Who are you?
I am someone who wonders about many things. Why are we here? What is the purpose of our life? Why is there so much suffering in the world? How can we help each other heal and grow, and become the best versions of ourselves possible?
These questions have taken me down many roads, and my collective life experiences are at the heart of my work with clients. Whether counseling individuals, consulting on projects with organizations, or educating students, I am passionate about getting to the truth. The truth about life, love, nature, relationships, and why we do what we do. The process ultimately is about awakening to what is most important in the moment, in the present, and learning how to apply that knowledge constructively.
Life is challenging. Actually, at times it is overwhelming. We feel like we are going to fall apart. I know because I have experienced these times in my own life, and know those I have worked with share similar experiences. We all do, it’s part of being human. And while painful, life challenges are opportunities for transformational growth and learning. By embracing the messiness of life, and accepting that our struggles have meaning and purpose, we can evolve into more complete, whole, integrated human beings. We can love more, fear less, and as Joseph Campbell so eloquently put it, “feel the rapture of being alive.”
What differentiates your work with clients?
Me. I am the tool of my trade and all that I do flows from my life experiences and what I have learned and believe. My life path has been anything but linear, and includes degrees in: marketing, international business, counseling psychology, systems science and social psychology. I have also traveled extensively and am humbled by the vast diversity in human expression.
I very much think, feel and act within a systems framework, an outcome of my personality and doctoral studies in system science. I believe everything in life is connected, dynamic, and rarely do we fully appreciate the power of these connections. An important part of my work is helping clients identify and act on powerful leverage points for change most often missed in traditional frameworks.
I am also not a fan of diagnoses, labels, and pathologizing every challenge that surfaces in life. While I embrace the value of using validated criteria to characterize problems that have clear links to evidence-based interventions, I take a broader view of behavior and believe much of what we do is adaptive, even if how we go about adapting is not that healthy.
What are your academic and professional credentials?
I’m a psychologist, Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), and Certified Addiction Specialist (CAS), with a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology and a Doctoral Degree in Systems Science and Social Psychology. As a clinician, I practice as an LPC where I am licensed and regulated by the Oregon Board of Licensed Professional Counselors and Therapists. I am an Affiliate Instructor in the Department of Psychiatry at Oregon Health & Sciences University since 2006, and been an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Systems Science Graduate Program at Portland State University since 2007. My CAS designation is maintained through the American Academy of Health Care Providers in the Addictive Disorders.
What do you do when you are not counseling?
I am an avid photographer, practice yoga and mindfulness, and enjoy adventure travel.