“All therapy is about stories—the stories clients tell therapists and the (we hope) more truthful and helpful stories therapists and clients construct together. Therapy itself is really a story, or stories, about why people suffer, how they heal, and what therapists can do to promote the latter. Rich Simon
Each of us is more wonderful, complex, creative, and loving than we might believe about ourselves. Most of us are not reaching our potential. We might tend to blame or shame ourselves, but there are so many factors contributing to this – our histories, our ancestors, our culture, and even the way our brains have evolved. I think it is safe to say that at our core, we all want to be seen and heard, to be loved and to belong. We want to be safe and free to express who we really are. We want healthy relationships with family and friends. Yet I think it is inherent in the human journey and in our growing-up, that we get off track and cannot see our way clearly to get back to our true, integrated, connected, relational Self.
Shifting our perspective on ourselves and our struggles, seeing our problems from a different point of view, is an integral part of most of our transformations and re-alignments with our True Self. As an experienced psychotherapist, I love to guide people in the profound and sacred journey of resolving core issues that are an overlay on our True Self. (I have been a dedicated traveler on this journey since I was in Junior High, traveling the world to work with indigenous wisdom-keepers, leaders in my field of wholistic relational health, and studying Christian, Buddhist and Taoist wisdom.)
“Why do you stay in prison when the door is so wide open? Move outside the tangle of fear-thinking. The entrance door to the sanctuary is inside you. ”― Rumi
As adults we often experience our relationships – with ourselves and others – as not going as well as we would like. These difficulties often stem from experiences in childhood. Core survival patterns arise from the brain patterns that were established when we were young, emotionally overwhelmed, and not attuned-to emotionally by one or more important adults. Dependent children, and especially babies, don’t have the brain development to think about their thinking and feeling; they just react and learn to cope with a limiting environment (often family). These reactions create beliefs which create habits which keep us from having fresh thoughts, emotions, and responses to what we are experiencing. These survival habits keep us reacting as if it is still true that we are not capable of more. When we learn to identify old patterns in thinking, feeling, and behaving, with mindfulness and support, we can move toward the goals of self-compassion, love, and knowing our place in the big-wide-world; so different from the shame and inadequacy so many of us can experience in this fast-paced world.
“Human beings are born with an innate capacity to triumph over trauma. I believe not only that trauma is curable, but that the healing process can be a catalyst for profound awakening—a portal opening to emotional and genuine spiritual transformation.” — Peter A. Levine
I am a native of Great Falls, MT. I have been in private practice since 1991, first in Kalispell, and then in Columbia Falls since 2000. I graduated with a Masters Degree in Systems Counseling from the Leadership Institute of Seattle (LIOS) program, accredited by Bastyr University in Seattle. I meet with individuals, couples, and families on a wide range of issues, including depression, anxiety, relationship issues, family-of-origin problems, communication and conflict skill deficiencies, lack of meaning and purpose, and spiritual directions. I teach mindfulness, and help people learn to be in the Present Moment, and to learn to be in a different paradigm than where the woundedness and distress is. I built Imagine Health Wellness and Wisdom Center in Columbia Falls in 2007 where I and other wholistic health care providers could work and serve Columbia Falls, the whole Flathead Valley, and beyond. I have recently sold that lovely building and transitioned my counseling and consulting practice to my new office space beside my house south of Columbia Falls where I have lived for the past 40 odd years (where one of my passions has been to heal my farm-land back to health and provide sanctuary for lots of life!). Therapy in a quiet, natural setting like my farm is its own good medicine for the heart and soul. When the weather permits, the option to sit outside or even to walk down the county road together, is a great setting for this journey of healing. Being mindful in this safe and beautiful space organically facilitates present moment awareness – so integral to healing and revitalization.