiction and trauma. My experience up to that point helped me understand the source of why my clients where suffering and I dedicated my time and energy to the study of addiction and trauma, in parallel to my deepening spiritual exploration of the nondual teachings of Dzogchen and Advaita Vedanta.
Through my work with clients, it became clear that trauma – a major source of suffering in many people’s lives – could be more effectively understood as any event (or series of events) that causes an interruption in the pursuit of one’s goals. The original event (or events) may have ceased or even faded away; yet, something in our natural, creative flow towards expansion and thriving, seems to be ruptured: it is that rupture that we call trauma.
At that time, the field of trauma treatment was evolving into a new understanding regarding the importance of neuroplasticity and the role of meditation and somatic therapy. In 2015, I completed my initial certification in EMDR therapy and in 2016 my advanced certification in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). EMDR is currently recognized as the most effective, cutting-edge trauma treatment, as it integrates psychotherapy, somatic healing and neuropsychology. Incorporating EMDR into my practice changed completely the effectiveness and the speed at which my clients were healing. Ever since, I have incorporated EMDR into my psychotherapy with every client no matter what issue they identify. EMDR has proven to be most effective in helping clients develop emotional regulation and, most importantly, transform the negative self-perceptions into compassion and love for themselves.
For the past 30 years, I have devoted my life to guiding others along their journey to healing – which is, in essence, a journey to wholeness.