They say, “Do what you love and never work a day in your life”, well, I don’t know who “they” are, but they are right!
I knew I wanted to be a therapist after finding a book about Freud when I was 10 years old. I was a voracious reader and I was captivated! Yeah, I know I was a nutty little kid, but I held fast to my dream.
When I was 18, my life took a different path and I became a hairstylist instead, as I had a young son to support. I loved that work – the fast pace, the creativity, the mixing of chemicals in the backroom… it was FUN! The best part though, was learning about my clients through their stories and becoming a trusted part of their lives. People tell their hairdressers everything, right? What better training ground!
I worked as a hairdresser off and on for 18 years and spent the rest of the time raising 3 beautiful children. When my children were a bit older, I decided I wanted to go back to school and fulfill my dream of being a therapist. I went back to school in 2003 and then started working in mental health in 2005. At first, I helped co-running groups with children and then worked with men diagnosed with schizophrenia within a small locked facility. While working there, I finished my undergrad in psychology in 2005 and started grad school in 2006.
In 2008, I was hired by the Washington Department of Corrections and moved into forensic mental health. I have worked in forensic mental health, at a variety of facilities in the Pacific NW, for 13 years. In 2017, I worked at a couple of ‘community health’ facilities and even spent some time working at the Multnomah County Jail. It’s all been a wonderful, wild ride but I am ready now for new challenges, and thusly, I decided to leave forensics behind and move into private practice.
I love working with individuals and couples! I have years of experience with ‘people of color’ (is that a politically correct, relevant phrase anymore? I don’t know… 🙂 ) and years of experience with just about every mental health concern imaginable. I have many “specialties”, as in mental health topics that I like to help with, but my top specialties are anxiety/depression; identity issues; LGBTQ issues, intimacy issues and couples’ issues (intimacy, sex, divorce). My counselor ‘style’ is client-centered and solution-centered based in Mindfulness. I utilize various exercises/skills teaching and journaling as my modality of change with my clients. We will always work in collaboration together… Your therapy is all about YOU!
I have practiced as a therapist for the last 15 years utilizing client-centered, solution-centered, strength-based style combined with empathy, validation and compassion to form a strong therapeutic relationship. I view my therapeutic role as one “with the heart of a teacher” in which I spend time finding out what the client desires in their life and then teach the client ways to create and attain their own vision of success through holistic, collaborative effort.
My specialty is working from a trauma informed standpoint teaching Mindfulness for symptom management and distress tolerance. Starting where the client is on their therapeutic journey the learning/practice of Mindfulness allows for the exploration of belief systems and offers the client consistent safety and support needed for them to shift beliefs and try new behaviors.
I am a proud member of the LGBTQ community! In my personal life, I love spending time playing with my dog, growing mushrooms, writing group materials and having many outdoor adventures with my wife such as kayaking (she paddleboards, I am the kayak!), hiking, camping and foraging in the forest. We also love to do art projects and cook together. I look forward to hearing your story and helping you meet your goals in life… I can promise your hard work will be worth it!