About Me

my passion as a therapist

As a Licensed Psychologist, helping women build the skills of compassion and self-acceptance so that they can see the beauty and resources, right there, inside of them is my greatest passion.

Early on in my career, sitting with so much shame emanating from such gifted, intelligent and loving women who were feeling unworthy or not “good enough” for one reason or another, lit a fire deep inside of me to try to make a difference in how women view themselves and their worth.

It was also the catalyst for me to really look at my own beliefs about who I am and who I “should be.”

an introvert among extroverts in a family with an intertwined intimacy style

As, an introvert growing up in a family of strong extroverts, hunkering down in my room reading, creating or simply recharging “my batteries” wasn’t tolerated. Looking back, I realize that my desire for solitary activities and time to myself was probably frightening from the world view of a parent who was an extrovert.

My family also had an “intertwined” intimacy style which is a term that I have used to describe a pattern of connection with a strong message of, “if you love me, you will do it my way/keep me happy.”

My take away from all of this was that was that it wasn’t “okay” to be myself.

Any of you relate? 🙂

helping women see the beauty and resources, right there, inside of them is my greatest passion

What a relief has been to realize that I can trust my own instincts, my own internal knowing and that I can love be loved for who I am and not who I need to be or what I imagine others need me to be.

Just as a side note, many women who have come to see me have found this concept of an intertwined or “merged” intimacy style to be enlightening and freeing.

supporting body positivity

There were also strong messages in my family about body size and shape. I am sure that some of my passion to help women love their bodies, at any size, stemmed from these early messages and my own struggles to accept my body.

And, really, my passion grew sitting with so many amazing woman feeling unacceptable because of the size or shape of their bodies, watching them miss out on life and feel like a failure, as they white-knuckled one diet after another, while, at the same time, I was learning more and more about the futility and dangers of dieting and how health doesn’t come from a number on a scale.

And, when I saw women blossom when they started to move away from the old constricting beliefs about weight, I felt even more passionate to help more women free themselves from these struggles.

where I am now

At this stage in my life/career, I feel most drawn to helping women realize the power and possibilities available to them when they connect with their own internal strength and wisdom, through loving self-compassion and acceptance.

At this stage in my life/career, I feel most drawn to helping women realize the power and possibilities available to them when they connect with their own internal strength and wisdom, through loving self-compassion and acceptance.

what it’s like to work with me

In therapy, my style is interactive which means is that I am a good listener and am also very willing to share my perspectives, as well as skills that I think may be of help. I rely heavily on the knowledge of how our early attachments and the checks and balances in our brain and body impact thoughts, behaviors and reactions.

My experience has been that learning about what is happening in the brain and body is so normalizing and helps clients relax their judgements of themselves.

endorsement from Tracy Fairbanks M.D.  "Patients who are reluctant about starting therapy feel safe, supported and understood under her guidance."

I see myself as a fellow traveler on the road to “embracing all of my possibilities” and, just like everyone else, I am human, struggle and tip.

And, I am careful to maintain the boundaries that protect the safety of the work you do with me. Our relationship needs to be a safe place for you to be vulnerable without the worries inherent in other relationships – such as the need to be a “good friend” or the fear of having confidences betrayed.

For this reason, our relationship will, in general, be “one-sided” with the focus being on you and your challenges. And, if you are a therapy client of mine, our therapy relationship will be the only relationship we have with each other. I’m not saying that I might not totally love having you as a friend, business associate, etc. and having those types of secondary relationships, take away the safety in therapy.

techniques/perspective

I am knowledgeable in many techniques and approaches, such as EFT (tapping), working with parts of the self, brain-based and emotionally based therapies, as well as cognitive-behavioral therapy, and the core of my work is based on the belief that the answers you are seeking are inside of you and my job is to help you connect with them.

when I’m not working…

I live in the mountains in Montana and I feel so grateful for the beauty that surrounds me. I love to be out enjoying it whether that is walking, riding my bike, cross country skiing, working around the yard, or being still and taking in a sunrise or watching the many critters who share this land with me.

I tend to infuriate those in my life because I love the snow, rain, and cloudy days as much as the sunshine.  

Not having children and wanting them has been a sadness in my life and so I’ve had plenty of love to share with others including the 4-legged who have shared my life. I am, currently, “mom” to two large livestock guardian dogs and a cat who thinks she is a dog.

When I am not enjoying the outdoors, you will most often find me painting a barn quilt, knitting, working on some “home improvement” project or trying to “wrangle” all the white hair that comes from living with two big dogs.

what I’ve learned over the years…

For many years, I put my energy into helping people learn the most effective tools to solve a problem or to reach a goal.

At some point, I realized

what really made a difference in people’s lives wasn’t when they solved their problems, but when they started loving and accepting themselves.

That realization changed the focus of my work.

People still make changes in their lives and reach their goals.

The difference is that they do it from a place of loving acceptance and through the guidance of their own internal strength and wisdom rather than from what they think they “should” do.

What a difference!

It is so rewarding to watch that inner connection grow and bring with it increased security to be able to handle the bumps of life.

And, as my research showed, way back years ago at Penn State, goals that come from inside are much more likely to be maintained than those that are prescribed.

who would benefit from this work

The answer to this is really, anyone! And I do limit my practice to working with adults.

Some of the signs that you are disconnected from your inner wisdom and might benefit, include:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • struggles with food and weight or body image
  • people-pleasing or finding it hard to be yourself in relationships
  • stress-related health issues
  • difficulty handling the stress of life
moving toward our struggles helps us to turn them into gifts or resources

In my work, I help people see the importance of turning toward their struggles rather than away from them so that they can get in touch with the message and what is needed.

In this way, symptoms become gifts or resources rather than problems.

 

contact me

If you are an adult and this sounds like a good fit, click here to find the ways you might work with me.

If you have any questions, I’d love to talk with you. You can connect with me by clicking on the image to the right or by using the contact form below.

Beau and Maggie

If you were to meet with me in person, Beau the Great Pyrenees, would just love it if you gave him a big hug.

He is often out watching for any kind of predator who might be coming our way.

His true love is being with people. We are a new team with Intermountain Therapy Animals and are anxious to begin volunteering in our community.

Maggie would make a great therapy dog and we hope to get registered
Maggie the Akbash

Maggie is the newest member of our family. I suspect it would be hard for her to choose between guarding her family against predators and being a “love bug.” She is an Akbash and hopes to join Beau in therapy work as soon as we go through the training together.

just in case you want to know about my background and experience

I have worked as a Licensed Psychologist since 1995. Before that I worked as a Licensed Professional Counselor and as a Registered Dietitian.

Besides working in private practice, I have worked in hospitals, wellness centers, and university counseling centers.  I have experience working with adults and also with providing supervision to other counselors working toward licensure.

Although my earliest work was as in nutrition, nutritional counseling is not a primary focus of my work. This knowledge does support my work especially for those struggling with their weight.