To read more details about my training and philosophy, please visit My Focus and Training page.
Having graduated from John F. Kennedy University's unique holistic psychology program (Northern California) with a Masters in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology, my approach to therapy is client-centered and strength-based, focusing on what helps an individual and their Being thrive most. I likewise have intensive training in Schema Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), with a background in adherent DBT treatment. I currently offer DBT-informed individual therapy that uses the DBT skills as a framework for therapy, but does not involve group or the other more extensive tools of comprehensive DBT needed for acute treatment.
I have also trained with a variety of nature and animal-assisted therapy-based teachers and organizations from Maine to California, from the U.S. to South America, Mexico, Africa and Europe, including my work in nature-based mindfulness. I owe much of what I have learned from Jan Edl Stein, of the Holos Institute, in California, and offer my gratitude for her shared wisdom and guidance all these years.
My self-study includes a lifetime of attention to and curiosity about the natural world. As humans we are part of nature and the state of our environments strongly influences our lives and the lives of others. My greatest teachers within the natural world have been the many animals, plants, insects, mountains, rocks, waterways, storms, trees, waves and piles of dirt that have educated me.
My formal training in meditation and mindfulness began in 1995 when I first visited a Zen Buddhist temple in Chicago as an undergrad. While the practice was entirely new to me, this is when the door opened. Over time, I sought out Zen meditation centers wherever I lived and eventually became a part of the Green Gulch/San Francisco Zen Center world in the Bay Area teaching and organizing the mindfulness program for children at Green Gulch 2011-2013. Our programs were designed to teach kids mindfulness in nature in the beautiful Green Gulch gardens while their parent/s sat Zazen and listened to the Sunday Dharma talk at the Zendo. We planted the Three Sisters, did walking meditation, and many types of mindfulness activities weekly.
While in my graduate program in Transpersonal Psychology, mindfulness and meditation were the cornerstones of my studies and taught me to develop personal and therapeutic presence. "Sitting" meditation has been a struggle for me most of my life, yet I eventually found that sitting in nature has great rewards, because the stiller I get, the more animals approach me with their sense of wonder, "Who is this creature just sitting here in my ümwelt?? It can't be human, as humans are noisy and fast!"
I've been fortunate to meet and study with many mindfulness teachers in addition to deep self-study in the area both in practice and in my interest in reading research on the benefits and challenges of mindfulness. There is much to read! I am always growing, finding challenges, and eager to learn more about mindfulness through my practice and more importantly my failings.
In 2006 I received my Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Non-fiction from Sarah Lawrence College in New York. As mentioned on my home page, I’ve spent two decades in the media arts as a widely-published journalist, fiction and non-fiction writer, editor, and independent publisher, from the tech world of Silicon Valley and the Internet and Video/PC Games business, where I was the original co-host of ZDNet/Cnet's Gamespot TV. I enjoyed my years in the literary world of New York City throughout the 2000s. I am an avid reader, consuming text while in bed with a flashlight as a child who had too much to think about to sleep.
Thanks to my media and tech background I work well with creative, technology, and entertainment (music/film/publishing) industry folks and relate to your worlds, the pace, the demands, and the pressures and rewards of creative work. I bring a strong sense of narrative, story, and metaphor to our therapy work. I also have many years experience as a photographer, television producer, and filmmaker (shorts and documentary). I am an editorial advisor to renowned twin researcher and psychologist Dr. Nancy Segal, and have assisted Dr. Segal on several of her books, one of which won the American Psychological Association's William James Book Award. I was the Co-founding editor of the Journal of Holistic Psychology. An annual print volume that published essays and research from renowned holistic-based psychotherapists, educators, and writers, and continue to write and edit today.
I have always loved books. When I was 18 I got a job at a fancy department store in St. Louis about 30 minutes from where I lived. I was assigned to a designer clothing floor that rarely saw customers. So I read. I'd prop up my book at the time, a biography of Coco Chanel, on the cash register keys and stand there reading in a way that would look like I was doing something work-related. I was warned, and told I would get fired if I kept reading when I should be straightening clothes on the racks and folding clothes on the tables. I didn't see the logic–the clothes were fine and I had a good book. I wasn't ignoring customers. I kept reading. I got fired. I worked there two weeks. If this story sounds familiar to your life, we might be a good fit!
Various Stages of the therapist's life
"The weather is the circulation system of the earth. The weather is the elimination system of the earth. The weather is the immune system of the earth. The seasons are its respiration. As blood has red and white cells, so the earth has high- and low-pressure cells. As blood has immune cells, the earth has storms, hurricanes, and tornadoes."
-excerpt from Weather Shamanism: Harmonizing our Connection With the Elements, by Nan Moss and David Corbin
Among my influences, my beloved dachshund Yum Yum has taught me the power of dog mind; his single-minded pursuit to burrow into a weasel hole perfectly demonstrates both the How and the What skills of DBT Core Mindfulness.