“Sometimes we just need to make a change, navigate through a life transition, and lead the life we want to live”
Thank you for allowing yourself to be vulnerable, and congratulations on taking the first step on your road to recovery. There are many reasons why you might decide to get started in therapy. You might have difficulties with managing your moods, challenged by living with anxiety, have interpersonal problems, or struggle to work through previous trauma. Perhaps you are utilizing styles of thinking or behaviors that have served a purpose in the past as a means of survival or coping, but now have become problematic or are keeping you from moving forward in your life. Sometimes we just need to make a change, navigate through a life transition, and lead the life we want to live. It takes courage to make changes in our lives, especially allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and enter a therapeutic relationship with a stranger.
I am excited to learn more about you, develop a trusting and safe relationship, and instill in you hope and a sense of well-being and improvement in your life.
Born and raised in upstate New York, I obtained my Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology from the State University of New York in Fredonia. Making a trek to the PNW, I attended Central Washington University for a Master of Science degree in Mental Health Counseling. I am currently a WA state Licensed Mental Health Counselor. I have worked and interned in a variety of settings, including an inpatient psychiatric hospital, outpatient therapy practices, and on Intensive Outpatient Programs. A large majority of my work has been in community based settings, helping those with chronic and severe mental illness. I have found these work experiences to be humbling and educational, and have contributed to my compassion for the helping profession.
My intentions as a therapist are to prioritize your goals and needs, and to help you achieve the outcomes you desire. I greatly value the relationship between myself and my clients. The foundation of successful therapy is built upon trust, safety, validation, and feeling heard and understood. I will occasionally ask for feedback about how you think our sessions are going, whether or not your needs are being met, and if you are benefiting from our work together. My approach as a therapist is to focus on your strengths, abilities, skills, and resiliency. You know what's best for you, so most of what we work on will be guided by you. Humor is another aspect of my practice that value, because being playful and lighthearted often helps us heal and develop meaningful relationships. I often utilize solution focused approaches, meaning that we will use problem solving skills focusing on your strengths to get you through hard times. If you desire, we may look further into your past to learn more about how your life experiences have shaped your attachment styles, ways of thinking, and behaviors. I occasionally use techniques from various evidence-based practices I have studied over the years, including Motivational Interviewing, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. My approach will typically vary based on your needs. I enjoy educating, teaching, and practicing skills with my clients to assist with regulating moods, increase mindfulness and relaxation, cope with life stressors, and improve interpersonal skills. Because I enjoy reading about new approaches and improving my practice, don't be surprised that some days I will want to share a new book, poem, or experiential technique with you to help clarify your goals or simply to inspire you.
I invite couples to therapy who are looking to deepen their connection to one another, reduce frequency of quarrels and defensiveness, learn healthy and effective ways of communicating, strengthen friendship, or cope with adversity such as affairs, trauma, illness, or other life transitions. My approach is based on the research and training of John Gottman, Ph.D, who has done extensive quantitative research of couples over several decades. This approach focuses on building marital friendships, reducing damaging and ineffective styles of communicating, creating a dialogue with perpetual problems, increasing positive and loving interactions, and together creating shared meaning as a couple.
Sessions with couples tend to be slightly more structured than individual counseling. I will utilize assessment tools to build an understanding of your relationship. From there we will typically start with building the foundation of your friendship. This may include getting to know one another better, sharing the story of your relationship, building fondness and admiration for one another, and filling your “emotional bank account”. You will learn that increasing positive interactions with one another and solidifying your friendship will over time improve your ability to have open and successful discussions about perpetual disagreements and repair interactions during conflicts. Time is spent in couples therapy learning how to effectively problem solve resolvable conflicts and how to better cope with and create open dialogue about unsolvable problems. Once given better skills to resolve conflicts and deepen your emotional connection, we will explore your life dreams, metaphors, and narratives. This will allow you as a couple to create shared dreams and aspirations, and to create a new culture that may not have previously existed in your relationship. If one or both of you is experiencing symptoms of a mental illness such as depression, anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or addictions, I encourage you to seek individual counseling prior to or concurrent with couples counseling.
Teenagers face a number of stressors and challenges. They are at a fragile point in their lives when trying to develop a sense of identity, deepen personal relationships, create plans for their futures, and manage a heavy load of school classes and extracurricular activities. With pressures from society, social media, and schools, it is not uncommon for teenagers to struggle with depression, anxiety, substance use and other risky behaviors. Teenagers are also in a point in their lives when they can be resilient in the face of adversity and overcome challenges to grow stronger, healthier, and wise. Together we can address common issues that teens face such as difficulty regulating emotions, low self-esteem, bullying, familial conflict, sexual identity, and body image. My approach with teenagers is first and foremost to develop a collaborative and egalitarian relationship. We will work together as a team. It is up to the teenager to decide whether or not they would like to include parents, caregivers, or siblings into individual therapy sessions. I draw interventions from Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, and Cognitive Behavioral therapy while working with teens. We will have the opportunity to use cognitive and behavioral techniques to learn problem solving skills, emotion regulation, mindfulness, and social skills. I also strive to make sessions experiential, exciting, and fun by getting creative with art, role playing, writing, and music. My work with teenagers aims to help them develop a sense of agency and control of their lives, build and expand a sense of identity and meaningfulness, learn to cope with and manage difficult emotions, and find a personalized and healthy method of self-expression. My intent is to help teens develop healthy behaviors that will assist a smooth transition into adulthood.