It was during Cristina’s college years at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) in which she realized she wanted to be a therapist. Cristina received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Women’s Studies from UCSB. Cristina was involved with her school community, being a part of an organization called “Students Stopping Rape” and being dedicated to her sorority’s philanthropy of Domestic Violence Awareness. She volunteered her time at Devereux while at UCSB. Devereux is a program for adults and elders with developmental/ intellectual disabilities and/or emotional disorders. Cristina assisted in the programs specifically with emotionally disturbed adolescent girls, spending time engaging the girls in activities that promoted the use of healthy communication skills and working together as a team, while maintaining safety. During college, Cristina also volunteered her time at The Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse. Here, she assisted facilitators with conducting group sessions on topics related to alcohol and drug recovery.
After graduating from UCSB, Cristina went on to receive her Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University. Cristina was a student, graduate assistant, and therapist trainee at Pepperdine. She provided individual and family therapy for adult clients with various presenting problems to improve interpersonal relationships at the Pepperdine Community Counseling Center. Here, Cristina learned to collaborate with a team of psychologists, MFT trainees, and graduate assistants to ensure well-being and quality of service to clients in the clinic.
While in the graduate program at Pepperdine, Cristina also provided individual and family therapy for court mandated adolescents at New Directions for Youth. She helped these teens on a variety of issues, ranging from trauma, anxiety, depression, gang affiliation/involvement, drug and alcohol abuse, etc.
Post acquiring her Master’s, Cristina worked on her hours towards licensure at D’Veal Family & Youth Services in Pasadena. Cristina provided school-based and home-based psychotherapy to children and families on culturally diverse issues such as interpersonal relationships, substance abuse, trauma, psychological stress, depression and anxiety. Cristina was trained in TF-CBT (Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), an evidence-based treatment approach shown to help children, adolescents, and their caretakers overcome trauma-related difficulties. Cristina used TF-CBT in particular with children and adolescents who experienced sexual abuse, physical abuse, and witnessed domestic violence.
As Cristina approached the end of her internship, she joined a Private Practice Group, first as an intern and then as an Independent Contractor. Cristina received her training in trauma work predominately at this group. She is currently at the group practice and also has her own Private Practice in Pasadena. At the group practice, Cristina co-facilitates both a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder group and a Survivors of Sexual Abuse group, in which clients with varying degrees of trauma come together to talk about their shared experiences in a safe and supportive space. Cristina joined Counseling and Anger Management 818 in January of 2012, where she conducts individual and family therapy.
Cristina also incorporates Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing ( EMDR) in her practice. EMDR is a form of psychotherapy that has been successful in helping people who suffer from trauma, anxiety, panic, disturbing memories, nightmares, etc. EMDR uses bilateral stimulation (such as eye movements or tapping) while the client attends to past memories and triggers, in efforts to decrease or eliminate emotional distress connected to the memory.
Cristina believes in people’s ability to learn about themselves. She helps them discover the critical connections between their past and present, their core beliefs, and the impossible expectations of their perfect self that restrict their freedom to be who they really are! Cristina believes that people have the answers to their own life challenges, but that life events, stress, tragedy, illness, or other factors, at times, interfere and block the ability to find the answers needed. As your therapist, Cristina will work with you to help you remove those blocks and enhance your true potential.
Cristina is a member of The California Associate of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT), Board Member of the San Gabriel Valley CAMFT Chapter, and Armenian American Mental Health Association (AAMHA).
Romanian and Armenian