Bottom line: I am in awe of human transformation. It moves me to see people shift from stuckness to the full expression of who they are. I am inspired by the impulse to evolve—in myself and others—and am first and foremost committed to my own evolution. Life’s challenges have been my greatest teachers and wisdom growers. Not easy, but essential.
Human beauty breaks my heart in the best possible way.
The practicals: I wear many hats—somatic (body-centered) psychotherapist, energy healer, radio show host, PhD candidate (in Somatic Psychology) and soon to be “doctor” of Post Traumatic Growth, qigong teacher, trainer of therapists, ceremonial guide. I have a private practice in Boulder and have been teaching transformational workshops and classes for more than 15 years. I hold the view that my clients are already whole, and I see it as my job to support them in embodying that wholeness.
My soul medicine: I am a soul guide, a midwife to possibility, a light in the darkness, and an underworld guide. I am also a poet, an (aspiring) mystic, a healer, a teacher, and a wild-hearted, initiated woman. And perfectly flawed, of course, as well. Human.
As paradox holder, I value darkness as much as light and know that truth lies only in entering both completely. I have been undone, unraveled, dismembered—and equally filled up with the light of the divine.
I also hold a deep reverence for the underworld—the place of “initiation via great challenge” in our lives. The kind of reverence that comes with having spent years “underground.”
Underworld Story: From wounded healer to healed healer
In 2003, I traveled to South America and returned with some great pictures of Machu Picchu, beautiful woven textiles, and a parasite that would change my life. Shortly after I returned home, I started showing signs of MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivities). MCS is an illness in which the body loses the ability to process and detoxify everyday toxins such as the fragrances found in shampoos, deodorants, and perfumes as well as the volatile organic compounds found in new carpets, paints, and furniture. Often, as in my case, the illness affects multiple body systems including the digestive system, the nervous system, and the endocrine system. With MCS, the world became unbearably small, and I learned firsthand about despair.
I spent four years nearly housebound due to my sensitivities. At my worst, in order to spend time with friends I had to ask them to shower in my products and wear my clothes so that I could tolerate being with them. Going out to dinner or to the movies was out of the question, and it took me hours to recover from my weekly grocery shopping expedition. Healing felt impossible, yet I was determined to find my way through and back into the world. For four years I read everything I could about what I was experiencing and about healing. I grieved daily, raged when I could, and leaned on my friends and family for emotional support. I practiced several hours a day of meditation, Qigong, and yoga, did daily detoxification practices, received trauma healing work, radically changed my diet, took every supplement known to man, delved deep into my spirit leaving no stone unturned, and eventually, with grace, patience, will, and love, began to heal.
Qigong and the Nervous System
Part of my healing process involved studying how energy moved—or in this case, didn’t move—in my own body. For this I turned to Qigong. From Qigong, I learned about the importance of energetic awareness, I developed the essential skill of shifting focus and re-training my energetic pathways, and began to remember how to feel good despite my symptoms.
In addition to studying Qigong, I began to explore the nervous system and its role in wellness. Because of my own experience with PTSD from a car accident that preceded my illness and the impact that learning how to regulate the nervous system had on my own healing, I decided to dive into a deeper study of the nervous system. When I was well enough I completed Peter Levine’s three-year Somatic Experiencing® trauma resolution training. I also traveled to Cleveland twice a year to study a powerful hands-on nervous system healing modality, Nervous System Energy Work.
History: From Poet to Therapist in Ten Easy Steps
I actually started my career in human transformation by teaching poetry workshops to homeless adults. I fell in love with poetry’s ability to express the inner world at a young age. After college I began teaching poetry professionally and trained and taught with California Poets in the Schools. During my first graduate program (MFA in Poetry from Naropa University), I created and taught a series of transformational writing workshops at the Boulder Public Library. The series was called Writes of Passage, and it was an intergenerational writing workshop for teenage girls and elder women. I received grant funding for the project and offered several sessions over three years. From there I went on to design other workshops including Soul Speak, The Soul’s Journey (which I co-taught with a local therapist and wilderness guide), and Entering the Darkness and Making the Invisible Visible, which I offered through Naropa University’s Extended Studies, and Finding Our Way Through, an expressive arts workshop for women with chronic illness.
As I continued to teach, I realized it was not poetry alone that inspired me. I loved helping students navigate their inner terrain, discover hidden parts of themselves, and creatively express their truths. In order to take these skills to the next level, I enrolled in a mindfulness-based, body-centered psychotherapy training at the Hakomi Institute. After two years of training and many years of practice, I became a Certified Hakomi Therapist.
Before I got sick, an essential aspect of my soul education was immersion in the work of Bill Plotkin and the Animas Valley Institute. There I did vision quests, learned to listen to the wisdom of the unseen world, learned how to track dreams, and entered into deep imagery, shadow work, and nature-based soul guidance. The work I did at the Animas Valley institute provided the essential framework for understanding my illness as an initiation into the embodiment of my soul medicine.
I now combine all of these—Hakomi, Somatic Experiencing, Qigong Energy Healing, Nervous System Energy Work, soul work, and the wisdom I’ve gained through my own journey—into an integrative approach to supporting individuals in the midst of trauma, chronic illness, and other thresholds.
I am grateful to have found my way from a “wounded healer” to a healed healer and feel blessed to be able to bring my skills, soul medicine, and experience in service to my clients. I’m truly living my purpose in the world, which is the most satisfying feeling there is.
Credentials and training:
- MA in Somatic Psychology from the Santa Barbara Graduate Institute
- PhD in Somatic Psychology (in process) at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, with Doctoral Research in Post Traumatic Growth
- Certified Hakomi Therapist. Hakomi Institute, Boulder, CO
- Certified Qigong Energy Healer. Body-Energy Center’s 4-Year Practitioner Program, Boulder, CO
- Completed Somatic Experiencing’s Three-Year Trauma Resolution Training. Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute, Boulder, CO
- Certified Psychology of Symptoms Practitioner. Douglas Brady’s Psychology of Symptoms, Boulder, CO
- Certified Nervous System Energy Work Practitioners. Five-year training at Pathways for Healing, Cleveland, OH
- My greatest teacher has been my own process of regaining my health after chronic illness. I am grateful for all of its teachings.
- In private practice since 2007
What I’m Currently Up To:
In addition to being in private practice in Boulder and offering in-person and distance phone sessions, I also educate therapists and coaches about how to work with trauma, teach Qigong classes and workshops, and am completing my PhD. In the summer of 2012, I began a new adventure—hosting the Thresholds to Awakening radio show, a series of free podcasts that offers a deep dive into the paradoxical nature of transformation. The show includes intimate conversations with spiritual luminaries (such as Joan Borysenko, Mark Nepo, and Michael Meade) about how to work with difficulty, stories about people finding their way through impossible situations, and transformational guidance to help you access your deepest truth. Thresholds to Awakening airs every Wednesday at 3 PM, and the archives can be accessed here.
In my down time (yes, that exists!), I practice radical self-care, spend time wandering the Boulder foothills, and connect with my powerful community of wild, soulful, truth-telling friends.