Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand--and melting like a snowflake... - Sir Francis Bacon
I believe that you already have within you the ability to heal - even if you feel weak and broken. Therapy and coaching are collaborative processes and your goals, your strengths, your history and your "stuck places" are unique to you. My job is to create the environment where you feel understood and can grow and change and reveal yourself without fear of judgement. I do this with compassion, empathy and attunement to the present moment. I love my job!
Our work together may include elements of:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy - rooted in the observation that feelings and behaviors are directly linked to the thoughts and beliefs we hold. By changing thought patterns and rooting out maladaptive beliefs, we can directly impact mood and change how we react to situations around us.
Attachment Therapy - works on the premise that early childhood experiences with the primary caregiver(s) shape the dynamics of intimacy and relationship
Drama Therapy - an experiential form of therapy that uses tools from theater and psychodrama to access and process emotion.
Expressive Arts Therapy - uses a variety of expressive arts to explore and process emotion, memory, beliefs, fear...
Narrative Therapy - works to separate a person from their problem and views them as the expert on their life and healing process. Draws on the individual strengths of the client.
Mindfulness - a variety of skills and techniques to bring full awareness to the present moment.
Trauma Informed Therapy - recognizes that trauma (real or perceived) and complex trauma impact a person's coping skills and thought patterns and can permeate all aspects of life.
Feminine Power Principles - a transformational coaching and facilitation method that works to uncover internal barriers and beliefs that limit our ability to reach our maximum potential.
I grew up in Calgary, Canada at the intersection of prairie and mountain. My love of nature was shaped by weekends on hiking trails, ski hills, creek beds, and campfires. My mother had an artist’s eye and a curious mind. She wanted to understand the “why” of a situation. She taught me to see beauty and to ask questions. My father was an engineer and carpenter with a “build-things-and-solve-problems” kind of attitude. Despite the strong engineering influence of my father and siblings I found myself in the theatre department at the University of Calgary. I knew I didn’t want to act or direct professionally - I like to think that is because I was practical and knew the profession was difficult and unreliable. But I can’t deny that I also had a strong fear of rejection and failure and an equally strong desire to please my practical parents. I loved the potential of theatre to bring people together and to facilitate self-reflection. I thought I would use these tools in the classroom and become a teacher. In the course of studying drama in education I came across the concept of drama therapy. Seeing those two words put together gave shape to the vague ideas and feelings I had about what I wanted to do. It was a bit of an “aha” moment for me and I knew drama therapy was what I wanted to pursue. At that time the only options for studying drama therapy were in New York, San Francisco or England. That is how I came to California in 1994.
My years in graduate school were rich with rigorous academic study, practical hands-on training, and a tremendous amount of personal reflection. The California Institute of Integral Studies is a unique school whose mission is to integrate Eastern-Western philosophies, and body-mind-spirit practices. It allowed me the opportunity to not just receive my clinical training but also explore topics like “body mind practices of the world” and “art as a sacred process.”
Ten years of work in residential treatment honed my clinical skills and gave me a deep respect for the resilience and strength of the human spirit. It also gave me direct training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and substance abuse recovery practices. In addition to working directly with clients with mental health diagnoses, I have extensive experience working with family members who are living with and supporting others with mental health issues.
Life is, perhaps, the greatest teacher of all. After becoming a mother, I focused much of my continued training and clinical work on motherhood, post-partum depression, care for the caregiver, parenting support, etc. I became aware of how a mother’s inner landscape changes and a new identity must be forged. I also learned about blended families, step-parenting, cross-cultural relationships, divorce and co-parenting. For several years this was the primary focus of my private practice. It continues to be a large part of the work I do.
Throughout the years, creativity in some form or other has been a constant companion. It is a vital part of who I am whether it is being expressed through a journal, a meal or making a child's Halloween costume. I have used it to process emotion, access wisdom, document experiences, relieve stress, check out, check in, find stillness, meditate and play. I believe in its inherent healing power and it informs my clinical work always – even when we’re just talking! I am currently taking wheel-throwing pottery classes and am enrolled in a year-long program in the School for Sacred Storytelling. It is important to me to stay creatively inspired and to have a place for my own self-reflection and exploration.
In addition to ongoing continuing education courses, my most recent academic training endeavor was a comprehensive (2 year) training in women-centered transformational coaching and facilitation. This has been a rich exploration of the ways in which the internalized belief structures of women often limit their ability to achieve their highest potential and how to use feminine systems of empowerment to transform these limiting beliefs.
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist M.F.T. #41260
Registered Drama Therapist R.D.T. #257
Clinically Certified Forensic Counselor C.C.F.C. #16856
California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists - C.A.M.F.T.
Member of East Bay and Yolo/Solano Local Chapters of C.A.M.F.T.
North American Drama Therapy Association - N.A.D.T.A.
National Association of Forensic Counselors - N.A.F.C.
International Expressive Arts Therapy Association - I.E.A.T.A.
A few words about training: Each of the professional associations tied to my credentials require an ongoing commitment to learning. We have an obligation to continue to expand our knowledge and stay up-to-date on developments in our field. In addition to my legal and ethical obligations, my lifelong love of learning, my curiosity and my creative spirit push me in new directions all the time. I am always seeking ways to grow personally and professionally and as such take classes, and workshops often. These are far too many to list here, but they inform my work none-the-less.
Do you have questions or are you ready to jump right in? Either way call me at 415-860-5109 or email me using the link below. I offer a free 30-minute consultation for those who need to dip their toes in slowly. I applaud your courage in taking this step!
Would you like to receive occasional emails containing resources and details of upcoming events?
Office located at 1060 Grant Street, Suite 1A, Benicia CA