Professional biographies focus on education, degrees, credentials, and post-graduate training. All of that is relevant and useful information – but not very personally engaging. I’m writing to express a warm welcome – and let you know I’m glad you’re here. “All movement is a sign of thirst,” writes Hafiz. I really believe that help begins in the very act of reaching out. Making a phone call or sending an email or text is an expression of self-care and that can sometimes be a great act of courage.
How I Became a Psychotherapist
My work has gradually emerged from my own circuitous journey, and a long-term practice of personal inquiry: looking into my inner experience, finding ways to overcome fears, explore my own edges, and move beyond my comfort zone. To engage in continued growth, and find a healthy way to process and cope with inevitable life struggles of daily life as well as the distress of life’s major setbacks and crises. This includes deep looking into my family background to understand its effect on me and how I’ve worked with trauma and loss; how my relationship tendencies have been expressed in over two decades of marriage and parenting, and how I’ve navigated several major life transitions. To excavate and dig into the buried layers of my own past, to compost the debris of my life, and turn over until it becomes a medium for growing something robust and beautiful: the gift of being human. In this sense, my life-long interests and study of archaeology, philosophy, history, and literature, as well as my training in counseling psychology and zen practice – they all inform my current work.
“Man, it takes a long time to sound like yourself.” ~Miles Davis
After several detours and re-calibrations, I found myself with a great gift: work that allows me to really meet and get to know people, to walk beside others navigating the bumpy path of life. It’s both is helpful and appropriate, I believe, for us counselors and psychotherapists to explore our own suffering and distress, and to engage in our own continued development. Many of us become counselors and psychotherapists because we so deeply value this vulnerable and courageous process of our own healing and growth. We choose this work because it is how we live our lives!
How I Work
As a licensed caregiver in private practice, it’s true that I’m a trained professional therapist working in a cost-for-service business model. But it’s also much more than that for me. My highest value and guiding Northstar is the ongoing process of offering compassionate and skillful care that best serves clients. This deeply nourishes me. Whether working with you individually, as a couple or family, or in a group, and whether it is shorter-term focused counseling, longer-term immersive psychotherapy, an ongoing weekly group, or a one-time workshop — this work is the most authentic way I know how to be a fully engaged human being. Together we turn towards inner experience – as it is embodied, felt, and understood, exploring how that becomes expressed in our lives, in our relationships with ourselves and others. We reflect on how it affects our work, our larger communities and the world we share, and how to grow into fully expressed lives: to “live the life we have imagined” (Thoreau).
On other links and pages on my site, you can learn more about my academic background, education, training, and credentials in my professional biography, the various counseling services, groups, and workshops I offer, and my therapeutic orientation and perspective. It’s all here to convey a sense of who I am and how I work, which can be very helpful in selecting the psychotherapist that feels right for you. But in a very real sense, this letter is the most personal page on my site – this is my voice. I look forward to hearing yours.