I work with individuals, couples, and families, including children and adolescents, of diverse cultural, ethnic, religious, gender and sexual orientation. Our discussions can focus on life concerns such as identity, addiction, trauma, war-related, domestic and street violence, depression and anxiety, chronic illness, death and dying, relationships, aging, body image and personal change.
When I was an undergraduate social work major at Mankato State College (now Mankato State University), the professor in my first social work course, Introduction to Social Work, entered the classroom, slammed the door and shouted, “By the time you finish this course, you’ll give a damn!”
I did “give a damn” then, and I do now.
My idealistic friends and I set up services to address the pressing issues of students which were not yet recognized by the university. These services included the Youth Emergency Services (YES) crisis hotline, a drop-in center for street drug users, and health services for women. Encouragement by my professors propelled me into graduate school at the University of Minnesota. I sought the Masters in Social Work credential to allow me to be “part of the system” while sustaining my commitment to social justice, advocacy, and community-based support.
In graduate school, I worked with kids on the street in the West Bank neighborhood of Minneapolis near the University of Minnesota campus. At that time, the West Bank was a destination for runaway and “throw away” kids from the Twin Cities metropolitan area who were experimenting with “alternative lifestyles”. On the West Bank, I saw that, regardless of their circumstances, the kids basically wanted the same things, to be loved, to be safe, and to be accepted for who they are.
After securing my M.S.W., I moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts and again, worked with kids and their families, this time in a relatively wealthy suburb of Boston. I recognized that loneliness, self-doubt, depression, and destructive behavior show up in every socio-economic group. I learned the importance of building community support to help parents, educators, law enforcement personnel and religious leaders understand and give “voice” to the difficult issues confronting young people and their families.
Simultaneously, my work as a therapist at the Cambridge Women’s Center during this time reinforced my appreciation for the tremendous influence race, class, sexual orientation and education have on the possibilities, dreams and aspirations of women and their families.
Relocating to Chicago, I continued to work in community-based organizations serving young people and their families, as an administrator of a runaway youth program with 9 participating agencies scattered throughout metropolitan Chicago. The racial, ethnic, and socio-economic range of this program provided me a wonderful orientation to the diversity and cultural richness of my new city.
I again recognized that we each live daily within a cultural setting that provides opportunities, resources and limits on our experience. Therapy and coaching allow us to learn from our past and shape our future direction beyond the boundary set by our birth.
While I very much appreciated all of the opportunities my administrative and organizational responsibilities brought me, I realigned my professional direction to become a therapist in private practice so as to work directly with individuals in their diversity and complexity. Soon my private practice became a full-time endeavor.
While seeing people face-to-face I knew there was more to learn. I wanted to connect with colleagues encountering similar issues with their clients. It was during this time that I began to work towards a Ph.D. in clinical social work at the Institute for Clinical Social Work. Following this degree, I completed the analytic training program at the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis.
As a psychotherapist and life coach, I continue to live my commitment that everyone must have access to high-quality and necessary services. I value the diversity of life experiences shared with me by the people I work with every day, as we affirm the transforming power of the therapy and coaching relationship.
Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis
- Ph. D.
Institute for Clinical Social Work
University of Minnesota School of Social Work
Mankato State College (now Mankato State University)
- Advanced Clinical Hypnotherapist
- Board Certified Diplomate in Clinical Social Work
- Board Certified Clinical Social Worker Psychoanalyst
- Certified Group Psychotherapist
- EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) Certification
- Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT)
- Employee Assistance Specialist—Clinical
- Substance Abuse Professional (SAP)
- Certified Transpersonal Coach
- Certificate in Traumatic Stress Studies at The Trauma Center, Justice Resource Institute
- Oregon–Licensed Clinical Social Worker #L7002
- Illinois–Licensed Clinical Social Worker–Doctorate #149.000735
- Washington State–Independent Clinical Social Worker #LW60772199
- Alaska–Clinical Social Worker #124628