My Approach

My approach to counseling draws from multiple modalities, which I use with fluidity and responsiveness to clients’ needs. First and foremost I use a relational approach, which means that I value my relationship to each person as the key to inviting growth and change. My perspective is a feminist one that often sees individuals’ problems through a lens of social justice (meaning I appreciate that intense distress can come from experiences of oppression.) I teach skills for dealing with difficult emotions and negative thoughts by employing tenets of CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy), but truth be told I believe these skills to be most effective when partnered with deeper exploration of where problems come from. Many unhealthy patterns of relating are rooted in childhood experiences, family-of-origin issues, and trauma. Therefore I call upon principles of psychodynamic therapy and healing centered engagement (a useful shift from “trauma-informed care”) to guide clients to new insights at their own pace.

What I do in the therapy room:
  • Listen carefully as people reveal layers of their truths, with special attention to intersections of people’s cultural identities

  • Engage actively and authentically by asking clarifying questions, suggesting potential interpretations, and noticing connections or themes

  • Help people explore what gender means to them and how to untangle toxic gender messages around them

  • Guide people through logistical and emotional journeys of gender transition or other kinds of self-actualization

  • Talk comfortably about sexuality, including orientation, pleasure, consent, BDSM, non-monogamy, sexual health, and trauma

  • Teach strategies to get unstuck from negative thought patterns 

  • Offer tips and support around honest communication with others, especially around themes of coming out, self-advocacy, accountability, and inter-subjectivity (i.e. recognizing that each person has a valid and unique subjective experience)

  • Provide a safe place for people to unpack feelings of shame, and inviting people to recognize when things they are harboring were never their fault in the first place

  • Hold patience and tenderness while people move through stages of grief (including anger) about the wounds of injustice, childhood pain, and/or traumatic experiences

  • Care deeply about people’s emotional health and soul’s journey

About Me

I am a white queer/pansexual genderqueer person of Italian and French heritage. When I’m not counseling I am likely to be helping my teenage daughter cultivate their interests in painting, photography, and animals. I grew up in Portland, Maine, and have lived in many diverse cities (Albuquerque, New Orleans, New York City, Orlando, Boston, Austin, Portland, Oregon, and the Olympic Peninsula of Washington.) My undergraduate degree is in Women’s Studies and Communication, and I spent a decade working for nonprofit organizations that served children with disabilities or promoted girls’ empowerment. I earned a Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling from the University of Massachusetts Boston in 2014, and have focused my clinical work on youth and on LGBTQ+ populations. While living in Austin, I offered individual and couples counseling services at Discovery Counseling, facilitated school-based therapeutic groups through Out Youth, and helped to bring experts from Fenway Health to teach at the first conference of the Central Texas Transgender Health Coalition. My counseling practice became entirely virtual in 2020. In addition to counseling residents of Texas, I hope to expand coaching and group facilitation services on the Olympic Peninsula.

 

But enough about me. I’d love to learn about you!

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Photo credit to Mel Randazzo