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    Dr. Sayaka

Most therapists are discouraged from self-disclosure.  I believe in equality in power dynamics with my clients, and for that, I feel like my clients have the right to know a bit about me if they choose.  So here it goes if you are curious.

Just like you, I am a unique blend of all sorts of talents and qualities as well as challenges and traumas.  I was born and raised in Japan and thanks to my Korean mother’s foresight, I always knew I didn’t belong there.  My laughter was a bit too loud,  too outspoken, competed with boys, challenged teachers, and I was “ugly” and “fat” for Japanese standards.  My mother is mentally ill, so there was both physical and emotional abuse at home.  But, I was very fortunate to have a father who was like a divine being, full of unconditional love.  Many more angels helped me along the way, and even my mother has been and still is an excellent teacher for me.


As I started traveling around the world and making friends everywhere, I started confirming that we can make our own reality even though culture has a lot of influence on us.  I was fascinated by what made everyone so different, and how similar situations do not cause people to feel or behave the same way.  I became very curious about the field of psychology.

After 2 years of majoring in English in Japan, I got the OK from the professors and a scholarship from SONY to transfer to UCSB.  My major?  Psychology, of course.  Universe always has fantastic plans, so I met my first husband within 6 months of being in Santa Barbara.  This older, sophisticated, handsome, successful, multi-lingual, surfing, motorcycle riding Brazilian man swept me off my feet, and we settled in Orange County.

Although I wanted go to a graduate school to become a sex therapist, my then husband and my mother did not like the idea.  My father was supportive, but I decided not to rock the boat.  My second choice was working with children, so after working for a bit, I went to my first graduate school to study school psychology.

I loved being a school psychologist at Orange County Department of Education (OCDE).  There, I learned about conscious power equality, where directors, principals, school psychologists, other specialists, teachers and paraeducators sat together, respected one another and treated each other like family members we cherished.  The way they all treated students with significant disabilities was beautiful, and I was honored to be a part of that.

Still, for me, my first husband was another great class I was taking.  He was everything I had wanted, yet, by being with him, I learned more of what is truly important to me and what is just “fluff”.  Although we still remain as close and trusting friends, we decided that it was time to part as romantic partners.

After divorce, I remembered what I truly wanted was to work in a sexuality field.  I was always the go-to-girl on any sex questions since junior high.  Throughout the years, I coached countless people.  I researched and I decided to go back to school, yet again.  

This time, I decided to take a risk and go to a non-traditional school.  The Institute for Advanced Studies of Human Sexuality is located in San Francisco, and their teaching method was NOT what I was used to.  They only admit very small number of students each trimester, and they expect you to already know the things that one can read in text books.  Most students have many years of experience in the sexuality field already.  If not, one just has to catch up to the speed.  The school’s aim is to confront one’s judgments and insecurities around sexuality, so many classes are experiential and/or taught by people who are representative of what we were learning about.  For example, classes on BDSM was taught by a professional dominatrix, and other by a couple practicing BDSM for a long time.  A class on disabilities and sexuality was taught by someone who was paraplegic.  You get the idea.

When one is in bliss, many more blissful things are bound to happen.  As I was so intrigued by all the classes, I had to meet a wonderful partner: Nick Karras, the famous photographer and the author of Petals (beautiful black/white photo book of vulvas) became my best friend, then a lover, and the most amazing partner for 7 years.  

Taking a leap of faith, I quit my wonderful and secure job as a school psychologist, moved in with Nick in San Diego, and concentrated on school.  After earning the Doctorate in Human Sexuality, the two of us then worked together, coaching and teaching workshops, lecturing in universities internationally, as well as being part of the Orgasm Team at the San Diego Sexual Medicine with world famous Dr. Irwin Goldstein.  We had so much fun together, and we eventually decided to let go of the partnership so we can fly independently.  We continue to nurture our beautiful friendship, and I am so grateful for the years we had together.

While practicing sexology, it became very evident to me that holistic happiness, including health, relational, spiritual, social, financial, and sexual alignment and fulfillment as well as contribution and legacy were the deepest desire for most people.  I also reflected on my ideas around sexuality, freedom, monogamy, commitment, meaning of life, and spirituality.  Learning and self-development are very important values for me, so I decided to go back to school once again so I can learn more relational aspect of therapy.


Around the same time, I started wondering if I could maintain my level of happiness and joy if I had more "real life challenges" such as children, financial difficulties, etc.  I also wanted to see if I could actually commit to a partnership for life, instead of staying together while it "worked".  Universe has a way to give me everything I want, so I was extremely fortunate to meet my current husband who had financial challenges and two children.  I learned to navigate step family dynamics, earn trust and love from my children, and manage financial turbulence and live in all abundance and joy with my lovely family.  I could not have learned how to open my heart so unconditionally had I not been with them. My love and commitment have deepened over the years, and now I also know that if we can face challenges and move through them, we can experience the next level peace and love.  

What I love the most is uplifting others in a friendly, compassionate yet honest and direct way while helping them be more authentically who they are and loving themselves. I love sitting in "discomfort" with my clients and help them see they can move through it and feel the true connection and joy.  I LOVE my life and I LOVE people.  If you want a coach or therapist who is truly happy, who will never judge you and love you unconditionally, asks deep questions and encouraging you to be more authentic, laughs and cries with you, help you see what "wholeness" feels like, then I might be a great fit.  Now, are you ready to discover your true beauty, joy, divinity and fulfillment?  Contact me today to schedule your initial appointment.

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