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Hi, I'm Ali.


Everything changed for me when I encountered Nonviolent Communication (NVC). It was 2006, and I was preparing for my psychotherapy licensing exam. A friend recommended Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life by psychologist and peacemaker, Marshall Rosenberg, and I took her up on her suggestion. As I read the book, I underlined nearly every sentence and dog-eared nearly every page; all the words and concepts resonated so strongly.


He wrote about ideas like:

  • All human beings have the same universal needs
  • Everything we do or say is an attempt to meet needs
  • Our feelings alert us to our needs, and
  • Everybody's needs matter - including mine!

I could relate to so much of what Rosenberg was saying about how we contribute to disconnection by thinking and speaking in the alienating ways we've been conditioned to. When things didn't go my way and difficult emotions arose, my attention tended to get swept away by beliefs about what was wrong with me or others. As I started to practice NVC, I noticed how it helped me in shifting my thinking from blaming myself or others to having more compassion for myself and others. Given the culture I grew up in that was dominated by judgmental (right/wrong, good/bad) thinking, I was so relieved to learn that there was another way —a more compassionate way to relate to myself and others.


I quickly found an NVC workshop to attend, and then another, and another, and another. I joined two weekly practice groups, went on retreats, and soon I was part of the most compassionate, thoughtful, loving community I’d ever known. I was home.


I took every opportunity I could to immerse in NVC learning environments and began assisting my beloved teachers. After a little while I led my first workshop (I was so nervous!). I was pleased with how it went, and the participants said they were, too, so I kept leading more. Now I lead NVC workshops for couples and for therapists. I also teach it to educators through Mindful Schools.


NVC shifted the way I practice therapy from an approach that was subtly problem-focused (What’s wrong?) to an approach that is firmly needs-focused (What are you longing for? How can we support you to have more of your needs met?). My extensive training in NVC has allowed me to listen with empathy to even the hardest-to-hear messages, always looking for the beautiful human needs behind anything anyone ever says or does. Rather than looking for what’s wrong, my ear and heart are tuned to what needs are alive in you and calling for your loving attention.


When I share NVC concepts and techniques with my clients, most of them find that it supports them in developing self-compassion and in relating to the people in their lives with more compassion and understanding. Inner and outer conflicts get resolved, more inner peace arises, and changes are made in service of needs — not out of fear, self-criticism, or inner demand.


EDUCATION 

I have been licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist since 2006, registered with the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (MFT 44090). I earned a Master's Degree in Integral Counseling Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), which emphasized the integration of western psychology and eastern philosophy/spirituality. In undergrad, I focused on studying alienation and social change. As a lifelong learner, I regularly participate in trainings and retreats to support my personal and professional development. 


EXPERIENCE

I have been a therapist since seeing my first client in 2002, and since then have worked in various settings including community mental health, addiction treatment, junior high & high school, clinical research, and writing training materials for other therapists. I specialize in helping people who are struggling in relationships develop the self-compassion and communication skills it takes to have satisfying connections. In addition to being a therapist, I also teach Nonviolent Communication (NVC) to therapists, educators, couples, and in various community settings. 


I joyfully put up my shingle in private practice in 2007, and I have been honored to support a diverse range of people since then. This is my life's work, and I put my heart and soul into each step of the way, especially each encounter with people who are seeking my help.



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