Education & Credentials
I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LH60390527) in the state of Washington since 2013. I received my MA in psychology from Antioch University Seattle and completed my clinical internship at Navos Mental Health Solutions (a community mental health center) in Burien, Washington in September, 2009. Since completing my Masters degree, I have been in private practice and have undergone advanced training in Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, Emotion-Focused Therapy for Individuals, grief counseling, trauma counseling, somatic interventions, Interpersonal Neurobiology, Lifespan Integration Therapy, and other fields. I am one of a handful of therapists in Seattle who have been certified by the International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy in Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy. Here is a link to my resume.
I have discovered that I work somewhat differently with different people; this is probably because each client is different and has different problems, strengths, needs and goals, and because, in each case, a unique relationship develops between me and the client. In all cases, I place the utmost importance on deeply understanding the client’s experience and on meeting that person with empathy and respect. I believe that people contain the seeds of their own authenticity and development, and that it is the therapist’s job to help the client remove what blocks his or her natural growth.
When working with individuals, I use Emotion-Focused Therapy, existential therapy, mindfulness-based therapy, and somatic interventions, as well as other techniques. I also pay a lot of attention to people’s histories in order to understand how their past development and experiences might be affecting their current capacity to live well in the present and imagine a future.
In couples counseling, I use Emotionally Focused Therapy to help partners deeply reconnect on the level of needs and feelings (as opposed to having that same unproductive argument over and over again). Once couples have learned to communicate in a way that is likely to get their needs met and have had help in healing breaches of trust, they generally find they can solve other problems without therapeutic help.
On a Personal Note
Since an important ingredient of our work together will be creating a comfortable working relationship, I’d like to tell you a little bit about me as a person. I’m 50 years old, and am originally from New York. This last may account for the direct and genuine interpersonal style that caused a past supervisor of mine to remark, “You’re so deeply caring with your clients, without being…well…nice.” I like to smile and laugh, and I use and appreciate humor when working with clients. On the other hand, I have personally experienced anxiety and depression and know how difficult (and possible) it can be to live through, and transform, those experiences.
I have been visually impaired since I was a baby, but did not begin fully to appreciate the myriad meanings of that experience until my late 20’s. Over ten years ago, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, so I also know what it can be like to acquire, live with, and successfully manage, a chronic illness. I have been greatly empowered by both of these experiences.
Prior to retraining as a counselor, I worked as an English and literature instructor, as a writer, and in human services. I am committed to a variety of social justice and human rights causes, and volunteering in their service is an ongoing part of my life.
If you grew up with a disability, you may have spent a lot of your life “cheerfully” trying to prove that you have “overcome” your disability and are just like everyone else (exactly what society expects of you), or you may have been convinced by others that you will “never amount to much”. In either case, now may be the time to reclaim yourself–to work with a counselor to integrate your disability into your sense of yourself as a person you feel proud of.
If you have recently acquired a disability, you may be in shock, or determined to “overcome” your disability as soon as possible, or in despair at your losses and how radically your life has, or appears to have, changed. You may feel angry or guilty, or anxious about being a “burden” to your family and friends.
Coming to terms with a disability can bring up a lot of powerful emotions, not to mention confusion, overwhelm, or numbness. Indeed, the quest to make sense of your disability can prompt a reevaluation of your identity and priorities, and, sometimes, even of the meaning of your life. Finding a counselor who understands and is comfortable traveling this terrain with you can be of enormous help. Because of my personal and professional experience, I have a good idea what it can be like to come to terms with changes in one’s body and functionality, as well as with one’s own mortality. I am convinced that going through the hard work of adjusting emotionally can ultimately lead to a richer, more authentic, happier life.
Additionally, I am experienced in counseling clients with disabilities on coping effectively with societal (and internalized) oppression.
Below are some links to books and articles that I have found helpful:
Clinical & Semi-Clinical Works
- The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability
Albom, Mitch (1997). Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson. New York: Doubleday.
Comments: About the author’s conversations with his former sociology professor who is dying of ALS.
- What Psychotherapists Should Know About Disability
Olkin, Rhoda (1999). What Psychotherapists Should Know About Disability. New York: Guilford.
Comments: An excellent guide for therapists who need a thorough introduction to this subject.
- Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories That Heal
Remen, Rachel Naomi (1996). Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories That Heal. New York: Riverhead Books.
Comments: Personal and clinical anecdotes from a very wise psychotherapist who has Crohn’s Disease and has worked with many people with disabilities and illnesses.
Memoirs & Essays
- Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson
Kaufman, M., Silverberg, C., & Odette F. (2003). The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability: For All of Us Who Live with Disabilities, Chronic Pain and Illness. San Francisco, CA: Cleis Press.
Comments: Practical answers to practical questions.
- How to Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and their Caregivers.
Bernhard, Toni (2010). How to Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and their Caregivers. Boston: Wisdom Publications.
Comments: This is a practical guide to emotional well-being while living with a chronic illness. It was written by a professor who suddenly came down with a chronic illness somewhat similar to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and never recovered.
- Moving Violations: War Zones, Wheelchairs, and Declarations of Independence
Hockenberry, John (1995). Moving Violations: War Zones, Wheelchairs, and Declarations of Independence. New York: Hyperion.
Comments: A memoir about the author’s psychological journey from becoming paraplegic at age 19 through reporting for National Public Radio from various locations in the Middle East.
- Cockeyed: A Memoir
Knighton, Ryan (2006). Cockeyed: A Memoir. New York: Public Affairs.
Comments: Written by a creative writing instructor who became blind with Retinitis Pigmentosa over a period of about 15 years. Very compelling insights into a long, difficult, and ultimately successful, psychological adjustment to disability. Except for the penultimate chapter, packed with good information and compelling writing.
- Slow Dance: A Story of Stroke, Love, and Disability
Klein, Bonnie Sherr (1997). Slow Dance: A Story of Stroke, Love, and Disability. Berkeley, CA: PageMill Press.
Comments: Written by a Canadian filmmaker who also happens to be the mother of the famous journalist, Naomi Klein.
- Inside the Halo and Beyond: The Anatomy of a Recovery
Kumin, Maxine (2000). Inside the Halo and Beyond: The Anatomy of a Recovery. New York: Norton.
Comments: Kumin is a poet who had a traumatic accident as an older woman. This is about her rehabilitation after breaking her neck.
- Waist-High in the World: A Life Among the Nondisabled
Mairs, Nancy (1996). Waist-High in the World: A Life Among the Nondisabled. Boston: Beacon Press.
Comments: Written by a professional writer who has Multiple Sclerosis.
- CripZen: A Manual for Survival
Milam, Lorenzo Wilson (1993). CripZen: A Manual for Survival. San Diego, CA: MHO & MHO Works.
Comments: A quirky, irreverant look at surviving a new disability written by a writer/ journalist/ broadcaster with paraplegia or quadraplegia (not sure which). He has also written a memoir which I haven’t read called The Cripple Liberation Front Marching Band Blues. He refers to this book as being about “the seven formative years of my life as a Crip”.
- Missing Pieces: A Chronicle of Living with a Disability
Zola, Irving Kenneth (1982). Missing Pieces: A Chronicle of Living with a Disability. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
Comments: Written by a sociologist with Post-Polio Syndrome. Includes personal reflections and sociological study.