Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor
& Certified Mindfulness Meditation Teacher
The Counseling Journey
I like to think of counseling as a journey shared by two fellow travellers. If you imagine that you’ve been wandering around for a while in a dark forest by yourself, it might be helpful to seek out a supportive guide to walk with you. As a counselor, I have training and experience navigating dark forests. As my fellow traveller, you are intimately familiar with the terrain of your forest. I do not know which path you should take, but I am happy to walk with you while you find out for yourself which direction is best for you. I am happy to accompany you through the forest with mindfulness, nonjudgmental support, guidance, a flashlight, and a sense of humor.
I have over 16 years experience working with others through the following concerns:
Anxiety and Fear
Grief and Loss
Existential Issues (death, isolation, meaning/life purpose)
Meditation is Your Flashlight
Meditation can be viewed as the art of learning how to use your particular flashlight along the way. Sometimes you need the light to be sharp and direct, focused on one thing at a time. At other times, you may want a wider, softer beam to include more of your surroundings.
Mindfulness meditation training can help you sharpen your senses and be more at ease in the forest, by gradually divesting attention away from the worried mind, and into the natural functioning of your other senses.
Learning to trust ourselves is a challenging part of this process, and as your guide I will offer you insights, stories, and self-compassion practices to support you along the way. I have been meditating for many years, and was trained by Jack Kornfield, Tara Brach and many other teachers on my way to becoming a certified meditation teacher.
Why Counseling with Meditation?
There is a story about a Zen master on her deathbed. One of her students approaches, and asks “how are you doing with this dying process?” The master smiles and responds, “I am doing just fine, but my body is having a hard time catching up with that.”
The master is pointing to the courage it takes to acknowledge that even though we may understand something intellectually, we don’t necessarily feel this to be true. We all know what it is like to know we shouldn’t be anxious about something, and yet we are anxious.
My approach to counseling incorporates guided meditations that may help you become more familiar with how you store anxiety, trauma, shame, depression, and insecurity in your body. Learning how to be with these experiences directly, rather than believing the story your mind is telling you, is a practice and a great tool for learning to ride the inevitable waves of life with greater understanding, resilience, and compassion.
I would be honored to help you start, grow, and maintain a meditation practice while we work together. Anybody can learn to meditate, and having a trained teacher can help. Meditation has been shown to have the following benefits:
Reduces stress, fear and anxiety
Promotes emotional health
Improves concentration and focus
Improves capacity for kindness
May help reduce addictive behaviors
Reduces feelings of depression
Helps to cope with pain
Can decrease blood pressure
While rooted in person-centered theory, I am familiar with and have experience in a variety of theoretical orientations, and will tailor my approach to suit your needs. If I am not the right fit for you, I will do my best to find somebody who is.
I have shared below some of my favorite quotes/pointers/poems. If you resonate, there's a good chance we will work well together, and I'd love to hear from you.
"Stop trying to heal yourself, fix yourself, even awaken yourself.
Let go of letting go. Stop trying to fast-forward the movie of your life, chasing futures that never seem to arrive. Instead, bow deeply to yourself as you actually are.
Your pain, your sorrow, your doubts, your deepest longing, your fearful thoughts...are not mistakes, and they aren't asking to be healed. They are asking to be held.
Here, now, lightly, in the loving arms of present awareness."
-- Jeff Foster
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
-- Jalaluddin Rumi
"Being human is not about being any one particular way; it is about being as life creates you—with your own particular strengths and weaknesses, gifts and challenges, quirks and oddities."
-- Kristin Neff
"If I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own backyard; because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with." -- Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz
"The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change." -- Carl Rogers
"I want to make sure you know you are not who you think you are." -- Gangaji
"I honor those who try to rid themselves of any lying, who empty the self and have only clear being there." -- Rumi
"I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain." -- James Baldwin
"Meditation is a social and political act. Listening and not-doing are actions far more powerful than most of us have yet begun to realize." -- Joan Tollifson
"Sitting quietly is essential. Don't waste time not doing this." -- H.W.L. Poonja
"Just remember that Dumbo didn't need the feather...the magic was already in him."
-- Stephen King
"Your vision will become clear when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks within, awakens." -- Carl Jung
"And the truth is--we are all basically the universe pretending to be humans for a brief moment in time." -- Rupaul
"We shall not cease from exploring,
And the end of our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time."