More about me

20140404_171059I have created this blog for two reasons: 1) to let customers learn more about me, and 2) help educate the public about mental health issues and empower people to make informed decisions for themselves. For my first blog post, I will start with telling you more about myself.

My decision to enter psychotherapy was a decision I made at midlife after spending fourteen years in fund-raising, volunteer coordination, and non-profit management.

I earned my Master of Social Work degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in May 2015 and became a Certified Advanced Practice Social Worker in the state of Wisconsin (License number 130022-121) later that same year. This qualifies me to practice psychotherapy under supervision from a Licensed Clinical Social Worker–a certification I will be able to earn after completing three thousand hours of supervised work. My supervisor is Jim McGloin.

My interest in fund-raising and non-profit management stemmed from my desire to create social change and make a positive difference.  My bachelor’s degree was in Political Science and I wanted to help create change on the local and national level.  I spent half my time in that career working for a large social service agency and the other half of that time working for the environmental movement.

I switched from non-profit management to psychotherapy and social work because I wanted to make a difference on a personal level instead of a system level. I realized that I had a natural affinity towards this kind of work. Working with people in a therapy setting I feel I can help people make change on their own terms. People have often found me easy to talk to. I’m very non-judgmental, and I have always followed a philosophy of “starting where people are at, instead of where I want them to be.” I usually can find common ground with people who have very different values and life experiences from mine, and I think it is important to understand people on their own terms.

As a child, I grew up in Oak Park, Illinois, a suburb on the western edge of Chicago. The village was experience racial change when I was a child, and they made an effort to be welcoming to African-Americans. That doesn’t mean that Oak Park was an ideal place for people of all races. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to see racism like an onion.  The village succeeded in peeling off a big part of the first layer, but there were still many other layers to uncover–and there still are.  I have been in a couple of interracial dating relationships, and that helped me see how a person of a different race experiences racism and how present and persistent racism still is.

I am also passionate about fostering a sense of community.  I have lived in intentional communities for about half of my adult life, and I do so because I think the modern Western lifestyle is very isolating. I think it can create negative impacts on mental health at the personal, community and societal level. That being said, I don’t think community living is for everyone. A sense of community can also be experienced even if people don’t share a living space. In any case, I have learned a lot about group dynamics and dealing with conflict, and I can apply that towards my practice.

Other random personal interests:  I have been an event DJ over the years. I like a variety of music and enjoy seeing it live as well as dancing to it. My house has chickens in the backyard and we harvest their eggs. I brew my own kombucha.

So that’s a little more about me on a slightly more personal level. I’ve written this just so people can get to know me a little better.  What is more important, however, is how I can help you and meet your needs.