Offering couples therapy intensives in Bend, Oregon

Practice Values

I have lived and worked with people from all walks of life, and I’ve also traveled and lived in many places in the U.S. I have yet to meet anyone that I didn’t have genuine compassion for. This makes me hold a sincere interest in a couples narrative and be able to see the possibilities for their relationship even when one or both of them can’t.

Oftentimes when couples get started with relationship therapy they already have the belief that it’s not going to work for them. This is based on a combination of 4 beliefs: they’ve already tried it and don’t think a new therapist will work either, their relationship has endured too many critical hits and is beyond repair, they are stuck in a negative cycle of conflict or disconnection and can no longer imagine being connected or communicating well, or one or both partners are not sure if they want to stay in the relationship and, even if they wanted to, has no idea how to find their way back.

I love proving them wrong! It may not always be quick, and it may take some emotionally hard work, but it is entirely possible to turn the trajectory of relationships around, even when they are on the brink of divorce or destruction.

I know personally how hard it can be. I did not have the tools or the professional help I needed in my first marriage to avoid divorce. After meeting my current partner, I got trained in providing couples therapy. We had this quote on our wedding program to remind us of the work, along with the reward, that comes with loving your life partner:

For one human being to love another human being: that is perhaps the most difficult task that has been given to us, the ultimate, the final problem and proof, the work for which all other work is merely preparation.” – Ranier Maria Rilke

I enjoy working with couples who are on the edge. Perhaps they feel as if they have two bad options – stay and be unfilled or leave and face a failed relationship. Whether they’ve grown apart over years of conflict or there’s been a swift blow to the relationship, I like them to know there is a third option – one in which they can stay and be safely connected.

I also enjoy working with couples who have become disconnected in a certain stage of life. This may be recent empty nesters or retirees who one day look at each other and feel like strangers or roommates. I help them find their way back.

I’ve been trained to work with affairs and other forms of betrayal. There are undoubtedly many complex emotions on both sides. The partner who committed the action of betrayal may not recognize the impact of their choices on their partner. In fact, they may even be operating from a place of anger or confusion towards their partner. Even if they regret their actions, they may not have the tools they need to make proper amends, which makes healing more difficult. The partner who has been betrayed may feel uncertain if they want to forgive or may forgive prematurely. I like couples to know that a new healthier relationship is possible, but there is a process of therapeutic healing and understanding what happened in the old one first.

I recognize it’s important not to judge. I have a lot of compassion for both partners as I know that over the course of a relationship each will hurt and be hurt by the other. I also know that betrayals come in varied forms. With my assistance, partners can address fresh or longstanding relational wounds to renew connection and trust. By taking this nonjudgmental position I am able to provide compassionate care to the relationship.

Work Summary

I have been a licensed clinical psychologist for over 20 years and am grateful for the diverse experiences I’ve had. My career positions have included: crisis services certifier for county mental health, behavioral health consultant in primary care clinics, staff positions in university counseling services and in a psychiatric hospital, and as clinical director in a faith-based counseling program. Before being a psychologist, I was a full-time parent while going through undergraduate and graduate school. During those years I was active in many educational and community organizations.

When I first became a licensed clinical psychologist, I honed my expertise working with individuals for over 10 years prior to seeking advanced training to be a couples therapist. This allowed me to understand the impact of individual experiences, such as depression, anxiety, or trauma on relationships.

Now I can effectively address these individual symptoms within the context of relationship therapy, both in terms of how they impact the individual and how they show up in the relationship. My experiences in mental health crisis management has allowed me to effectively work with couples in crisis. Although the focus may differ, I am able to remain calm to help plan for safety and healing in relationships.

My vast work in medical clinics furthered my collaborative and solution-focused approached. Thus, I equip couples with helpful tools for change rather than merely talking about how to change. Plus, I am competent exploring physical health needs including medication, as needed.  Supervising marriage and family therapists in training has refreshed my diagnostic and assessment skills, which are useful in planning appropriate treatment interventions with couples. Working for a faith-based organization has refined my skills in extending grace and suspending judgment for both co-workers and clients.

Eighteen years after earning my doctoral degree, I returned to school for a postdoctoral masters degree. Two years later I earned a MSCP (masters of science in clinical psychopharmacology). I was working in medical clinics at the time and found that many patients needed someone to help them understand their psychiatric medication and medical diagnosis. While I am done earning degrees, I consider myself a lifelong learner. When I die, I hope I have book in my hand so that I am learning something new until my last breathe.

Personally Speaking

I’m a naturally curious person, especially when it comes to how people operate. I can remember as a young child observing other kids at school and wondering why they would make certain choices. I suppose I studied psychology so that I could find some answers. While I learned some big broad theories, I also learned how unique individuals (and couples) are and how wonderfully resilient they can be.

In my personal life, my curiosity can get the best of me and ever so slightly bother my spouse. After all, my husband may not want to answer why he prefers a certain paint color, he may just want to name the paint color. However when helping relationships, my curiosity combined with my conviction and genuine compassion for others, have been my superpowers. Although I am already trained in multiple evidenced-based couples therapies, I always have relationship theory books in my queue. I learn something new everyday about relationships whether it’s from reading advanced theory or observing people in a coffee shop. Of course, my favorite teacher is my husband and life partner, Eric.

“Life is going to hand you lemons, laughter can be the best ingredient to sweeten your lemonade. In fact, some of my heartiest laughs are at myself.”

I believe that all things are possible when partners are willing to make changes, and I have seen it happen firsthand time and time again. Some couples may be in crisis or some situations may be more challenging than others, but I don’t shy away from that. Instead, I find myself getting more and more curious as to how they got there and how I can help them move from crisis to connection. If one intervention or tough conversation isn’t enough to turn a corner, there are plenty more to try.

I’ve had several female role models. My mom never met on occasion she couldn’t dress elegantly for. Her accessories matched from head to toe and her hair and nails were always done, even when she passed at the age of 84. She had a quiet strength that was only revealed when you really got to know her.

My grandmother lived with us for several years as I was growing up. She inspired me, perhaps even more now as I reflect back on her. Not only was she a good cook, but she was a lovely person. She had a steadfast faith, a cheerful disposition, and a lot of patience. She made friends wherever she went and had gratitude for even the smallest things.

Being strong, determined, and grateful with a dash of elegance on occasion – these traits come from my female role models. I apply these to my practice by working diligently and patiently with and for couples to meet their relationship goals. I am always appreciative that couples allow me to come alongside them and share in their journey of growth.

I am described as approachable and caring with a witty sense of humor. People comment that I naturally put them at ease. Why wouldn’t I? I hold the fundamental believe that we live in a small world and we are clumsy spiritual beings trying to do the best that we can in it. I also believe in the Golden Rule and aim to treat others how I would like to be treated, recognizing that people I encounter in a given situation may not be showing up at their best. Extending kindness to another is not only simple, it’s an honor.

I’m very persistent and resourceful. An event that marked the beginning of my resourcefulness is when I wanted to go to college to complete my undergraduate degree as a single parent. There was only one daycare in town that I could afford to make this work. My daughter did not meet their minimum age requirement, but I talked them into taking her if she were potty trained. Well, she wasn’t but classes were starting in a week, and I was determined. So, the next Monday guess who showed up on their door wearing “big girl” panties and never had a single accident?

A few years later I would figure out how to buy my first house while in grad school. A couple decades have gone by since then and I have still had a hard time accepting that things aren’t possible. My favorite quote that speaks to this is, “Life isn’t about finding yourself, life is about creating yourself.”

Clinical Office

My office is in a remodeled Victorian house that is over 100 years old in downtown Albany, Oregon.

A couple of blocks away lies the Willamette River where there is a path alongside it for strolling or biking. Within walking distance are several restaurants, a couple of breweries, an arthouse movie theater, and the historic Albany carousel. Oregon is known for the having most of the craft breweries per capita than any other state. The Willamette Valley has some first class wine as well.

The office itself has a mix of warm wood tones and soft blue sofas and chairs along with some local art. The seating is very comfortable for all day use.

The city of Albany lies 70 miles south of Portland and 50 miles north of Eugene so there are 2 great airport options. It’s also about 60 miles east of the beautiful coastal town of Newport.


I love exploring the Pacific Northwest – hiking, kayaking, trying local craft beers or wine, going for a drive and stopping by a farm stand for some fresh veggies or pulling over to soak in the view. I grew up in a suburb in the Bay Area and no one I knew had a garden. Here everyone does.

For the past several years, my husband and I have enjoyed hiking on weekends, taking trips, and lots of us time as young empty nesters. However, we recently began fostering a sweet boy so now our time is filled with more child-friendly activities again – karate practice, Disney movies, and Spiderman comics. I still enjoy reading non-fiction books and reserve some indulgence with Netflix or Prime shows. I use cinema therapy along with bibliotherapy guilt free.

I recently started a raised garden bed. The feeling of pride I experienced when the first tomatoes and peppers were ready rivaled the pride I felt completing my dissertation 20 years prior. As much as I love the outdoors, I need indoor arts and culture more – if I’m at an art museum or listening to a classical symphony or opera, I am happy!

My favorite sports teams are naturally are the San Francisco 49ers and Giants. I get kind of crazy at game time, especially when we make it to the playoffs. I take my team loyalty pretty seriously. When I say that I would not have gone out with my husband if he had been a Dodgers fan, I’m not joking (thankfully, he feels the same).

Living in Seahawks country, the local TV networks do not recognize the importance of playing all the 49er games! Fortunately, we have a subscription for the SF Giants game so we never miss one. But haven’t found the same service for the 49er games.

We switch out our dogs’ collars based on the sport in season. For big games, they put heir jerseys on. You know it’s bad when your pastor calls you out on not showing up for church because your team is on TV!

I invite you to join me in Bend, Oregon to conduct your private couples therapy retreat.