I approach counseling much like I do life: optimistically, flexibly, and compassionately.
Optimism: I believe that we can change our lives for the better once we consciously engage with our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. We have influence over our moods, our energy, and our state of mind. When we operate and live in an unconscious mode, we can at times fall prey to a quiet fatalism. Once we are aware and conscious of our thoughts, emotions and actions, however, we can exert free will and direct our lives.
Based on my experiences counseling people for 21 years, I know change is possible. My clients invite me into their lives and trust me with memories, thoughts, and problems that are difficult at times to verbalize, let alone share with another human being. I understand the depth of that trust and am grateful to have such a role in their lives. I have witnessed extraordinary changes in children, adolescents, adults, and families by helping them increase awareness, strengthen healthy patterns, and learn new skills. Witnessing this healing affirms my optimism, and I continue to counsel with a proactive, positive energy.
Flexibility: A flexible approach to counseling starts from the recognition that each person and every family I work with has different needs. There's no one-size-fits-all approach; each situation, person, or problem is unique. Although I have some general outlines for my approach, ultimately my work with others is like a stream running down a mountain: we determine our path as we go depending on the obstacles and desired destination.
Counseling is a flexible process because it's individualized to your needs. It offers you a set time to share your feelings and have a conversation about your challenges. The strategies, directions, and new narrative are personalized. You can then try your new approach and troubleshoot it at the next session. Together we can find the answers.
Compassion: My approach starts with empathy and compassion. Viewing those around you with compassion allows people to feel safe and understood. In this environment, people are able to let down their guard and be genuine. Compassion isn't a tool. It's a necessary condition of the human experience. Compassion decreases conflict, quells extreme thoughts, behaviors, and feeling, and nurtures growth. It allows learning and skills building to flourish.
My compassionate approach comes from a humanistic perspective: people come into the world wired to bond, love, belong, and connect. When those basic human desires aren't present, something genetic or traumatic is interfering. People almost always have good intentions. After two decades of working with so many people, from such diverse backgrounds, I can honestly say I believe this to be true.
I graduated in 1993 with a Masters of Science in Counseling Psychology from Central Washington University. Following graduation, I worked as a Family Reconciliation Therapist counseling families who were at risk of being separated by Child Protective Services due to child abuse or a family crisis. These family situations were extremely volatile, and my job was to go into their stress-filled homes, assess the safety of the children, teach de-escalation skills, link families to services available in their communities, and help end the crisis. Those early years were difficult, but well worth the experience. I learned how to think on my feet, adapt to a variety of environments and people, and condense my methods for skills-building to the necessary components.
I am a Licensed Mental Health Therapist in the state of Washington. I work in private practice counseling children, adolescents, adults, and families from my office in Kirkland Wash.
I specialize in working with children and adolescents dealing with:
- mood disorders such as anxiety and depression
- executive function disorders including ADHD inattentive type, hyperactive type, and mixed
- skills deficits such as critical thinking, social, emotional self-regulation
- future-planning and motivational issues
- parent-child difficulties;
- coping with life and family transition
I specialize in working with adults dealing with:
- mood disorders
- executive function disorders
- energy and mood regulation
- life-management skills
- codependency, boundaries, and limits
- parenting skills
- life transition issues including schooling, moving, marriage, divorce
- exploratory work using my Life Management Assessment (LMA) tool, which helps narrate one's unconscious life patterns in order to uncover and increase consciousness and encourage change
I specialize in working with families dealing with:
- transitions including those going through separation or divorce, needing family reconciliation, or trying to blend a family
- family functioning issues including communication, rules and chores, and overcoming past issues