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. My focus on international relations and semester 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 fortunes and tragedies in my life (which I processed through the writing of my two published books) caused me to move away to Barcelona. When we moved back to Seattle in 2008, I was determined to serve distressed populations. That led me into a number of fascinating gigs, most notably my past 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 was thrilled to be start my own with Changing Stories Counseling, part of the pack at Puget Sound Psychotherapy.
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, Gestalt Therapy and, of course, Narrative Therapy. I am certified in the foundational training of DBT and trained in EMDR.
I am most passionate about working with T/trauma in all of its forms, from early childhood abuse and attachment issues to acute single incident PTSD.
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.
I live in Southeast Seattle with my autodidact, gardening love, Amanda, and my furiously unique kiddo, Pax.
I ride a motorcycle cautiously.