I was born and raised in San Francisco, CA. I grew up in a blended family system, which is a fancy way of saying my parents got divorced, my dad was an alcoholic, my uncle wasn’t actually my uncle, and my cousins aren’t actually my cousins. I am Filipino and Jewish and also the first in my family to graduate from college. In 2013, I moved to Washington with my wife, who is from Olympia. I have a master’s degree in counseling psychology from Saint Martin’s University as well as a master's degree in education and a bachelor's degree in English literature from the University of California, Berkeley. I primarily work with young adults and adults. Before becoming a counselor, I taught high school English and ESL for nearly 10 years in the San Francisco Bay Area and in the Olympia area. I stepped away from teaching in 2016 to pursue a career in counseling. When I’m not working, I watch movies, read, and pretend to be famous while playing the guitar.
I agree with Jungian psychoanalyst James Hollis when he says: "We are invited to take a different view of our symptoms. Our first natural desire is to suppress them. But we must learn to read them as clues to the wounded wishes of the soul." For most of us, it’s a struggle just to recognize our own feelings. How many times have you heard someone say they’re fine when they’re clearly not? How many times have you yourself done this? It’s very normal. We do it for lots of reasons. Sometimes we disconnect because it’s the only way to survive through a traumatic or harmful situation. Sometimes we grow up with disconnected adults and never learn other ways of being. Sometimes our cultures bestow values and expectations around feelings that end up conflicting with our own personalities. You need space to sort through these things. Work and school will not afford you this space. Family and friends might not either. This is what counseling is for.