About Me

I’m a licensed counselor with a private practice in Lafayette, CO (near Boulder and Denver).  I believe in the therapeutic process.  I believe that change is possible.  My focus as a therapist is to uncover the underlying causes of ineffective behaviors and attitudes, empower my clients to heal, and equip them with healthier ways of relating to themselves and the world around them.  So much of who we are as adults is affected by what we had to do as children to get the love and acceptance we needed to survive.  In a healthy family unit, a child is provided with unconditional love and acceptance.  The environment is warm, truthful and encouraging.  The problem is that most of us didn’t get that.  Maybe bits and pieces, but our parents or caregivers were imperfect and couldn’t possibly give us everything we needed just as we needed it.  So we learned to hide parts of ourselves that we thought (most likely at the subconscious level) were unacceptable.  Maybe we heard the negative verdict about those parts directly or maybe we interpreted  the information that way with our young minds.  It doesn’t take a major event or abuse to cause a child to put a part of herself into hiding.
Many of us are walking around with unhealthy beliefs about ourselves and others.  Those unhealthy beliefs get in the way of living in freedom.  Do you ever feel stuck?  You just keep doing the same things in relationships and can’t figure out how to change?  That’s where therapy comes in.  Once we figure out the wound that you are dealing with, we work to create healing opportunities.  Believe it or not often all we really need is for someone to know everything about us and stay.  That’s what I do.  I stay.  I hear what you really think and feel and I don’t leave.  I encourage you to find safe people who can do the same:  know everything about you and stay.
We work on changing some of the false beliefs you have about yourself with the truth.  We are all created with purpose.  Not one of us is an accident.  Each of us brought joy to our Creator the moment we came into existence.  Before we did one thing we were loved.  The doing part of our life doesn’t change the amount of love God has for us, not any less and not any more.
Skill building is another facet to changing unwanted behaviors and attitudes.  We work on that, too.  Sometimes we have to rewire the way we handle certain situations or triggers.  It can take a lot of time and be quite frustrating, but in the end, it is worth it when you see yourself living life the way it was intended: in freedom.  No baggage, no shame, no burdens pulling you down.
I share my thoughts and views about life and counseling in this blog.  This blog is not intended to replace therapy.  Please find a good therapist if you need one, don’t rely on my written word to bring about the changes you seek.  A few places to start are PsychologyToday.com and Theravive.com.  They are sites that list thousands of therapists around the US.
Some information about my training:  I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, a Master of Science in Counseling and I am a Licensed Professional Counselor.  I have received additional training in EMDR, DBT, The Hendricks Institute Foundations Seminar, Gottman Method Couples’ Therapy and Shadow Work Basic Facilitator Training.  In addition, I attended the Cloud and Townsend Ultimate Leadership Intensive and One Week Intensive for Counselors.  I am currently attending the Counselor Training Program, a one year training with John Townsend. ( www.cloudandtownsend.com)

The Benefits of Assertiveness Part 1

I’m in a Counselor Training Program with Dr. John Townsend and Scott Makin.  One day out of every month I am in Indianapolis being challenged in my personal growth as well as learning all about the counseling approach of Drs. John Townsend and Henry Cloud.  The training involves teaching time and small group counseling also called process groups.  During one of the process groups I stumbled upon a realization that I have a crippling fear of being assertive.  It doesn’t usually show up in my office with clients, but anywhere else I shrink back or regret having opened my mouth.  I have thought that assertiveness is negative.  It’s not that I have never been assertive but when I am I feel like I am pushy and bossy.  Maybe those things are true because I am not very skilled at being assertive but I am gaining an understanding of the importance of being assertive.
At the end of each training day, the 21 of us who are participating take time to share our homework for the next month.  It has to be measurable and challenge us in some way to be stretched.  I came up with the assignment that I would write 10 things that happen when I am assertive.  John added that I write 10 things that happen when others are assertive.  As I pondered the positive results of my assertiveness it was a bit difficult.  I kept running into the negative piece.  When I wrote about the benefits of others being assertive it created a shift inside of me.  I saw how important assertiveness is in the health and growth of the world.  Our very existence depends on assertiveness. This shift opened up a new value for my own assertiveness and the ideas began flowing out of me.
Here they are:
Ten good things that happen when I am assertive
1. I’m not left wondering if I missed out by holding my tongue
2. I feel a sense of accomplishment even if things don’t turn out my way
3. I connect with people versus holding back and being closed
4. I finish things (I’ve spent most of my life dreaming things up but not doing anything with the ideas)
5. I experience forward momentum instead of just swirling in the same old place
6. My creativity is flowing
7. I use the gifts I’ve been given
8. I model self-respect and reap the benefit of respecting myself
9. I create an opportunity for others to find healing
10. My needs get met
When others are assertive
1. Lives are changed physically (like a Dr. helping someone or a person seeking care or health)
2. People’s eternities are altered
3. Dreams are accomplished
4. People are protected
5. Connection happens
6. Employment is secured
7. Babies are born
8. Marriages are saved
9. Truth is spoken
10. Change happens
So here’s my challened to you:  Write ten things that happen when others are assertive and your own list of ten things that happen when you are assertive.  Ponder that list and then get out there and go for it!  The focus isn’t so much on what you accomplish, just that you are actively, instead of passively, living the life that you have been given.  There’s a parable in the Bible that talks about using the talent we’ve been given.  The one who buries the talent is the one who loses out.  Those who go for it, knowing that there is a risk of screwing things up, are the ones who benefit.  So take one step today to move toward really living!

Depression: No Simple Answers

The very first post on this blog was an article I did not write.  The woman setting up my social media outlets simply found an article that seemed informative to help me get things going.  No harm intended and I actually appreciate her help.  The article inspired one reader to share her critique of the article which got me to thinking:  I’ll write my own view of depression.  So here it goes.
Depression can be a bit of a slippery fish.  Its origins vary from life experiences to physiological to even a combination of both.  It can come and go without notice.  It can hang on for interminably long periods of time.  Sometimes it responds to medication and people report “getting their life back.”  Sometimes the quest for the most effective drug can seem worse than the depression itself. There are people who find that “the power of positive thinking” actually helps.  For others the mere thought of changing their perception of things catapults them into even deeper depression.  There are no simple answers when it comes to depression.
Some may disagree with me.  I have found in my life as a counselor that “always” and “never” have no place in the world of psychology.  It seems there are more theories and therapeutic strategies than one can master in a lifetime.  There are specialties that come just short of promising a cure.  In this field, therapists are advised not to offer a cure because, as we all know, every person is unique and the reasons for their particular issue complicated by that fact.  Not to mention that the brain, though far more understood now than in years past, posits a vast realm of mystery.
Therapists want to be able to free clients from the pain that cripples and paralyzes them.  Most of us are in this field because we genuinely care about people and want to present what limited knowledge we have to improve their quality of life.  In my experience, the one constant I can offer, is myself.  My presence, my heart, my compassion and understanding.  For my most profoundly depressed clients, that is the one thing that seems to help.  Not overnight.  There is talking and listening, and often there are tears.  Sometimes there are skills involved and sometimes not.  I encourage being gentle with yourself.  Allowing the depression to be there.  To understand it as a part of you but not necessarily as something that defines you.  I can’t promise that these will “cure” depression.  What I believe is that sometimes a portion of relief is found in someone sitting across from you confirming what you already know: there are no simple answers.