Specialties and Certifications
● Neuro-inclusive Nourishment Specialist
● Neurodiverse Individual Specialist
● Neurodiverse Couples Specialist
● Autism & ADHD Assessment Specialist
● Associate Marriage and Family Therapist
● Personally went through ADHD & Autism assessments
● I am in a neurodiverse marriage
● Proud first generation immigrant from Egypt
● Intimate relationship with grief after losing a parent
● Former attorney
● Masters of Science, Marriage and Family Therapy - San Diego State University
● Post-Baccalaureate Psychological Science Program - University of California, Irvine
● Juris Doctor - Georgetown University Law Center
● Bachelor of Arts, Political Science - University of California, Los Angeles
I am a first generation Egyptian-American lawyer turned therapist with ADHD and autism. My younger self struggled with the pressure to conform both culturally and neurotypically. I believed that I would only have a healthy life and happy relationships if I forced myself to be “normal.”
I later learned that celebratory self-acceptance opens the door to meaningful connections. I now take pride in my neurodivergence. So much so, that if given the option, I wouldn’t switch brains. Even if it would have definitely made my childhood and adolescence easier. Why? Because my neurodiversity connects me to a community of resilient and amazing folks.
It’s now my life’s mission as a therapist to support and celebrate other neurodiverse individuals and couples. This world wasn’t designed with our needs in mind, but this world is made better because we’re in it.
You deserve to feel seen and understood, too!
MONICA'S MAIN FOCUS
Autism & ADHD Assessments
Receiving an Autism or ADHD assessment from a fellow neurodiverse therapist can be transformative and empowering. I have a lived experience of navigating the challenges of being undiagnosed for decades because I did not appear like the societal standard for neurodivergence.
Most missed cases are people who are female, racially and ethnically diverse, or were considered twice exceptional as children. My own personal and clinical experience has made me particularly attuned to recognizing neurodivergent traits that can differ across demographic groups. My inclusive and comprehensive assessment process has been crucial and life changing to those who may not have initially considered an autism or ADHD diagnosis due to their gender, age, or cultural background.
Unlike a standard doctor's visit that can sometimes feel rushed, alienating, or judgmental, my focus is on creating a personalized and empathetic experience. You're not just a case; you're an individual with a unique journey.
Seeking an assessment from a fellow neurodiverse therapist isn't just about getting a diagnosis – it's about gaining an ally who recognizes the distinct path you're on. Let's work together to uncover and embrace your neurodivergent identity, ensuring you receive the understanding and support you deserve.
Women often go undiagnosed with autism and ADHD until adulthood. This is due in large part to society's narrow view of what neurodiversity looks like, and the societal pressure uniquely placed on women to mask in order to assimilate. This forced mask, that often starts from early childhood, has long term complications. Due to the significant amount of invisible effort that masking requires, neurodiverse women experience higher rates of anxiety and depression.
Eventually, masking can lead to burnout, isolation, and can heighten the impact of sensory sensitivities. It’s hard enough living in a world that was not designed for neurodiverse individuals, but having to hide these differences can make living a healthy and connected life near impossible.
We may look like high performers, or told by friends, family, and peers that we are “normal,” all while feeling off-kilter and isolated. After decades of masking, women often find themselves wondering “Who am I?” And I can tell you from personal experience, that battling that question alone is terrifying. Here’s the good news: You don’t have to figure it alone or in an environment that judges or pathologizes you. By working with a neurodiverse therapist, you can learn to celebrate your differences and create a world for yourself in which you thrive.
The Paradox of Food
Food is paradoxical. It’s necessary for survival, yet can feel like torture. It’s deeply personal, yet everyone around you has an opinion. It’s supposedly simple, and yet it’s often complicated. Food can simultaneously feel fun and connecting, and yet dangerous and isolating. For the neurodiverse mind, this paradox is understandably frustrating and overwhelming. Eating “properly” felt like a full time job that I never had enough energy for thanks to sensory issues, executive dysfunction, and the shame of not conforming to the “societal norm.”
Because, of course, the media, family, friends, peers and literal strangers, have a lot to say
about our food and our bodies. It’s incessant, aggravating, contradicting, and completely
unrealistic. It doesn’t take into account your specific history, trauma, medical needs, culture, neurotype, or preferences!
So let’s opt out of those societal expectations, and figure out what you need together. Without judgment, without coercion, and with lots of empathy, because I’ve lived the struggle too. A nourished body and a peaceful mind are possible.
What is often missing from traditional couples counseling is the acknowledgment of diversity in neurotype, culture, career, and family dynamics. Drawing on my own personal experiences, which involve navigating the complexities of cultural adaptation, major career transitions, and my own neurodiverse marriage, I am dedicated to supporting couples in similar situations.
Our approach is rooted in acknowledging and celebrating these diversities, while working collaboratively with couples to create a harmony and synergy unique to them. In our sessions, we delve into the intersectionality of neurodiversity, culture, career, and family influences, with the goal of fostering a holistic approach to your relationship dynamic. Together, we explore the intricate interplay of these factors, creating a space where understanding, resilience, and celebration of differences form the foundation for lasting connections.
To put it simply: It’s impossible to truly know someone without acknowledging what makes them different. And as the old adage goes… to know someone is to love someone.
This is a therapy experience that not only acknowledges the diverse facets of your relationship, but also embraces them as catalysts for growth and harmony.
Other Areas of Focus
Neurodiverse Counseling and Coaching
Couples and individual life transitions
Depression and Anxiety
Grief, loss, and shame
Autism & ADHD Assessments
Autistic, ADHD, Highly Sensitive People
Neurodiverse clients with eating struggles
In my therapy practice, I use and am trained in the following client-centered modalities as they align with my belief in the significance of emotions, personal narratives, and the mind-body connection in healing and personal growth:
Emotionally Focused Therapy
Internal Family Systems