In my own dark nights, counseling has been a life preserver. Over time, however, therapy should become more than a lifeline or storm shelter. A deep, guttural question surfaces, one Jesus was fond of asking followers: What is it you really want?
In our work together, do you want to simply treat symptoms and master coping skills that tame the soul and keep life at bay? This might be necessary for a season, but I also want something more for you. My hope is that we can bravely grieve the losses, and tend to the embedded beliefs and fears, that are inhibiting deeper healing and transformation. As the writer Parker Palmer puts it, “Sometimes, the way to God is down.”
What I Offer in Christian Counseling
The counseling I offer can be described as a pilgrimage with a trusted companion-guide. I identify with the daring, seafaring ventures of St. Brendan the Navigator, a 6th-century Irish abbot whose monks banded together – in rawhide-bound skiffs called currachs – to explore the ‘desert of the sea.’ They risked discovering the depths of God and themselves, and it changed the course of history.
Sometimes we need counseling not simply because we’ve lost our compass, but because God is inviting us to unmoor our boats from the shores of self-reliance. My desire is to join you on this journey – as it’s not meant to be taken alone.
It takes courage to be seen and heard in new ways. What I provide is more than a professionally trained ear, but a presence of heart and mind, and the insight to help you cast new vision and direction for your life. What you might judge as a painful, hopeless wasteland, I may see as a fermenting work of the soul, where new life is being provoked. Counseling often moves people to develop the life skills of both self-confrontation and self-compassion, which are best learned in a trusted relationship.
My Goal as a Christian Counselor
My goal as a Christian counselor is for you to ‘know God’ and ‘know yourself.’ The two are intrinsically related (as both philosophers and Christian teachings have professed for centuries). I want you to know your ‘ground,’ that place of healing where you feel more rooted and whole as a person, more present to your experience. This work is about growing a mature, mindful self who is more alive in relationships, and better equipped to live into your calling – as a fuller version of the ‘you’ God imagined.
My door is open to you, as a safe place where you’ll feel truly known and accepted for who you are – and celebrated for who you are becoming.
The theories and modalities I draw from depend on a client’s needs. I take an integrated approach that treats the whole person – body, soul, mind, spirit. This may involve narrative, neuroscience, sensorimotor, interpersonal, attachment, psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral and family-systems perspectives.
You’ll find that my style is very relational and collaborative. I’ll be curious about how the past is being replayed in your present – in your outlook on life, your current relationships, and between us. We’ve all unwittingly ‘adapted’ in life by conforming to family roles and relational patterns. Until, during seasons of disorientation, we feel summoned to sift the accumulated clutter and assumed labels.
Therapy is the redemptive work of reflecting on your own experience – and others’ experience of you. What then might a counseling session look like? Healing is a co-created process between us, one that might work itself out in quiet contemplation or lively dialogue, empathic listening or evocative questions, emotional or artistic expression.
Part of my graduate work considered the interplay of theology and clinical psychology. My counseling is also influenced by two years of Benedictine spiritual direction training – the ancient practice of listening with someone for the movements of God in the milieu of everyday life.
- Anxiety & Depression
- Post-traumatic stress
- Abuse & Trauma
- Grief & Loss
- Relationships & Family conflict
- Men’s Issues
- Career & other life transitions
On a Personal Note
I have been married for 10 years. My Brazilian wife and I are raising two bi-cultural daughters to have strong voices in this world. They are brilliant (without even realizing or trying) at ushering me back into my own story, teaching me more of what it means to be a husband and father – and from there a counselor.
My Qualifications & Work Experience
I received my B.A. in Journalism and Psychology from Ithaca College (N.Y.), and earned my M.A. in Counseling Psychology from The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology. My training included a year as a therapist intern and post-graduate extern at the Student Counseling Center of Seattle Pacific University. I currently work as a therapist both at a community mental health clinic and in private practice with Seattle Christian Counseling.
My Call to Christian Counseling
At my core, I am a storyteller. I believe our lives are intended to reveal the interweaving of own stories with the Story being written by our Creator. My calling as a counselor emerged in various roles over the years: as the friend who’d sit with you into the wee hours at a café. As a writer, teacher and retreat leader, helping others to narrate and make meaning of their experiences.
Accompanying others into the raw, remote places of their lives allowed me to see the margins of my own in a softer, kinder light – and to approach stories in a more authentic way. The headlines never quite captured it, but what I discovered as a journalist also applies to the therapeutic process: the labor of genuinely re-membering and retelling a story empowers us to hear and to own our true voice.
This retelling begins with deep listening, which for me was honed by sitting with monastic spiritual directors, contemplative practice, and my own experience in therapy. By inviting others to listen with me, I began to trust the Spirit’s nudging towards a career in counseling.
More About Me
Before training to be a counselor, I spent many years living coast to coast as a journalist, columnist and editor. I also taught at a university in Eastern Europe and later served as a retreat leader for churches and a non-profit mission. I have been married for 10 years. My Brazilian wife and I are raising two bi-cultural daughters to have strong voices in this world. They are brilliant (without even realizing or trying) at ushering me back into my own story, teaching me more of what it means to be a husband and father – and from there a counselor. I enjoy camping, hiking, reading, cooking with friends – and napping hard with my kids on weekends.
I offer counseling for couples who wish to repair, restore and deepen their intimacy with one another at any stage in the relationship. Each partner is welcomed into the process with dignity and respect. Even in committed relationships, it’s often hard for partners to ‘read’ the underlying beliefs and scripted fears that are dictating how they relate. I will help you to identify the ingrained patterns that you’ve carried into the relationship – subtle strategies of hiding and blaming that perhaps even fitted you as a couple early on.
In our work together, we will strive to name and create space for the secure emotional connection that both you and your partner are likely seeking when tensions run high. Ultimately, couples counseling is not an exercise in conflict-avoidance or communication skills-building. Rather, I am attentive to what each partner needs to define and grow a more solid ‘self’ – for the sake of deeper, truer intimacy. Hopefully, our sessions will invite the question: How are you made to play and create together, to call forth the best in one another, in expressing the relational heart of God?
Family and Relational Issues
By nature we are relational beings. We come to know ourselves through other people, who give meaning to our lives in ways both beautiful and hurtful. But we live in a confusing culture that idolizes independence – while at the same time modeling co-dependence.
In reality, we are created for neither. I believe the heart’s cry is for healthy inter-dependence, a way of being and relating that respects and gives definition to the unique individual – while also acknowledging that growth is an inter-personal process. Our emotional and spiritual growth, and our mental health, is tied to our ‘felt sense’ of belonging in community and creation.
This begins with our first experience of connection – family. Our original family functions as an intricate, emotional eco-system; each member has a profound and enduring effect on others. From a young age we learn to play roles that sustain this system in both nurturing and dysfunctional ways – adapting and reacting to, activating, absorbing or accommodating the tensions of other family members.
Together we will explore how you’ve come to understand and respond to relational dynamics like boundaries, expectations, trust, communication, acceptance, approval, etc. And how these family-of-origin issues might be reemerging later in life, whether in marriage, parenting and other relationships. Our work will help you to deepen current relationships by facing how you’ve been shaped and bound by your past.
Grief and Loss
Grief is meant to be an intensely humanizing experience, a sacred journey that helps to heal and expand the heart. But sometimes this is lost amid cultural expectations and misperceptions about grief “stages” and timeframes (which can promote grief-avoidance, shame or blame).
Grief is both a normal and dynamic process – as unique as the individual encountering it. There is no one or right way to grieve. Likewise, there are many different types of grief and loss, which can overlap in complex fashion – the physical death of a loved one can also mean the real, symbolic loss of certain identities for the survivor, for example.
Unresolved grief seeps out in other forms – resentment, fatigue, anxiety. Often I have witnessed, and experienced, the peace that comes from stepping into one’s walled-off grief, and I am here to support you. I will work to help you identify your personal style and pathway of grieving, and to create rituals that allow a grieving heart to embrace loss and move through pain. Not in an effort to detach or ‘let go,’ but to make new meaning, memories, and space (if desired) for a different yet ongoing relationship.
Abuse and Trauma
Many of us carry a deeply embedded mark of shame over the ways we’ve been physically or sexually violated and emotionally wounded. The tragedy of trauma and abuse is not only that they degrade and dis-embody, but also that survivors are left with a recurring, disorienting sense of re-living the experience. Some events are too disturbing, too fragmenting, to be integrated by the mind and body as a memory. Instead of remaining in the past, the memory resurfaces in the everyday present, where survivors are bracing for fearful reminders or triggers.
The dissociative impact of trauma and abuse often hinders trust and intimacy in other relationships; it’s difficult for survivors to manage and process their emotions and to feel connected. Post-traumatic stress takes a toll on the body and the mind, and severs the link between them. It can stifle language, creativity, reasoning, desire and the ability to “read” or care for oneself.
I view the work of therapy as both sensorimotor (body-oriented) and narrative. The goal is for survivors to safely reconnect with and bless a body that has been both hyper-sensitized and numbed, and to restore a mind that may have coped by blaming and turning against oneself. It’s possible for this incriminating story to be reframed, redeemed and retold – so that one can freely bear witness to it. By learning to both separate and assimilate the past, a survivor can grow more self-awareness and self-worth, and move towards wholeness and freedom.
- Men’s issues
- Spiritual Direction
- Life Transitions
- Depression & Anxiety
Sessions: I offer 53-minute sessions. Sessions can be held more than once per week, weekly, or every other week. Scheduling options are discussed in greater detail during your Risk-Free Initial Session.
Availability (by office location):
- Mill Creek – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday
Fees: I offer a Risk-Free Initial Session for Individuals, Adolescents, Adults, Couples and Groups looking to pursue counseling with me. Please note that there is a fee for the Risk-Free Initial Session as it is a clinical hour and reimbursable to most insurance companies, but if you choose not to reschedule and continue therapy after the initial session the entire fee for the session will be waived. For ongoing treatment the full fee per session is required at the time of service.
Insurance: As a Licensed Mental Health Counselor(LMHC) a majority of insurance companies will reimburse for a portion of my services (as an Out of Network Provider). Please consult with your insurance provider as to whether they specifically cover individuals, adolescents, adults, couples and groups.
Receipts/Statements: In the event you require a printed or digital receipt, I will provide receipts for personal use, insurance reimbursement, Flex Spending Accounts (FSA), and Health Savings Accounts (HSA).
Payment options: Cash, Check, or Credit Card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, & American Express). A fee of up to 3.7% plus $0.15 per transaction will be added for credit card payments.