I believe that when you invest in going to therapy, that it needs to be a "great" fit in order to maximize your time here. Therefore, it is important that you know some of my background and philosophy as well as how I decided to become a therapist.
Bachelors of Arts - Psychology - University of Colorado, Boulder (1990)
Masters of Arts - Marriage and Family Therapy - Lewis & Clark College (2005)
Philosophy & Background
My friends, family and current clients would describe me as down to earth, authentic and realistic. I tend to get to the heart of conversation quickly and am truly empathetic to the struggles that we all face in finding a good balance between work, family, self-care and community. We live in times of amazing pressure to become richer, more successful, more beautiful, better athletes, and to raise our kids according to socially constructed ideals. It is from my own experience in finding balance in these areas that I approach my career in counseling.
My greatest life education has been through extensive travel, growing up as a competitive athlete, being a product of divorced parents, and from the many lessons learned while searching for both positive male and female role models. Formal education has also played heavily towards my identity formation as a therapist as well as a successful 10 year sales career for a Fortune 500 Telecom company before returning to get a Master's degree in Psychology. I have viewed life through many different lenses before finding my current focus.
My philosophy on counseling and therapy also has come from having sat in the client's chair. I believe that we could all use "life therapy" and "coaching" in order to develop new communication skills, strengthen current assets and find a better sense of balance in life.
What do all of those letters after my name represent? It's a good question and one that is important to understand before choosing a therapist. The "MA" means that I have a Master's of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology/Marriage and Family Therapy from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. The "LPC" means that I am licensed as a Professional Counselor by the Oregon Board of Licensed Professional Counselors and Therapists (www.oblpct.org). The "LMFT" means that I am also licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist in the State of Oregon. The licensing process is an arduous and strict 2-3 year process of completing a post-masters internship while receiving ongoing supervision from a board approved and qualified professional (I am also an approved supervisor for post-masters interns seeking licensure in Oregon). Both the LPC and LMFT licenses require passing a national written exam and completing 2400 hours of supervised counseling. Abiding by the standards of a state regulatory board is for the protection of both the client and the therapist as this relationship is a delicate and complicated one and should be handled with strong, clear boundaries surrounding legal and ethical issues. So, keep in mind while searching for a therapist that education, experience and licensure do matter in the quality of a therapist as well as for your legal and ethical protection. It is also important to know that health insurance companies only reimburse for care given by a licensed therapist or counselor.
If you find any of this confusing or stimulating questions that I have not answered, please contact me for clarification in order to help you make the most informed decision while choosing a therapist.