Most of my clients come to me because they feel stuck. They want to know how to create real, lasting change. They want to improve their lives or resolve a life crisis. Sometimes they don’t know what they want except that they want things to be different.
I help them figure it out.
I offer my clients unconditional loving acceptance of who they are right this minute, especially if they cannot find that acceptance for themselves. I trust that my clients can and will discover their best selves by confronting both their successes and failures. I hold my clients in this trust as they work towards understanding, helping them find their strengths and bring them forward in their struggles.
I have always been fascinated by the way our culture shapes who we are and what we believe and this perspective informs my practice. I am particularly interested in how our own ingrained assumptions and other people’s social expectations can make it difficult for us to find our own unique paths around parenting and family building.
At it’s most essential, the work I do helps my clients figure out who they are so they can take this knowledge beyond the counseling office and into the rest of their lives.
My background and training
In Portland, Oregon I founded the Safe to Grow program at the YWCA Women’s Resource Center, a shelter serving women and children escaping domestic violence. I case managed families, facilitated parenting support groups and taught parenting classes for the Oregon State University Extension Services. I also began my writing career (you can see clips of my work below) writing about issues important to families.
I received my undergraduate degree in Sociology at Portland State University where I also served as a Peer Mentor in the University Studies program. I returned to school to get my masters in community mental health counseling at the University of Dayton. I have additional training in play therapy, child abuse, domestic violence, mediation, pregnancy and postpartum, parenting, infertility and adoption issues.
Currently I volunteer with the Ohio Birthparent Group and Adoption Network Cleveland, helping to facilitate the monthly all-adoption open meetings for all members of the adoption constellation — birth family members, adoptive family members and adoptees. You can learn when the next meeting is by clicking here.
My husband and I have two children. Our oldest is our biological child and our youngest arrived to our family through an open, transracial adoption after a four year struggle with secondary infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss.
I am a member of the American Counseling Association and I am the Communications Chair for the Central Ohio Counseling Association. I am also a member of the Association for Size Diversity and Health, an international organization committed to research and education on Health at Every Size principles and Birthworkers of Central Ohio, a local organization devoted to the health and well being of pregnant and postpartum women.
Writing & Speaking & Media Mentions
Besides being a therapist, I’m also a writer and a speaker on parenting, infertility and adoption. I have written for Salon.com (where my essay was chosen as an Editor’s Pick for 2006); Brain Child (my essay “You’re Not the Boss of Me” was reprinted in both Utne and Ode); Huffington Post, Parenting, Yoga Journal, Wondertime, Adoptive Families, Bitch: A Feminist Response to Pop Culture and Greater Good among many others. My essays appear in Joanne Bombarger’s Mother’s of Intention (Bright Sky Press, 2011), Rebecca Walker’s anthology One Big Happy Family (Riverhead Press, 2009), Mothering and Blogging (Demeter Press, 2009) edited by May Friedman & Shana L. Calixte and the textbooks Child Adoption: Issues and Perspectives (Icfai University Press, 2009) and Mixed Heritage (Greenhaven Press, 2009).
You can see links to my work by clicking the tabs below.
As seen in:
- Columbus Society for Clinical Social Work and Ohio State Counseling and Consultation: Grief, Loss and ‘Getting Over It': Accounting for Birthparents Experiences’ in Public Narratives of Adoption (with Kate Livingston) (2012)
- Family Values and Openness in Adoption: Confronting & Accepting Differences: Open Adoption Symposium (2011)
- Open Adoption Panel with Jenna Hatfield, Brandy Hagelstein and Kris Faasse for Creating a Family (2010)
- The Fuse Factory (workshop leader specializing in blogs and digital storytelling) (2009 – 2010)
- Podcamp Columbus: Finding Your Narrative, Blogging Your Story (2009)
- Open Adoption Promises and Truth: American Adoption Congress (panel) (2009)
- Creating a Grassroots Online Support Site: American Adoption Congress (2008)
- Encountering New Worlds of Adoption: 2nd International Conference on Adoption and Culture (panel) (2007)
- Mothers of Intention by Joanne Bamberger (Bright Sky Press, 2011)
- One Big Happy Family edited by Rebecca Walker (Kirkus Starred Review)
- Mothering and Blogging edited by May Friedman & Shana L. Calixte
- Child Adoption: Issues and Perspectives (Icfai University Press, 2009)
- Mixed Heritage (Greenhaven Press, 2009)
- Family is Now for Brain Child
- This is My Daughter’s Mother for Huffington Post
- Textured for Brain Child
- Open Adoption, Broken Heart for Salon.com (voted Best of 2006)
- Sharing Judaism in Our Open Adoption in Kveller, Jewish Parenting
- Reluctant Groupies in Bitch Magazine
- Naming Madison in Adoptive Families
- A Breast Too Far? in The New Homemaker
- Weighing Down Our Children for Brain Child (reprinted in Utne)
- Visiting the Hospital for Adoptive Families
- The Myth of the Forever Family for Brain Child
- What Adoption Taught Me for Columbus Parent
- Stop! Calm Down! Think! for Greater Good
- Adoption for Disney’s ParentPedia
- Can Your Marriage Survive Infertility? for ePregnancy
- Free to Be Me in Utne (originally “You’re Not the Boss of Me” in Brain Child; also reprinted in Ode)
- Introduction to Homeschooling in Early Childhood NEWS
- Nature Tables in Early Childhood NEWS
- A Fascination with Boxes for Disney’s Wondertime
- A Fascination with Stickers for Disney’s Wondertime
- The Silent Type for Parenting
- Expelled from Preschool for Parenting
- Review of The Path to Purpose for Greater Good
- Review of The Power of Play for Greater Good
- Review of Unconditional Parenting for Greater Good
- CommonSenseMedia Book Reviews
- The Reality of Post-Adoption Depression in SheKnows.com
- Ohio Right to Life’s Infant Adoption Reform Bill: Threatens birthparent rights, doles out tax credits in The Free Press