About: How I Work

We start with understanding your primary concerns. We get clear about the life you envision for yourself.  We identify limiting obstacles.  You sense I'm with you and will keep the process safe.  From here we step onto this path of life changing self-discovery.

I work in an experiential, relational, collaborative style of therapy, infused with mindful self-compassion.  If you'd like to find out more about these themes and how they might show up in our work together, please read on.

The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change
— Carl Rodgers

Experiential

Working from the framework of Emotionally Focused Therapy we notice what your experience is in the room as it emerges.  As we work in the here and now, we focus on thoughts, physical sensation, and emotions as the gateway to your internal world.  We make it alive in the moment because this allows for increased awareness of what's unfolding inside and provides fertile ground for transformative change.  From this material we explore meaning and identify primary needs.  We are uncovering & tracking the components of core patterns that have kept you stuck. Bringing them to your awareness allows us to do the work necessary to transform these to adaptive patterns which promote flexibility and resilience.

Relational

This approach is grounded in attachment theory and affective neuroscience.  Put simply, we pay attention to our connection as it transpires in the moment.  The relationship between us becomes a primary vehicle for shifting past relational patterns of childhood.  In a safe environment, that fosters authenticity and transparency, we attend to what comes up between us.  We practice taking risks - we show up, we reveal ourselves, in an honest and gentle way.  You are received with warmth, genuine acceptance, and heart centered presence: this instills trust that you are not alone here.  The emotional intimacy that we cultivate allows you to create new narratives about yourself.  This process helps you fortify an intact sense of self and enriches your capacity to engage in healthy relationships.

Mindful Self Compassion

Bringing mindful loving kindness and compassion to oneself provides substantial benefits.  Research demonstrates that it decreases perfectionism, body shame, fear of failure, stress & anxiety; while increasing self-confidence, optimism, creativity, happiness, and life satisfaction.  Christopher Germer offers a beautiful definition: being aware in the present moment when we're struggling with feelings of inadequacy, anger, fear, or self-doubt, and responding with kindness and understanding.  He asserts that holding ourselves and these difficult emotions in loving awareness leads to greater ease and well-being.  I weave MSC into session as a foundational element of the therapeutic process.  I share practices of meditation, writing, or brief exercises as these fit in with our work.  When clients apply these practices, they find it promotes emotional healing.

 

Collaborative

I meet you where you are and we decide together where to go. You are the expert on you - my job is to shine a light so we can see which doors we need to open.  We rely on a strength based approach and my belief in your innate capacity for wholeness.  We enter a respectful balance between me guiding you as the therapist and checking in with you to get tacit agreement as we proceed.  I facilitate you in a self reflective process while nudging you gently just beyond the edge of your comfort zone.  Because we have a safe and trusting alliance, you feel empowered to honor your own voice, which provides grounding that enables you to face the challenges of therapy.

If you are curious about embarking on your own journey of self-discovery, give me a call at 503.224.6559, so we can talk about what that might mean for you.

 

Education

University of California, San Diego, Psychology Major, B.S., 1990

University of Oregon, Counseling Psychology, M.S., 1994

Training and Consultation

Emotionally Focused Therapy:

  • 2006 -- 5 Day EFT Externship Vancouver, BC
  • 2010 -- EFT-Couples Training - Jamie Levin Edwards, Portland
  • 2011 -- Advanced Seminar EFT-Couples - Les Greenberg, Portland
  • 2013 -- EFT-Individual Training - Charles & Jamie Edwards, Portland
  • 2011-2016 -- EFT group consultation with Jamie Levin Edwards

Mindful Self Compassion:

  • 2015 -- 2 Day MSC Workshop - Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer, Portland
  • 2016 -- 5 Day MSC Intensive Training - Kirstin Neff and Christopher Germer, Sedona, AZ

Shame and Vulnerability:

  • 2015 -- 3 Day Workshop - Hilary Kinavey facilitated Brene Brown's Daring Greatly program, Portland
  • 2015 -- Online workshop with Brene Brown

Understanding Shame:

  • 2014 -- 2 Day Workshop - Bret Lyons and Sheila Sommers, Portland

Interpersonal Neurobiology:

  • 2009 -- 2 day workshop- Dan Siegel, Seattle, WA
  • 2010 -- 10 week online interactive course - Dan Siegel
  • 2017-2018 -- Year long Immersion in IPNB with Bonnie Badenoch - Nurturing the Heart with the Brain in Mind

MIndfulness and Meditation:

  • 2009 -- 2 day workshop with Jack Kornfeld, Seattle, WA
  • 2015 -- 6 week online seminar with Tara Brach and Jack Kornfeld

Sexual Health & Relationship Intimacy

  • 2015-2016 -- Bi-monthly consultation regarding Sexual Health & Functioning - Dr. Karlaina Brooke

Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy

  • 2016-Present -- On-going monthly AEDP Study Group, facilitated by Deb Lee Thornby & Kelly Prothero
  • 2016 -- 1 Day Workshop - Speaking to the Hearts of Men - Dale Trimble, Portland, OR
  • 2017 -- 1 Day Workshop - Transformance: The Motive Force of Therapy - Dr. Karen Kranz, Portland, OR