Imagine how your life would be different if you truly understood the connection between your thoughts, feelings, and actions, if you felt connected to others in your life, and connected to your community. My mission is to partner with you to achieve these goals.
I provide individual counseling for clients with ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, social communication disorder, and learning disabilities. Having completed a professional mentorship at Michelle Garcia Winner’s Social Thinking Clinic, many of these strategies are woven into my work, as clients work on connecting with others and themselves, to gain a deeper understanding of their own abilities, needs, and goals. Online ("teletherapy") appointments are available for those clients in Washington or Idaho State.
In addition to my private practice, I am an Assistant Professor at Saint Martin’s University and serve as the Program Director for the Bachelor of Social Work program. I bring over 15 years of practice, supervisory, and field learning experience and have presented at Regional, National, and International Conferences.
I received my Doctor of Social Work (DSW) degree from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and my master’s degree in Social Work (MSW) from Boise State University.
My research interests include the use of poi spinning in therapy and implementing trauma-informed care. My original research on the therapeutic use of poi spinning is the first known study on poi spinning to be conducted in a mental health (clinical) setting.
In my spare time, I enjoy exploring the Sound with my husband, playing with my grandchildren, and traveling - remembering to always bring a set of poi!
Specializing in Autism Spectrum & ADHD:
"making a difference in the lives of individuals who struggle with barriers to learning, achievement, and social connectedness"
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Before we are even born, we are connected to another. As we grow, the demands of our social environments increase. For some this comes very naturally. For others, maybe because of challenges associated with autism spectrum disorder, social communication disorder, or other struggles, direct, explicit instruction is needed. My counseling approach is designed to meet the unique needs of individuals who struggle with social relationships.This intervention is based on the work of Michelle Garcia-Winner, SLP. I completed a professional mentorship at Michelle's clinic in February, 2011. For more information about this innovative approach, please visit her website:
Poi Spinning (therapeutic movement)
It is through movement and our senses that we learn about our world and ourselves. They say play is a child's work, but in truth, movement is a great tool at any age for fostering self-regulation, improving focus, and boosting thinking ability. As a part of my therapeutic approach, I use a movement tool called poi spinning. Poi spinning originated with the Maori of New Zealand. It is a fun way to support brain function and connect with others when spinning poi as a group.
Curious about how rhythmically spinning two weighted socks around your body can bring joy, energy, and balance to your life? Come give it a try!
For more information about the therapeutic use of poi spinning, check out a recent news segment:
"You need to try harder... why can't you just get (or stay) organized... don't tell me you lost your homework AGAIN." These are some of the comments individuals with ADHD often hear. While others may be well-meaning, they don't understand that struggles with executive functioning are real, based in brain science, and are NOT a character defect. Nor do they define the student. The great news is that strategies can be learned, and supports can be put in place to develop stronger executive functioning skills.
We do not have to look far to see the impact of trauma on our everyday lives. If not us, or someone to whom we are connected, we have only to scroll through social media or watch the news.
Recognizing the far-reaching, and often insidious impact of trauma in our lives, my approach is by nature trauma-informed. That means clients are empowered to make the best choices for them, my approach is transparent, and every care is taken to make sure clients feel safe and comfortable at all stages of treatment. If a history of trauma is impacting your ability to connect to your everyday life activities or in your relationships, we can work through this in a compassionate and safe environment, working at the pace that is comfortable for you.
Challenges in Learning
Nearly 10% of individuals struggle with a diagnosed learning disability, including difficulties with reading, writing, or math. Many others have not been formally diagnosed but have silently struggled. Often, when learning is a challenge, kids, teens and adults feel anxious, depressed, or struggle with self-esteem. Through understanding how their brain learns, putting supports in place, and building skills, most individuals not only survive school, but thrive in their learning environment. Let's talk about how we can harness your brain power and let your strengths lead!
The Starfish Story
An old man was walking on the beach one morning after a storm. In the distance, he could see someone moving like a dancer. As he came closer, he saw that it was a young woman picking up starfish and gently throwing them into the ocean.
“Young lady, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?”
“The sun is up, and the tide is going out, and if I do not throw them in they will die,” she said.
“But young lady, do you not realize that there are many miles of beach and thousands of starfish? You cannot possibly make a difference.”
The young woman listened politely then bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea.
“It made a difference for that one.”
~ Adapted from the original by Loren Eiselye