Why I Chose This Work
If there's one thing that fascinates me, one thing I like to work on, one thing I want to improve or change or explore in my life, it is this: relationships. I spend my life building them, repairing them, making meaning of them, and relishing them: my spouse, friends, and family; my relationships with colleagues; and the therapeutic relationships I develop with clients. I am convinced that this is what it means to be human: to be in relationship. It's what makes life worth living.
When I’m helping clients articulate their issues, face their fears, and make transforming change in their lives, I feel my whole heart, mind, and spirit engaged in my work.
What I Bring to My Work
This might sound obvious, but I bring myself to my work. I can’t help you if I’m not willing to be authentic with you.
Have you ever worked with a counselor who you know is thinking one thing but saying another?
Maybe he was trying really hard to smile, and you knew he was actually anxious or upset.
Maybe she was trying to show interest, but you suspected that she wasn’t really listening to you.
It’s as if lots of counselors and therapists think they can’t just be ordinary human beings when they’re talking to their clients. Or they think their clients won’t notice if they’re faking it.
I assume that my clients need a counselor who will really listen. That’s a basic requirement. But listening means a lot more than hearing the words you say and responding with comments like, “I hear you.”
Listening means being fully present to you in our work together, and that means this:
Education, Career, and Professional Associations
I have worked in the field of psychotherapy for sixteen years. I began my studies in St. Paul, Minnesota, and received a Master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Pacific Lutheran University (Tacoma, WA) in 1999. I was licensed by the state of Washington as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in 2003 (license number LF00001982). I have provided psychotherapy to adult individuals, couples, families, and youth in agencies and other clinical settings in Puyallup, Tacoma, Federal Way, and Seattle.
I have worked with hundreds of clients over the years who have problems with anxiety, depression, attention, and grief. I am particularly experienced in working with clients who identify as gay or lesbian, and I've helped many clients address their questions about spirituality. I have spoken to several psychotherapy graduate-school classes about various issues, including working with same-sex couples, integrating systemic therapy with cognitive-behavioral therapy, and working with children diagnosed with ADHD. I am also working toward certification as an approved therapist supervisor with the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.
Please note that the word ‘Lutheran’ in the name of my graduate school refers to the university’s church affiliation, not mine, and their graduate programs are non-sectarian. I am happy to work with clients on spiritual concerns, but I provide non-sectarian psychotherapy to most of my clients. (In short, if God is in the room with us, she’s welcome to join us, but you invited her in, not me!)
I am a clinical member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy, and a proud member of the Greater Seattle Business Association.