The foundation of my work as a psychotherapist comes from two main sources; Aikido and Existential – Phenomenological Psychology.
Aikido is a non-violent conflict resolution oriented martial art developed in Japan. Existential-Phenomenological psychology has its roots in Europe and blends aspects of traditional psychoanalytic theory with a philosophical lens toward how we make meaning of our lives.
In my psychotherapy practice these two studies provide me with a balance of Eastern and Western systems of viewing what it is to be human. They both offer ways to ethically and effectively engage in relationship with yourself and everyone around you. Both studies emphasize holding theories or techniques in a way that allows authenticity to play the central role. They both recognize that life happens in relationship and in a co-created space.
One of the reasons I love working with children is that they demand authenticity. If they feel coerced in any way they will react with distance – sometimes emotionally, sometimes energetically, and sometimes physically. Aikido and Existential-Phenomenological Psychology provide me with tools needed to enter into an honest process of healing with a child and their parent(s).
In 2017 I had the delightful experience of encountering the work of Gordon Neufeld, which is the clearest model of what I have been practicing all these years by integrating Aikido and Existential-Phenomenological psychology. Neufeld created an attachment-based developmental approach to working with and supporting children and parents. As I have been learning his language and model this has also woven into my work. His imagery and concepts parallel Aikido and Existential-Phenomenological Psychology in a beautiful, inspiring way.
My education and experience
I have over 20 years of experience working with children and families in a variety of settings, including child care work, leading new mom’s groups, working in a school for homeless children, working in a psychotherapy clinic for children, teaching Aikido to children ages 4 – 12, parenting and the individual work in my own practice.
I have a history of volunteering in various clinical settings; The Psychotherapy Cooperative, Jumping Mouse in Port Townsend, The King County Crisis Line to name a few. My current volunteer work is focused on teaching Aikido to children.
I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the State of Washington. I hold a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from Seattle University and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Antioch University. I have been studying Aikido since 1999 and have achieved the level of fourth degree black belt. I continually attend workshops and lectures in order to expand my knowledge and skill. I also keep close ties with mentors who have many years of experience and support my work.