Acacia Spotlight: Leah Tappero, PhD

Acacia Spotlight looks to highlight the clinicians, staff, and programs that make Acacia what it is today. May’s clinician is Dr. Leah Tappero.

Dr. Leah Tappero in her office. Photo by Delara Taie.

Dr. Leah is a psychologist in the first 2019 Acacia office, La Jolla. After Soraiya Khamisa, La Jolla Director, Dr. Leah was the first clinician to join the growing group of all-stars in their office – located near the University of California, San Diego campus. Although new to Acacia, Dr. Leah is not new to La Jolla/San Diego, having moved here from Cambodia when she was just five years old. Dr. Leah is a well-established clinician in the college-student community and is often recognized and praised in her ongoing support for this population, even outside the Acacia team.

If we can identify what we are feeling, give ourselves permission to feel it, and express it with others it helps move us forward in life.

Why do you think therapy and discussing feelings is helpful?

Dr. Leah: Discussing feelings is helpful because our feelings are trying to give us information about how things in life are affecting us. If we can identify what we are feeling, give ourselves permission to feel it, and express it with others it helps move us forward in life. For some people their family and culture may not emphasize emotional expression so it can be hard to talk about feelings. Therapy can help people learn how to discuss their feelings to gain more insights about their life.

How do you self-care?

Dr. Leah: Having time for relaxation and restoration is so important. When I was younger it was hard to make time for self-care and to not feel guilty about taking the time for myself. Nowadays I make time for it and it’s such an important part of my life because it helps me manage stress. I like to spend time at home with my husband and three dogs. I love watching TV shows and movies. I bought a kindle last year and enjoy reading before bedtime. I also like to pamper myself by getting my nails done and getting massages.

Why do you enjoy working with college communities?

Dr. Leah: During my doctoral program when I began working with college students I found the work to be refreshing and challenging. College is a time of exploration and growth. Being able to provide support, advocacy, and guidance while clients navigate their time in college is something I’m really passionate about doing. I’ve worked at community colleges and four year universities and every client I’ve had has taught me a lot about my work as a psychologist.

Dr. Leah Tappero nurturing her plants. Photo by Delara Taie.

What’s your favorite thing about Acacia?

Dr. Leah: I really love working with the team at Acacia and with the clients that utilize our services. The team comes from diverse backgrounds and clinical training and I learn a lot from my colleagues. I look forward to coming to work everyday because each day is a new opportunity to help someone.

Lastly, we asked Delara Taie, Office Manager of La Jolla, how she would describe Dr. Leah.

Words that best describe Leah would be compassionate, inspiring, and warm-hearted.

What about Dr. Leah inspires you, your work, or the office culture?

Delara: Dr. Leah has a way of connecting with everyone through her compassion. While it’s so imminent in the work with her clients, she displays it throughout the office as well with the team. She offers hours outside her usual time if a client has to reschedule to make it more convenient for them — and that’s just one example. She walks into work every morning with a smile and spreads it throughout the day till she walks out. It’s her ability of showing her kind heart that she carries that inspires me most.

Stay tuned for more Acacia Clinician Spotlights! And check out Dr. Leah’s bio on the La Jolla page!

Are you interested in joining the Acacia team? Click here to browse open positions!

Authored (a little) by KorbyQuan Reed.

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