​ ~Beginner's Mind~


~No Dogma~


~Use What Works~


~Leave The Rest~

~Compassion & Integrity​~

Mountaintop view of clouds and trees

*In 2009, after experiencing GSRD-related micro-aggressions during my first week in psychology graduate school (it was suggested that we attend Folsom Street Fair to observe a "different culture"), I began to network with other altsex-positive folks who were alumni of my program. That was how I met Dr. Keely Kolmes, who after hearing my story decided to form Bay Area Open Minds--kink-aware and poly-friendly psychotherapists affirming gender, sexual and relational diversity.

Professional Affiliations:

Dr. Josie Valderrama

Online Therapy
Dr Josie 2014 Doctorate Ceremony

As a feminist psychotherapist,

the ultimate goal is Client Empowerment.

 

I believe emergence from a primarily ego-focused consciousness into alignment with the unified consciousness is key to one's liberation. Much of society's illusory programing is meant to induce a sense of fear and impending malice--a projection which can then be internalized in our relationship with ourselves. Inner trust is key, as is moving into the counterbalancing forces of love and connectedness between all things.


The ego is often at the forefront of entrenched polarized consciousness. But we do not vilify the ego, which is a natural and necessary layer of our true self. Rather, we learn to have a balanced self-concept: generative, integrative and with a sense of humor about ourselves. 


A child of the 1980s, I trained as a therapist during a mid-life career transition. My doctorate in clinical psychology added to an existing knowledge base focused on business, media and creative expression. This foundation is international, transpersonal, multicultural and bohemian in its perspective. Indeed, personal experience with struggles including anxiety, compulsive behaviors, harsh self-judgment, perfectionism, procrastination, nihilism, and a lack of clarity in values compelled me to pursue deeper answers in order to relieve suffering, become more grounded, and act upon my life's mission. 


As a human being, my core values revolve around adventures of consciousness, fulfillment of the soul's calling, and compassion above all else. As a therapist, I strive to balance unconditional positive regard with discernment. 


Mindfulness exercises are frequently utilized to bring clients back to present moment awareness. These interventions may entail asking the client to explore their subjective somatic experience. Mindfulness-directed inquiries help illustrate many things including how each and every situation calls for a uniquely tailored response, one which considers a balance of opposing forces.  


There are no simple answers or one-size-fits-all manuals of 'how to get better. ' Instead, I help people find their own unique way. My focus is on facilitating consciousness to support a moment-by-moment awareness, which I believe is necessary to maintain the dynamic readjustments found within a stable, enriched and vibrant life.

 

By clearing away obscuring veils  and tuning into the essence  of one's reality, we make our own solutions. I endeavor to tap into the flow of what is alive for my clients in the here and now, fostering clarity, peace of mind and effectiveness.

 

A key goal is to help individuals learn to read and trust their own signals in order to  connect with their internal compass. These signals may come in the form of emotions, physical sensations, memories, hunches, dreams, strokes of inspiration, and the like. 


We search for that sweet spot where intuition and intellect overlap - what is called 'Wise Mind' in dialectical therapy. I see my role as facilitator--encouraging self-determination within clients while holding a space for the exploration of thoughts, feelings, and mindful action.  

 

Existentially & Spiritually-Integrated

In my consideration of multicultural facets, I include a spiritually-integrated approach, assessing for each client's belief-based strengths and vulnerabilities. In recent years, I have been supplementing my western clinical training with immersion in shamanic practices. Under the tutelage of Liana Xochitl Soria of The Healing Mind Center, I completed a certificate of shamanism in 2019. I believe shamanism is one representation of a vital piece of innate spirituality  which integrates the shadow and other aspects of Oneness in ways mostly left out of more modern traditions. Part of this new phase of personal and professional exploration has been inspired by Babaylan, the indigenous shamanic tradition from my father's homeland, the Philippines.


Through shamanic studies and practices, I have discovered vital components of trancework which were missing from the clinical trance modalities of Ericksonian hypnotherapy and related approaches for which I have previously received training. Too often, these western interventions have excised protective aspects of trance journeying (e.g. energetic grounding & boundaries, ceremony, the use of rhythm and movement, the importance of reverence) which were perceived as superfluous, rather than the necessary integrative context for such deep and powerful work with the unconscious.

 

For many, the addendum of intensive and extraordinary experiences (e.g. shamanic journey, Vipassana retreat, Hoffman process, Esalen, Trance Camp, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)  to name just a few possibilities) may further enrich healing and insight, deepening into one's multidimensional self. While I currently do not offer these directly, I support clients in developing their own program of personal growth. The work takes place not just in a 50 minute therapy session, but in daily life and beyond.


We are experiencing a time in which many have been moved to reclaim what was formerly dismissed, denigrated and lost within our industrialized hegemonic society. By embracing a perspective which honors the wisdom of indigenous ancestors and ancient traditions of the sacred primal, the animistic and the feminine divine, we promote greater inclusion, diversity and unfolding of a unified and harmonious consciousness.

 

Psychological Theory

My background in psychological theory relies on a foundation of Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT). ACT encourages a nuanced mentality which accepts seeming contradiction and non-resolution. It embraces the paradox of non-duality over the binary.  For instance, one situation may call for an individual to practice further restraint and contemplation. Whereas a totally different situation may call for opposite tactics of  speedy action and greater assertiveness. 

 

The ACT approach emphasizes the practical development of meditative qualities to ease stress and expand awareness, and also focuses on values-driven action for greater fulfillment. Overlaying this foundation are three important approaches which connect mindfulness with felt-sense attunement, natural trance states, and reparative inner dialogue: Somatic Experiencing™ (SE),  Self-Relations psychology, and Parts Work. SE is an alternative therapy that addresses trauma by focusing on the client's perceived sensations in the body - it posits that trauma is held as much in the physical body as in the intellect. I have over 50 hours of SE practitioner training.  


Both SE and Dr. Stephen Gilligan's Self-Relations psychology, a form of generative trancework, allow the therapy session to go beyond traditional talk therapy through exercises which organically allow for deeper brainwave states. With almost 300 hours of training in Self-Relations, this transformative technique has greatly deepened my personal growth as well as informed my practice as a psychologist. Self Relations is  a transpersonal approach which employs aspects of hypnotic technique but with a focus on empowering the client to provide the content and equally collaborate in the shared field of experience.  A student of hypnotherapy pioneer Milton Erickson, neuroscientist Karl Pribam (holographic brain theory), and Gregory Bateson (anthropologist & cyberneticist pioneer) as well as a contributor to the founding framework of Neurolinguistic Programming, Stephen Gilligan has served as an important fellow psychologist and mentor. In his words, generative trancework can allow oneself to "understand and learn how to construct, deconstruct, and reconstruct psychological identity and realities... to create states for transformation, healing, and creating significantly new realities."

 

For Parts Work, I draw on two frameworks: Internal Family Systems (IFS) and the ACA/Dysfunctional Families program.  Parts Work recognizes the multiplicity of voices within each of our psyches, and allows for a re-integration of all the parts of this inner society through compassionate acceptance, curiosity and active dialogue between neglected and controlling aspects.  In sum, a blend of integrative therapeutic strategies can provide a powerful framework for transformative change.

 

My clinical experience has covered a broad range of clientele with a particular concentration on women of color,  trans and non-binary folks, the LGBTQ+ community, and those in alternative relationship practices including non-monogamy and BDSM. During my training, I had the privilege of working extensively with elders during the last stages of life,  as well as the Native American diaspora within the Bay Area.

 

​*As a queer femme non-binary Filipino American, I am proud to serve FilAm & QTBIPOC communities. As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and adult sexual assault, I welcome fellow survivors. As a former professional dominant, I welcome sex workers of all persuasions.*

 

Academic Background, Publications, & Engagements:

  • Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.), Alliant International University, California School of Professional Psychology (2014). 
  • Dissertation: Development & Validation of a Problematic Smartphone Use Scale ( 2014).
  • Publication: Co-authored book review ("Locating Neurobiological Abnormalities in Internet Addiction")  in APA's PsycCRITIQUES, 2015.
  • Subject matter expert for 2022 revision of the California Psychology Law and Ethics Examination (CPLEE) - Exam Construction.
  • Panel speaker: Increasing Competency Working with POC in Sex Positive Communities (Bay Area Open Minds workshop April 13, 2019)
  • Clinical Supervisor, Liberation Institute 2019-Present
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Journal: Prompts and Techniques to Practice While Building the Life You Want (author) 2022.