For the theory geeks

I have extensive experience in individual counseling, crisis counseling, and substance use counseling, and my areas of interest include trauma, relationships, and gender and sexual minority issues. I am a sex-positive therapist. My view of counseling is that it is the therapeutic relationship between counselor and client that facilitates self-exploration and change. While self-exploration can lead to some painful emotions or realizations, it can ultimately lead to rewarding growth and benefit. I believe that no two clients are the same and that my counseling approach should be flexible and meet the specific needs of each client. My approach to counseling integrates a number of different techniques and theories with an underlying gestalt theoretical foundation.

According to gestalt therapy, context affects experience, and a person cannot be fully understood without understanding his or her context. With this in mind, gestalt psychotherapy recognizes that no one can be purely objective—including therapists whose experiences and perspectives are also influenced by their own contexts—and practitioners accept the validity and truth of their clients’ experiences.

Gestalt therapy also recognizes that forcing a person to change paradoxically results in further distress and fragmentation. Rather, change results from acceptance of what is. Thus, therapy sessions focus on helping people learn to become more self-aware and to accept and trust in their feelings and experiences to alleviate distress.

You can also watch Fritz Perls, the founder of gestalt therapy, in action here. He was a persnickety and crotchety old man who had a tendency to rub some people (especially the more touchy-feely therapist-types) the wrong way and he's a personal hero of mine. Take that for what it's worth.

Personally speaking...

I have spent most of my life in academia, and have been a student or worked at a small private liberal arts university in the Pacific Northwest, a midsize private research university in the West, a private R1 in the South, and a large state university in the cornfields of the Midwest. Is it any wonder that the Research Triangle was calling my name?

In my free time I can be found playing board games and RPGs, cross-stitching subversive sayings, obsessively drinking coffee and watching people in coffee shops obsessively drink coffee, and arguing about Star Trek vs. Star Wars.