The Full Story
It all started with a tissue box.
Not because every therapy session I facilitated ended with tears, but because tissue boxes are great canvases for creative use. You see, when in community mental health you make work with what you have… and the place I worked at fresh out of grad school had A LOT of tissue boxes. Need to explain boundaries, voila! The box becomes a turtle with a tough shell! Discussing vulnerable feelings? Look at how easily those tissues tear. How about a place to put positive memories in? Boom, now the box is an emotional piggy bank! During my time as a child and family therapist there, I reimagined what it meant to be a therapist. I grew in my confidence, living by the principle that experience in and of itself could be the mode of healing as opposed to being a nice side dish next to the talk therapy main course. I began talking with others about what I was doing, and discovered a collective around the world who was doing the same thing. My love for adventure therapy was finally named.
Where the VISION meets EXPERIENCE
I believe adventure is found in the “everyday” and can happen anywhere. To me, it’s when we take an experience and elevate it with the intent to learn through the act of doing. I am guided by the principle that people grow through the experience of adventure, no matter what that adventure looks like to that person. For some, that's climbing the Cascades. For others, it's braving the school hallways during passing period.
Building from my foundation of exposure-based cognitive behavioral therapy, I use creative ways following evidence-based models to broaden therapeutic services to clients who would benefit beyond talk therapy. I see the value of bringing ideas to the real world, having watched clients conquer challenges after once saying “I could never do that.” As a result of practical application, we are no longer trying to convince our brains we can do it; we have our actions as evidence of that! We are allowing our bodies to learn (think muscle memory) so that we are better able to integrate the brain-based learning done through talk therapy.
I also think therapy doesn’t always have to be serious even though it’s always serious work. If anything, my background in some of the most acute treatment settings speaks to the need to add a little bit of levity in even the most complex and challenging circumstances. I tend to bring joy and spirit to my work, as well as great appreciation for my clients who trust me enough to laugh with me.
Master of Social Work, University of Washington, Seattle WA June 2016
Concentration: Children, Youth & Families
Magna Cum Laude
Bachelor of Arts, Seattle Pacific University, Seattle WA June 2013
Majors: Psychology, Sociology
Magna Cum Laude
I am a member of the Association for Experiential Education.
I have certifications in cognitive behavioral therapy for depression, behavior and trauma, and am a certified trauma focused cognitive behavioral therapist.
I am in the process of obtaining certifications as a Clinical Adventure Therapist (CCAT) and Game to Grow Therapeutic Game Master. I also maintain a Wilderness First Responder certification in order to provide emergency care when facilitating therapy in areas far from advanced medical care.
I am engaged in ongoing clinical supervision, case consultation, and post-graduate training on experiential therapy modalities, risk management and suicide prevention, family systems and adolescent mental health.
Most recently, I was a therapist at a private group practice. Before that, a program supervisor for an interdisciplinary intensive outpatient mental health program for youth, where I had started my post-graduate career as a child and family therapist. Through grad school, I worked as a crisis staff for unhoused adolescents. While I have had plenty of pointers directing my path here since I was a kid myself, my direct service work most clearly began in 2010 when I was given the opportunity to participate in youth programming in White Center, an under-resourced south Seattle neighborhood.
While my passion remains in treating trauma experienced by adolescent girls and underserved youth communities, I have expanded my horizons to support all youth, young adults and families experiencing relational trauma, life transitions, depression or anxiety.
On a personal note
My parents named me after Deanna Troi, the counselor aboard the USS-Enterprise in Star Trek. Ironically enough, in a family full of engineers and mathematicians, that's exactly what I became. I am a cisgender white woman and recognize that my lived experiences translate across all areas of my life, including my professional life. I don't believe in there being one "right" fit for anything in life, but do believe no one should have to settle for care where they don't feel accepted or seen. If that isn't with me for whatever reason, I have an amazing network of others doing equally awesome work. I live and work on the lands of the Tulalip, Snohomish, Stillaguamish and Coast Salish peoples. As an adventure practitioner, I am also a deferential guest to the more-than-human rights that belongs to the natural world. When I am not working, I love to cook, read, game, climb, run, kayak, backpack, and pursue my personal quest of finding the best housemade chai this side of the Cascades.