About Me Professionally:
I graduated from Denver Seminary with a masters degree in counseling. I love helping individuals and couples from all walks of life find peace and joy through better communication, connection and empowerment.
I am certified in Beyond Consequences, a proven method to help parents be better at what they do that goes beyond mere consequences. It is especially helpful for foster and adoptive parenting.
For couples, I am certified in Prepare/Enrich couples workshops, using an inexpensive online assessment to help the clients see objectively where their strengths and areas of challenge lie.
Some of my clients prefer the energy healing I offer. You can read more about this on my counseling services page under "When Talk Therapy Doesn't Work" . It is a Christian mind/body protocol that has been helpful to numerous clients.
About Me Personally:
Growing up on three different continents gave me an appreciation for culture and the influence it has on the individual. My best friend, Socorro, was black, but where others saw racial and social differences, I only knew her as my friend. We played house, and I, though white, blond and blue eyed, was often the maid. This caused much hilarity and confusion among the adults present. This early immersion in culture gave me a unique perspective. While culture can be defined as a way of thinking, behaving or working, our belief or faith systems also influence how we think, behave or work. I believe many of the problems we face as individuals stem from not being able to jump into someone else's "culture" and see the world through their eyes, whether the culture is across continents or the dinner table. This is one of my strengths, the ability to look at a situation from various perspectives.
Change was also part of life, though not always welcome. As a child, I longed to transport myself back to retrieve my favorite stuffed animal, not understanding the thousands of miles that separated us. As time went on, I loved to leave on an airplane and travel more than I loved to connect and make myself known. Leaving was seen as "making a new start" and avoiding pain in relationships. I briefly had a glimmer of things not quite right when my best friend in Portugal, sobbing at the airport as I left for college and I felt no emotion. It wasn't until years later that I came to understand the cost of shutting myself off from others in the illusion I would not feel pain.
Why I love counseling
It has been through my own personal journey of pain that I sought counseling. Some things were too close to the bone to be able to figure out on my own. I was too overwhelmed and confused to know if what I was feeling was normal. I struggled with depression, deep anger and a pervasive sadness that seemed to surface in quiet moments. Counseling began to sort that out and the healing process began. I found freedom, release from the grip of anger and sadness through counseling. I continue to work on my emotional, spiritual and physical health, because I believe that a person who stops growing is a dead person.
As a counselor, I look at all "cultures" that influence your world view: family of origin, current family status; city and country you were born; ethnicity and how this influences your world view; how food, language, religion and even the clothes you wear play a part in the image you want to project to the world. We make instant conclusions about each other based on those outward manifestations of our culture. However, I believe we are all longing for a deeper connection that goes beyond the surface. To know and be known without fear.
Born and raised in Brazil as a daughter of American parents, I was immersed in two very different cultures from birth. As part of a protestant missionary family, I was also part of a subculture that was a minority in a Catholic country. My dad, a born diplomat, would strive to find common ground with those of different ethnicities or religion.
As a teenager, my life changed dramatically when we moved to Portugal. The reasons my family chose to make this move were varied and complicated. At first I was excited, having grown accustomed to frequent moves and changes. Then reality set in as we all adjusted to different food, style of clothing, weather, and unspoken cultural expectations. It was a time of political upheaval, refugees returning from African colonies, and a dwindling expat community. As a foreigner who spoke Portuguese fluently, I had the advantage of passing off as a Brazilian in a country that, at the time, did not take too kindly to Americans.
I often felt torn between my loyalties: was I Brazilian? American? Should I align myself more with the Portuguese? I went to an international high school where many nationalities were represented. Their parents were from various embassies, NATO, NGO's, and foreign businesses. In my class alone of just a dozen, there were six nationalities, many of them holding dual citizenships, myself included.
These experiences were great lessons for me, teaching me to love and accept others as far as it was possible for me to do so. I learned how deeply generational heritage affected the collective mind. As an American, I knew that I could have choices, move forward in life, change where I lived, make choices in education or . As a Brazilian, I knew how to have a good party, enjoy life and be part of a community.
Living in Portugal, I saw life in more limiting terms: wearing shorts was not acceptable in public, having a colorful wardrobe was too prideful. Anything that looked 'different' was worthy of comment in a manner that suggested 'change, so you will be accepted by us' and 'we have always done that for centuries, change is suspect'. At the same time, it was enriching to study architecture or history and visit the places and monuments built by those who had lived centuries before; to have picnics in ruins built in the first century.
As an adult, I have lived in Denver metro area for nearly 30 years, married a Denver native and raised four children, all born here. Seeing the world through their eyes, I came to appreciate the deep roots they formed to a place they love. For myself, I finally formed deep friendships that lasted through hard times. I have come to feel grounded here, at least as much as a global nomad can.
As a counselor, I bring all those experiences and lessons to the dyad. I am more aware than most how culture and subcultures define and influence us. So whether you were born and raised in one location, moved frequently within one country, or lived in many countries, one of the ways I can help you is by looking at your cultural influences.
For further help and information, please contact me at 720-201-5030