- Do you feel alone, like the only one in the world who deals with your kind of challenges?
- Do you desire to find new ways of dealing with issues in relationships?
- Are you struggling with anxiety, depression or isolation and fear that you may never feel confidence again?
- Are you a LGBTQNB youth or adult who needs someone experienced to understand and support you?
You may read these words and feel already seen and heard. My years of experience both as a therapist, as well as being a daughter of immigrants and minorities gives me an intimate understanding of what you may be experiencing.
Because I have worked with people of many different race, age, culture, background and sexual identity, I understand how to support you.
My practical experience with down-to-earth mental health training such as DBT, CBT and embodied creative arts will give you immediate access to tools to deal with the real challenges in every day life. You won’t just have insight about what’s holding you back, you will learn to step forward in your life with confidence.
Together, we can help you sit with painful or uncomfortable feelings and practice self-compassion and radical self-acceptance. You might be surprised to discover that these challenging emotions begin to let go of you.
You will learn “emotional regulation skills” so that your biology will help you be more present and less reactive, less negative.
As you learn to manage anxiety and depression, you may find it easier to communicate your needs and wants so you can be genuinely closer to people you care about. You may find that you naturally have healtier, ore resilient boundaries, so that people can get close to you.
You may have gotten feed back that you are too sensitive, too much, too distant or too difficult and so are afraid to get close to people. But I love the business of being a human being. I’m one of those people who was born to be a therapist. So you can count on the fact that I enjoy this work and will not get overwhelmed or exhausted from the honor of getting to work with you. I am doing the work I LOVE to do. And it makes me happy. Most people find that hard to believe. But it’s true!
I’m very motivated to help you stop the cycle of PTSD in my own life and family, and to help others to heal from trauma and abuse. I grew up with family members who survived and helped others to survive the Holocaust, as well as fighting in WWII. I heard their stories and admired their courage and heroism. I always knew that I would be someone with a purpose and that I would devote my life to help others.
Jess Specializes In:
- Anxiety Disorders
- Complex PTSD
- Relationship Issues
- Gender and Sexual Identity
- Psychotic Disorders
What sets me apart from the average therapist?
- I am aware that you have a unique life story, history, set of life experiences, and view of the world. I honor your life experiences and offer my skills, training and experience to help you move forward in direction that you value. We will discover together what’s important to you. You might be surprised that you enjoy the process as much as me. I too am just a person on my own journey
- I will relate to you with humility. My skills, training and natural inclination make me an expert in the change and growth process, but you are the expert in you. I honor your wisdom, skills and strengths. And I will learn from you.
- I especially people who have the most challenging obstacles such as generational abuse, poverty, mental illness, minority oppression. I know what kind of courage it takes to overcome these challenges and thrive.
- Sometimes the best solution is laughter, or taking a walk or getting a coffee. It’s important not to take life too seriously and to learn humility and how to laugh at oneself. You may not imagine you’ll have a good laugh in therapy, but will probably will.
- I love to work with the whole family, as a group and with family members individually. This way the system grows and differentiates, which supports your goals.
- I am very transparent about the therapy process and I try to demystify therapy. When I first meet my clients, I can tell that they are observing me, seeing if I want them to do “something” or if I have an agenda of some type. I think that this is a very good way for them to take care of themselves and I honor this process.
If I was to give you one golden piece of advice, right now, it would be this:
Be gentle with yourself. Everyone, no matter who they are, can be kinder to themselves and others.
- “I have learned how to trust myself and find ways to feel better. I feel heard and cared about during our sessions.”- young adult male.
- “I love our meetings. I feel like I am seen by you and you make me laugh even when I am going through a hard time.” –adolescent female.
- “I feel like you genuinely care and I have learned ways to question my negative thought patterns and have a choice in the matter.”- Adolescent male
- “You have helped my son and the whole family feel ok again. Your hopeful attitude rubs off on all of us.” Mother of a client and client in family therapy.
Books I Recommend
- Waking the Tiger, by Peter Levine. This book describes how crisis and trauma affect us at our cores and in our bodies, and also explains how to release trauma’s effect in our bodies. It also describes trauma in a way that is easy to understand and is relatable.
- Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl. This book literally describes the meaning of life in a very human and relatable way.
- I use many creative arts/therapy workbooks with my clients and in groups.
- I find The DBT Workbook by Marsha Linehan to be filled with practical wisdom.
FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions:
“How long will it take to see results from therapy?” Therapy becomes a part of ones life and there will be ups and downs, but ultimately, therapy pays off. If someone invests in themselves and their relationships they will reap the benefits. Together we will help you visualize goals, dreams. We set small goals and check in about them often. Even a single session helps. And many clients stay 6 months to a few years. Towards the end of our therapeutic relationship, your session frequency decreases as you gain confidence and ease.
How do you work with chronic anxiety? I can offer ways to identify triggers, thought patterns that perpetuate anxiety and offer support to face fear. There is a huge trust process with this and it takes lots of hard work and practice, but ultimately, folks can overcome severe anxiety, including agoraphobia and social anxiety.
How do you work with depression? You will learn to both confront depression and identify ways to make changes in your life, as well as work alongside depression finding ways to experience joy again, connect to others and decrease isolation.
How do you work with communication issues? Together, I help you learn to first identify your needs and wants, and realize your Personal Bill of Rights. Once you awaken to the importance of these foundations, I will show you some cool ways to communicate those needs to others in a way that brings people closer.
How do you work with families, and the “systems” I live and work in? I can help you find ways to work within a system, meet requirements, problem-solve through tough issues and still remain an individual.
What if I have problems functioning in every day life or have special needs? I can offer skills training, community resources, relationship coaching, communication techniques and conflict resolution training. These basic skills help one function better in one’s life.
Have you worked with gender identity? I have worked with LGBTQNB youth and adults, and provided support to them, as they navigate through a constantly changing political climate, defining identity and relationship and deal with day-to-day issues.
My Training and Experience
Mental Health Experience and Skills
- 15+ years of experience working in the mental health field with a variety of job roles including providing clinical supervision and experience contributing to the development of a new program.
- 5+ years of community mental health- working within a multidisciplinary team that provided psychiatric services, Peer Wellness Support, 24 hour crisis response, individual, group and family counseling, advocacy, linkage, vocational, housing and educational wraparound support, and entitlement assistance and current drug and alcohol treatment modalities.
- 5+ years of clinical therapy experience: conducting ongoing comprehensive assessments, treatment planning, conducting individual, group and family therapy.
- Experience with a variety of populations including: people with developmental and physical disabilities: including the medically fragile, support for death and dying issues, people with complex PTSD and trauma issues, homeless youth and adults, incarcerated and “at risk” youth, sexual and racial minority-status youth, families, the elderly in Alzheimer’s and memory care treatment, and young adults with SPMI, dual diagnosis, severe trauma and Autism Spectrum Disorder.
- Familiar with various therapeutic techniques: evidence-based creative arts therapies, family and systems therapy, current drug and alcohol treatment modalities, Harm Reduction, Motivational Interviewing, CBT, DBT, Trauma focused-CBT, Cooperative problem solving, reducing self harm incidents in high risk youth and bereavement therapy.
- I currently use a very client-centered, recovery-model, developmental, DBT, psycho-educational and strengths-based approach.
Clinical Mental Health Therapist Work Experience
Care Coordinator III/Screener. Lifeworks NW- EASA Team, Washington Co. OR. (11-14 to 9-16 )I was hired as a screener and QMHP care coordinator for the early assessment support team, for adolescents and young adults with prodromal psychotic symptoms. I work within a trans-disciplinary, community-based team, including a peer support specialist. I provide case management, QMHP documentation including treatment plans, behavioral health assessments and coordinate with referents including parole officers, and other support persons. I provide multi family group therapy, family therapy/coordination, individual and Art group therapy. I also provide advocacy, psycho education and community education.
Case manager and Counselor III. Cascadia Behavioral Health Care, Portland, OR. (4-13 to 6-14) Worked as a case manager and primary counselor in residential treatment. My clients had serious and pervasive mental illness as well as co-occurring complex trauma, A & D issues, developmental disabilities and challenges with daily functioning. I provide case management, support with entitlement assistance, advocacy, individual, family and group counseling, skills training and consultation. I also work with parole officers, case managers through DHS, CPS, APS and county and state agencies. The majority of my clients are youth and young adults. I was also a part of implementing, establishing and creating a new program, and providing clinical supervision for Peer Wellness and residential staff.
Counselor 2 and Employment Specialist. Telecare Act Program, Gresham, OR. (9-12 to 4-13) Community mental health- working in a multidisciplinary team that provides psychiatric services, 24 hour crisis response, individual, group and family counseling, advocacy, linkage, vocational, housing and educational wraparound support, and entitlement assistance. I was a counselor and a vocational specialist.
Art Therapist. The Edward’s Center, Portland, OR. (9-11 to 6-12) Worked with adolescent and adult clients diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, MR-DD, seizure caused dementia, OCD and Intermittent Explosive Disorder. I conducted comprehensive assessments, created personalized treatment plans, and ran groups, individual and family therapy. I also referred clients to community services when needed and communicated with birth and foster families to establish advocacy.
Art Therapist. Harbor Care Residential Center, Portland, OR. (9-10 to 6-11) Conducted comprehensive assessments, created personalized treatment plans, and ran groups for elderly clients, all diagnosed with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, anxiety and various personality disorders. All of the clients also spoke only Mandarin Chinese.
Portland State University, 2004 – 2009
Bachelors Degree of Fine Arts, Minor in Psychology
Marylhurst University 2009 – 2012
Masters Degree in Art Therapy/Counseling- MA
LPC – Licensed Professional Counselor in Oregon 2016