Being a therapist is both a challenging and rewarding experience. I cherish the opportunity to help people improve the quality of their lives, confront difficult parts of themselves, and grow in their relationships and their identities. But, psychotherapy is hard work, especially when done well. A therapist doing therapy is something akin to a physicist studying the stars. The work is highly specialized, complex, variable, confusing and at times seemingly impossible. A therapist can participate in the destruction of vast galaxies, the creation of new solar systems and planets, the discovery of things both unexpected and life changing. Experiences like these make being a therapist the only profession for me.
Clinical Social Work
I trained as a clinical social worker in Chicago at Loyola University. I think social work as a discipline emphasizes the social dimension of psychology in its worldview, more so than other schools of psychology. Social workers look to the environment, society, and history in their orientation to people and what brings them into treatment (a perspective often called the biopsychosocial model). Other disciplines have this perspective as well, perhaps the emphasis in social work explains how it is different.
But before calling myself a therapist, I was a scholar, writer and philosopher. I have advanced degrees from U.C. Berkeley in literature and U.C. Santa Barbara in comparative literature and critical theory with an emphasis on psychoanalysis and culture. I provide this information not to impress so much, but to convey something about who I am as a person. I have always been deeply interested in what makes us human, the creative and paradoxical ways we respond and relate to the world, and the meaning of life. I without a doubt am over-educated – emphasis added – and find this something of a confession, i.e. not always something to be proud of. A sense of humor is important to me. I like reading (of course), walking in nature and music.
Since receiving my degree in 2006, I have worked in several community mental health centers in the Pacific Northwest: California, Oregon and Washington. I worked for the University of California San Francisco and the Department of Veterans Affairs in Portland and Vancouver. I am licensed in Washington and Oregon, and received the QCSW Certification from the National Association of Social Workers in 2017.
I have special experience and training in the treatment of trauma, depression, and anxiety disorders. Several of my clients have been therapists themselves. In addition, I have provided clinical supervision for social work interns actively working toward licensure.
I view psychotherapy as a holistic process in which individuals, couples, and families can reconnect with what is important to them. Psychotherapy should support and promote growth, change, and empowerment through relationship and connection. It may not always feel good, but it should provide a safe and stable space for growth to take place.
“I value the unique and diverse reasons by which you find yourself in the therapist’s office. Working together, we can develop the understanding and perspective needed to meet the challenges you face and develop solutions unique to what you want and need from life.”
My office is located in Downtown Vancouver. It is in the historic Arts Building, on the same block as the Syrup Trap, the Magenta Theater, and the Source Climbing Center. The landmark Kiggins Theater, Fort Vancouver, and Esther Short Park with its popular Vancouver Farmer’s Market are only a few minutes away. Just off the I-5 Interstate Bridge and Highway 14, the office is easy to reach from North Portland (Kenton, St. Johns, Hayden Island, Bridgeton, East Columbia, Piedmont, Portsmouth, University Park, Arbor Lodge), and all parts of Clark County, WA (Vancouver, Camas, Battle Ground, Washougal, Ridgefield).
I currently see patients Tuesday through Saturday with day, evening and weekend hours available on request.