I grew up in Seattle and attended the (in)famous Garfield High School. From there, the liberal arts education I received at Pitzer College felt like a great challenge and blessing indeed. My focus on international relations and semester spent living in Venezuela drove me toward human rights work but I was also seduced by creative writing. I ended up accepting a Graduate Teaching Fellowship at UNC Wilmington, where I spent three amazing years learning to teach creative nonfiction and composition courses and received my MFA degree.
I might have gone on to university teaching as a career, but a confluence of tragedies in my life (which I processed through the writing of my two published books) caused me to move away to Barcelona, where a kind and brilliant Spanish woman took me into her life. When we moved back to Seattle in 2008 to start a family, I was determined to serve distressed populations. That led me into a number of fascinating gigs, most notably my work with Pongo Teen Writing.
Because of Pongo, I came to desire a bigger toolbox and deeper understanding of mental illness, mental health, especially trauma, and how healing works. I saw Pongo’s methods working, but I needed clinical understanding of them, which I attained by attending Antioch University, where I graduated in 2013 with a degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. After one year of internship and another year of externship at Youth Eastside Services, where I worked with youth and their families on issues ranging from mild depression to severe PTSD, I am thrilled to be starting off on my own with Changing Stories Counseling.
Many therapists will tell you that they have a “theoretical orientation” that sounds pure. In practice, very few stick to only one theory. For myself I use a selective combination of techniques from Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Trauma-Informed CBT, Rapid Resolution Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Family of Origin, Psychodynamic Therapy, Structural Therapy and, of course, Narrative Therapy. I am certified in the foundational training of DBT and trained in EMDR.
As for qualifications, I hold an MFA in creative nonfiction, an MA in Psychology/Marriage and Family Therapy, a certification in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, training in TF-CBT and have attended various continuing education events. I have worked with distressed youth and adults in many contexts, from domestic violence shelters to high schools to King County Juvenile Detention for many years in addition to my two years of clinical work at Youth Eastside Services. I am fluent in Spanish.
I continue to mentor creative writers and throw stories out there myself.
My golden retriever almost made it to 16.
I ride a motorcycle cautiously.