Offering trauma-focused therapy for adult individuals and couples.
Associate Clinical Social Worker in Vancouver, WA
Supervised by Katie Unterreiner, MSW, LICSW
Past harm/trauma can cause us to operate off of relationship templates we learned from those who harmed us. We can get stuck in these patterns, often without understanding why. Other times, recent trauma can turn the relational equilibrium upside down. When one partner is struggling with the effects of PTSD, the other may have trouble adjusting or knowing how to respond. Couples therapy can help in building a new equilibrium with a stronger foundation of awareness, affection, and communication.
As a member of the LGBTQ community, I have a particular passion for working with queer and trans folks. I have a background in LGBTQ community-based work and HIV services work, and anti-oppressive practice is at the heart of my approach. I offer referral letter sessions for trans folks seeking HRT or gender-affirming procedures. In order to mitigate gatekeeping practices, I adhere to the Informed Consent Model and offer a "pay-what-you-can" rate for letter-related sessions.
In a therapy setting, my work has focused on clients who've experienced trauma such as sexual assault, childhood abuse, grief/loss, systemic oppression, spiritual trauma, and violence. I believe that the antidote to trauma is safe and supportive connection. To be able to re-connect with others, we need to find safety in our own bodies. In session, I use a collaborative, body-centered approach that centers your self-determination. I am trained somatic- and attachment-focused EMDR therapy.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an evidence-based therapy designed to alleviate the effects of trauma. I am trained in Somatic- and Attachment-Focused EMDR, which can be used to treat both childhood and adult trauma. EMDR integrates neurobiology, somatic theories, attachment theory, and cognitive therapy to target traumatic memories and provide the conditions for the brain to properly reprocess them.
When we grow up in tumultuous environments, our brains develop adaptations to help us survive. These adaptations become "parts" of ourselves that can stay on overdrive long into our adulthood, sometimes keeping us stuck in old patterns. Internal Family Systems is an incredibly powerful way to bring curiosity and compassion to these parts. When we offer acceptance and understanding to the parts of ourselves that we have been most critical of, they no longer have the same control over our lives.
Traumatic experiences are not processed like other memories. The brain does not assign a "time stamp" to trauma memories like it does to other past experiences, which causes our bodies to operate as if that trauma is still happening. This causes our nervous systems to go haywire and wreaks havoc on our bodies. Somatic approaches, like polyvagal theory, heal trauma by helping us find safety in our bodies, retraining our nervous systems to realize that we are no longer constantly in danger.