A basic guiding principle in my work is that, when we are able to really see and accept where we are, and who we are, we begin to heal and grow. As the writer and teacher Stephen Levine put it, “To heal is to touch with love that which was previously touched by fear.” In this, we have to start where we are. I see therapy as a sacred space, a place of safety in which we can allow ourselves to go deeper into our experience of ourselves, the other, and of our life as a whole. There is a trust I have found in this, that if we attend to what comes up in this place, it will lead us through.
I graduated from Vassar College in upstate New York and then worked and studied at Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, where I studied Gestalt Therapy and Gestalt Awareness Practice. I did my graduate training at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, California before settling with my family in the Portland area.
I have over 12 years experience doing individual, couple and family counseling. I started my career working with children and teens in a residential psychiatric setting. I have worked in a foster care agency providing counseling for foster children and foster families, and worked in community mental health providing intensive in-home therapy to support families going through crisis. As I transitioned to private practice work, I also focused more on working with couples, which has now become one of the main focuses of my practice.
Overall, my style is what would be called humanistic and holistic, which means I see you as a whole person, with your own inner wisdom and innate health, who is in need of some guidance and assistance at this time in your life. It also means that I see the relationship between us as an important part of what will contribute to your growth. As such, I strive to create an open, safe and trusting relationship and setting for you to explore your life and experiences in a way that is authentic, healing and inspiring.
My way of working is informed by a number of therapeutic approaches, the primary ones being Gestalt Therapy and attachment-based therapies including Emotionally Focused Therapy (for couples and families). I integrate trauma-based therapeutic approaches when this is helpful for my clients.
One of the threads that has run through my work throughout my career is working with parents. As a parent of four myself, this work is especially close to my heart, and doing family work and supporting parents continues to be an important part of my practice. From having worked closely with the foster care system, working with foster and adoptive families has also been a particularly important focus of my work.
I have a background in transpersonal psychology and spiritual studies. If you are interested in incorporating your spiritual path into our work, let me know, and we can talk about how to bring this into to the therapeutic work we are doing together.