BACKGROUND AND PROFESSIONAL TRAINING
Skilled in a broad range of psychotherapy modalities and social change approaches, Tony brings his expertise to counseling and advocacy for children, families and adults. Along with his Masters degree specializing in the treatment of children, youth and families, Tony’s training includes Social Work, Psychology, Sociology, Forensics, Public Policy and Community Organizing and Development. Key positions in the field have included: University Faculty Instructor, Mental Health Consultant to a Public Defender’s Office, Senior Psychiatric Social Worker at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, and Clinical Supervisor at a local outpatient mental health facility. Tony is licensed by the State of California and now in private practice offices in Los Angeles.
After completing his Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), Tony received his Master of Social Welfare degree from the University of Denver, Graduate School of Social Work in 1997, specializing in the treatment of children, youth and families. He was deemed “Outstanding Student” by the Graduate Student Association and was the sole recipient of the Dean’s award for meritorious service to the Graduate School of Social Work and to the social work profession.
From 1997 to 2000, he served on the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. Working to advance to the State’s plan to merge mental health with juvenile corrections, he led in the efforts to begin resolving the problems of juvenile delinquency, chronic mental illness and substance abuse, co-occurring, within the State’s youthful offender population at Lookout Mountain Youth Services Center, a maximum-secure correctional facility for adolescents. He provided individual, group and family therapy, including drug and alcohol counseling; trained corrections workers and masters-level interns to effectively identify and treat mental illness. He was later appointed to the position of Director of Family Services for the 24-bed specialized mental health unit for serious and chronic youthful offenders.
Following his return to Los Angeles in 2000, he furthered his experience working with the “hard-to-treat” child and adolescent population by accepting a clinical teaching position with the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office, Juvenile Division. Here, he accepted the unique challenge of delivering psychiatric consultation services to teams of attorneys, judges, probation officers and child welfare workers on behalf of severely emotionally disturbed adolescents who were charged with criminal offenses and awaiting trial. This experience equipped him the skills necessary to increase the public’s awareness of the reality and debilitating effects of childhood mental illness. It also taught him how to skillfully navigate the legal, educational, mental health and child welfare systems with the primary purpose of securing, and sometimes creating, the specific resources needed to meet the comprehensive mental health needs of his clients.
Tony has spent the last eight years delivering outpatient psychotherapy to children and adolescents who are functionally impaired by severe and persistent mental illness and come from multi-racial/multi-ethnic backgrounds, economically disadvantaged households, including those youth who are wards or dependents of the juvenile court in need of mental health services. Many are handicapped students identified by local educational institutions as special education pupils. He engages allied child welfare agencies, educational and social institutions in creating supportive infrastructures designed to meet the individual mental health and developmental needs of his clients and their families.
Tony serves on the clinical field faculty of several local universities, including the University of Southern California (USC) and the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). He is an educational consultant to the Family Services Program at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center and has been a guest lecturer for several organizations including the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Tony has proven himself to be a highly valued counselor, teacher, advocate and social engineer to hundreds of people throughout the course of his professional career.