I graduated from college with a liberal arts degree, specifically in music composition…which, I always joke, is why I am now a clinical social worker. I have always found, in music and other art, the attraction of things that are not readily apparent, or remain unseen until they are ready to be seen.
I have a great passion for working with people to help them discover the unseen in their lives, where what’s seen are those bothersome thoughts, behaviors, and emotions that seem ‘stuck’ or just keep coming back, endlessly telling a story for which there often are no words. Each new ‘unseen’ I’ve come upon with clients in our understanding or progress has driven me both to learn more about the therapies in which I was originally trained (traditional ‘insight-oriented’ approaches), as well as, over the years, to train in therapies that can offer something including and beyond understanding and self-knowledge: resolution. Those therapies that offer us something ‘more’ in the healing work include EMDR therapy, Ego State Therapy, Clinical Hypnosis, and, most recently, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy.
Where I’ve Been, Professionally Speaking
Prior to relocating to Seattle in March 2016, I maintained an independent therapy practice in Chicago since 2009, offering weekly therapy, intensive early trauma clearing, and consultation services for both EMDR and non-EMDR therapists on complex trauma, dissociation, addictions, and integrative treatment. Additionally, I have been worked with people in the follow capacities:
Substance use therapist for individuals and groups in the Recovering with Pride Program at Howard Brown Health Center, the largest LGBTQ-focused health center in the Midwest, located in Chicago. I worked both in abstinence-based and harm reduction models, and, in early 2012, developed and facilitated one of the very first ongoing harm reduction therapy groups in the Chicago area, modeled on the ground-breaking work of Jeannie Little and Patt Denning in San Francisco.
Psychiatric social worker at one of the largest inpatient psychiatric treatment facilities in Illinois. I served for three years as a program therapist working with adolescents, adults, and older adults struggling with acute mental health difficulties. My third year was almost entirely dedicated to serving the needs of psychologically compromised older adults struggling with varied forms of dementia complicated by histories of unresolved trauma, chronic substance use, and, often, family neglect. Additionally, I provided individual clinical supervision for Master’s level interns and post-graduates seeking licensure, as well as peer consultation to licensed practitioners.
Residential treatment therapist, offering individual and group therapies to acutely traumatized adolescent wards of the State of Illinois and, in a different setting, adults struggling with lifelong, unresolved trauma, and HIV and AIDS in Chicago’s northwest side. With my adolescent clients, I relied heavily upon creative expression as a means for engaging the young people for whom there rarely were words adequate to describe their experience.More detailed information about my professional and academic histories may be found via my profile on LinkedIn.
Education and Training
I was trained as a clinical social worker at the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago, from which I graduated with honors in 2006. I achieved full licensure as a Clinical Social Worker in the State of Illinois in 2009 (Lic. #149.013425), a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 2013 (Lic. # SW117870), and, most recently, in the State of Washington in 2014 (Lic. #LW.60534498). Since that time, I have continued to pursue a variety of professional development opportunities. I also participates in ongoing peer consultation to keep my treatment skill pencils sharpened. I am an Approved Consultant through the EMDR International Association and a Certified EMDR therapist. I have also participated in advanced training for the use of EMDR therapy in treating addictions and compulsions, affect phobias, and early (pre-verbal) trauma, as well as techniques for integrating somatic methods and Ego State Therapy to ensure successful reprocessing.
In mid-2017, I completed Level I of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy training, which focuses upon developing greater body awareness through different forms of resourcing; helping the nervous system complete thwarted defensive responses; and creating opportunities for the nervous system to discharge ‘trapped’ disturbance organically. I also continue to pursue further training in clinical hypnosis, as this is an interest of mine that continues to develop.
I offer consultation to developing professionals on the use of EMDR therapy and Ego State Therapy in working with clients who have complex trauma and dissociative symptoms, as well as clinicians learning to use the Multidimensional Inventory of Dissociation as a tool for understanding and treating their clients’ dissociative symptoms.
In additional to my professional pursuits, I have a great passion for liberation politics (of all kinds) of the 1960s – 1970s, painfully obscure British comedy from the 1970s on, antique carnival and depression glass, vintage furniture, lots of music that no one ever seems to have heard of, and my family, but not necessarily in that order.
I am a member in good standing with the following organizations:
National Association of Social Workers (NASW)
Washington State Society for Clinical Social Work
EMDR International Association (EMDRIA)
International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD)
Society for Clinical & Experimental Hypnosis