Psychotherapy with Adolescents, & Adults
Through my experience working in this field and in my own life, I know that choosing to begin therapy is a courageous and vulnerable step, that can sometimes feel scary or overwhelming. I also know it is also a step that can lead to deep healing, personal growth, and lasting change. Because of this, my approach to therapy starts with honoring the relationship, building trust, and collaboratively exploring where to start our journey together. As a transgender woman, and someone who has worked for years with the LGBTQ+ community and other marginalized and non-dominant communities, I strongly value social justice and creating inclusive spaces that allow individuals to be fully seen as separate from the problems that they experience, and that trust individuals as the experts in their own lives. I welcome the exploration of issues related to culture, identity, and spirituality in session, and take an integrative approach to therapy that is informed by mindfulness and somatic practices, narrative and humanistic therapies, systems thinking, and neuroscience.
As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, my professional training started at Portland State University, where I received my Bachelors and Masters in Social Work, with a focus in clinical practice. During this time and for a number of years after, I worked as an advocate and case manager in a variety of settings where I served people experiencing houselessness, youth in foster care, survivors of domestic and sexual violence, and LGBTQ youth. When I later became a therapist in a community mental health setting, I trained in a holistic and non-pathologizing model of therapy called IFS (Internal Family Systems), which normalizes the idea of having many layers of our personalities, and welcomes all of them into an experiential therapeutic process. Working from this model, I began to feel an increasing passion and curiosity about the healing power of deep inner work as I held sessions with individuals living with chronic pain, intergenerational trauma, and facing big life transitions and existential questions.
As an IFS therapist, I hold the belief that every individual, regardless of how they act on the surface or how much trauma they have suffered, has a core “Self” which holds qualities of courage, wisdom, confidence, and compassion. I believe that often, however, our lives are ruled by parts of ourselves trying to shield us from being too vulnerable or protecting us from feeling the pain of old wounds. While these inner “protectors” truly have good intentions, and can often be essential in helping us survive in challenging or scary times of our lives, they can remain stuck in those roles and often continue to weigh us down like a heavy suit of armor. I provide guidance and support as individuals build relationships with these parts of themselves, gain more access to their core Self, and begin to move through a transformative process, where fear, shame, “stuckness”, or painful memories can be safely addressed, and individuals can reclaim a more empowered and Self-led life. As we begin to heal ourselves, we also begin to influence the communities around us and support a collective healing that our world so greatly needs.