I suppose everyone starts off similarly. Sometimes taking the first step (leap?) is the hardest thing. That may be a common theme in this blog, because seeking psychotherapy to help with sadness, anxiety, relationships, trauma, big decisions, or general unhappiness with your life is often hard to start. So is shaping and building a therapy practice. That will be my primary focus: the process of healing through psychotherapy, written for the consumer and the provider.
Before we tackle the many aspects of these concerns, I want to let you know a little more about me and what I hope this blog will be. This is not a therapy-client relationship. You and I do not have the privacy nor containment that a therapy relationship usually requires. I hope to identify and address common concerns, hopes, and fears that seekers bring to the search for a helper. For the content to be more meaningful to my readers, I intend to disclose more personal information than you would usually see in a therapy relationship. I hope this disclosure will assist in understanding the complexities of the therapeutic relationship. I also want other therapists to see examples of how our own histories and personalities affect the context of our services. So for the record, I am neither your therapist nor your clinical supervisor. I hope I can be a guide, an advisor, and a supporter in whatever journey to healing you take. I am glad to address specific issues if I can, so feel free to ask questions or make comments. Published comments will be managed to prevent inappropriate content being posted.
I am a baby boomer – class of ’46. I recently retired from a therapy practice in a Native American Tribal Health Clinic. I had a private practice for 20 years, and worked in a community where I was well-known and in one with no contacts at all. My primary emphasis was trauma and attachment issues for adults and children. My favorite clients were 4 – 5 year-old boys (They are so “in the moment”), but I thrived on a mix of children and adults, and grew to appreciate the complexities of Gay and lesbian relationships, childhood trauma, traumatic injury recovery, chronic treatment-resistant depression and anxiety. I supported my practice in lean times working in family courts providing Guardian ad Litem and parent-child evaluations. Before starting my private practice in 1985, I worked 16 years in Washington State’s social service programs. Before moving into children’s services program development and administration, I worked as a juvenile parole counselor, child protective service caseworker, child welfare/ foster care caseworker, foster home recruiter and licensor. The last 10 years with the Department of Social and Health Services, I worked in policy development and administration, leaving as the DSHS Deputy Regional Administrator in central Washington. Although I worked for the same agency 16 years, I held a variety of jobs. I like change and challenge. I don’t usually like surprises.
Raised in a chaotic family of 5 children born within 6 years and two alcoholic parents, I developed a passion for rules, regulations, and predictability. I have worked hard to incorporate and enjoy spontaneity. While I still have difficulty going against the directional arrows in a vacant parking lot, I am much more at ease with hanging loose and having fun. I am fiercely competitive in games, but a stickler for playing by the rules. Deep down, I want everything to make sense and am frequently frustrated by the “craziness” of organizational and governmental politics. I find the older I get, the grumpier I am about things that bother me.
At the same time, I am warm and generous. I can be funny and fun to be with. I love to read, to laugh, and to be on the water – boating, kayaking, or dock-sitting. I love the lush greenery and vast seas of western Washington’s marine climate, but miss the blue skies, summer heat, and winter snow of central Washington. I am creative and express this with sculpting, gardening, ideas, and words.
When it comes to mental health care, I am a believer that the individual has within them the keys to healing their pain and distress; that therapists serve as guides – not directors. I believe emotional healing is a journey, and while therapists may have been on many journeys before, each path is unique and must be carved out by the individual. The therapist brings experience in survival and, like any skilled guide, has tools to assist. But they cannot lead the way because they do not know the path. I also believe that there is no single path, no “right” answer for any given personal goal. All paths will lead to healing. Some choices make those paths much longer and more difficult, but they all offer a way to emotional health.
So that’s my story in a big nutshell. What I hope to do here is to guide you in addressing your distress; to help you make a connection with a therapist if that’s what you are seeking: to share my experience in life and therapy in ways that might be helpful to both seekers and providers of therapy; and to figure out how this incredible mode of electronic communication can benefit the process.
Remember, this forum is not intended to be therapy. I have no way to view your body language, hear your tone of voice, or see if your words and your displayed emotions are matching. These are essential to effective communication and great tools for the therapist (and for the consumer when reversed.) I will attempt to be as helpful as I can. I will refer you the best I can to needed services. Even though I will not be your therapist, I am a health care professional bound by law and ethics to act to protect persons from harm. I will be required to report my concerns of harm to self or others, and suspected abuse of children and vulnerable adults. I am located and providing these services in Washington State.
Again, I am open to communicating directly with you through this forum. If you have questions or concerns, please let me know. I will attempt to address them if I can.