Approach to Counseling

Overview

I am strongly informed by Psychosynthesis, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Focusing, and Jungian depth psychotherapy. I value social justice and anti-oppressive practice in my work, including healing the personal and collective harms caused by white supremacy, patriarchy, ableism, heterosexism, and transphobia. I am affirming of Pagan and Polytheistic people, LGBTQ people, polyamorous people, and kink-identified people.

I view counseling as a transformational relationship. Together we foster curiosity about life and friendliness toward the parts of you that feel stuck, hurting, guarded, or otherwise participate in your difficulties.

Rather than “fixing” your problems, we will work to be friendly and curious toward your distress. Your problems may be the teachers that help us find what needs transformation and healing. “Fixing” often means shoring up patterns of behavior that no longer work for you.

We will sink beneath your beliefs about yourself into the emotional and sensory experience of yourself. When we meet problems with curiosity and friendliness, new possibilities arise that the rational mind was unable to see before.

Therapy with me can increase your capacity to experience life fully and move toward your goals. Happiness often results from this, but it is important to understand that our work involves making space for pain and discomfort. You will not always “feel better” during or after a session. On the whole, however, you should find yourself experiencing greater ease and flexibility. If after three months there is not even the subtlest shift, please address it with me.

Detailed Description

Here are some of the concepts I use in my work, including some of the strategies I employ in therapy:

Anti-Oppressive Practice

I wish to support you in fostering resilience, autonomy, and community connection. Discrimination, bigotry, and economic inequalities undermine these qualities and promote relationships of dominance, inhibition, and fragility.

My responsibility is to strive to understand your experience, recognize the oppressive factors that are harming you, and help you identify the right actions for you to take. I must also remain conscious of my position and accountable when I enact oppressive dynamics.

Psychology and psychotherapy have their roles in both legitimizing oppression, yet I believe they also offer tools and concepts that support autonomy. Thus I strive to be transparent with you around issues of diagnosis, insurance, and hospitalization should they arise.

Compassionate Witnessing

One way to understand what heals us of wounding is the capacity to bring compassionate, nonjudgmental presence to our pain. As your therapist I strive to offer this to you throughout our work together. I find mindfulness and Focusing to be powerful tools to this end. What is necessary is developing the capacity to simply be present with what is happening in ourselves without judgment. This is quite challenging, and yet so much healing and resilience happens as we access this state.

Thoughts, Feelings, and Sensations

During sessions, I will invite you to pay attention to thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations. Emotions and bodily sensations help us drop beneath the old story of what is happening to discover fresh insight. This also fosters connection between all of our parts, which empowers them to work more effectively together. The mind stops fighting the heart, and our stuck instinctual patterns become more conscious and refined.

Parts of Self

We experience ourselves as a whole, unified being, but we also contain a multitude of parts of self that are often in conflict. Some of these parts we like, some of them we hate. All of these parts have strengths and limitations that could be of great service to your whole self. We need to distance ourselves from these judgments to access those strengths. Becoming aware of our ambivalence and conflicting desires is uncomfortable, to be sure, but the work realigns our self-system so that our parts may better work together.

Background

I have a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Antioch University Seattle. I practice in Seattle, Washington in the Ballard neighborhood at Market Street Office Suites, 5355 Tallman Ave NW, #209, Seattle, WA 98107. I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LH60608531).

As a member of the American Counseling Association, I adhere to their code of ethics. Should you have any problems with me, the ACA is one recourse you have; another is the Washington State Department of Health. I must engage in continued trainings, including training in Ethics, to maintain licensure.