Most of my clients come to me because they feel stuck. They want to know how to create real, lasting change. They want to improve their lives or resolve a life crisis. Sometimes they don’t know what they want except that they want things to be different. I help them figure it out.
I offer my clients unconditional loving acceptance of who they are right this minute, especially if they cannot find that acceptance for themselves. I trust that my clients can and will discover their best selves by confronting both their successes and failures. I hold my clients in this trust as they work towards understanding, helping them find their strengths and bring them forward in their struggles.
At its most essential, the work I do helps my clients figure out who they are so they can take this knowledge beyond the counseling office and into the rest of their lives.
I am licensed by the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage and Family Therapist Board. My license number is E.1100406. I have also been designated a Level IV Early Childhood & Afterschool Professional by the Ohio Child Care Resource & Referral Association (OCCRRA).
In Portland, Oregon I founded the Safe to Grow program at the YWCA Women’s Resource Center, a shelter serving women and children escaping domestic violence. I case managed families, facilitated parenting support groups and taught parenting classes for the Oregon State University Extension Services. I also began my writing career writing about issues important to families.
I received my undergraduate degree in Sociology at Portland State University where I also served as a Peer Mentor in the University Studies program. I returned to school to get my masters in community mental health counseling at the University of Dayton. I have my post-graduate certificate in Infant and Toddler Mental Health through Arcadia University and have completed the PSI and 2020 Mom Professional Maternal Mental Health Certificate Training. I have additional training in play therapy, child abuse, domestic violence, mediation, parenting, infertility and adoption issues.
I previously volunteered with the Ohio Birthparent Group and Adoption Network Cleveland, helping to facilitate the monthly all-adoption open meetings for all members of the adoption constellation — birth family members, adoptive family members and adoptees.
Writing and Speaking
Besides being a therapist, I’m also a writer and a speaker on parenting, infertility and adoption. I have written for Salon.com, Utne, Ode, Brain Child, Huffington Post, Parenting, Yoga Journal, Wondertime, Adoptive Families, Bitch: A Feminist Response to Pop Culture, Kveller.com. Disney’s Family.com, CommonsenseMedia.org, Early Childhood NEWS and Greater Good among many others.
My essays appear in several books including Joanne Bombarger’s Mother’s of Intention (Bright Sky Press, 2011), Rebecca Walker’s anthology One Big Happy Family (Riverhead Press, 2009), Mothering and Blogging (Demeter Press, 2009) edited by May Friedman & Shana L. Calixte and the textbooks Child Adoption: Issues and Perspectives (Icfai University Press, 2009) and Mixed Heritage (Greenhaven Press, 2009).
I have been interviewed on New Hampshire Public Radio’s Word of Mouth, on Q with Jian Ghomeshi, and on Dawn Davenport’s Creating a Family. I also consulted on a This American Life episode about open adoption.
I’ve presented at the Columbus Society for Clinical Social Work and Ohio State Counseling and Consultation; the 2011 Open Adoption Symposium in Richmond, VA; the American Adoption Congress annual conference in both 2008 and 2009; the 2nd International Conference on Adoption and Culture in 2008; the Voices for Ohio’s Children 2015 Healthy Kids Conference; the 2016 and 2018 Ohio Association for the Education of Young Children conference and several times for the All Ohio Counselors Conference.
My husband and I have two children. Our oldest is our biological child and is now a full grown actual adult. Our youngest is in high school and arrived to our family through an open, transracial adoption. Besides forcing my family to listen to show tunes with me, my favorite things to do are read, run (slowly but surely), and go see movies that pass the Bechdel test (and some that don't).