Personal Counseling

Personal Counseling

Clinical Social Work

I am guided by several key principles in my work as a social worker and psychotherapist in my personal counseling practice.

For me, the personal is political in that one cannot separate problems and concerns that arise in a counseling setting from social, economic, and environmental realities.

I regard pathology as stemming from outside the client, with societal standards and norms influencing material conditions and psychological issues.

Complying with the pressures of how a relationship is defined, beliefs about what makes a marriage work, and how an employee is expected to function impacts the way people view themselves and others. For example, gender expectations often drive a marriage or partnership; hierarchical systems in the work environment can create resentment and feelings of not being appreciated.

Anxiety and fear underlie intimidating circumstances. Imbalance and lack of equitable relationships leave a residue of unfinished business and unspoken truths.

Serious diagnostic realities do exist, and medication can thwart disorder. Depression and suicidal thoughts can be treated with both medication and psychotherapy.

It is important not to define a person by one trait because people are complex, usually trying to cope with loss, transition, and change. These are difficult realities for many.

I try to honor my clients’ experience, to believe them. I view empathy as the path to connection.

Connection and relational theory drive my experience with clients. I try to remove, as much as possible, the built-in hierarchical nature of our relationship.

The markers of a good connection with others include engagement, empathy, mutual empathy, relational authenticity, mutuality, empowerment, and mutual empowerment.

Recognizing cultural differences and diversity is essential for this connection.

Mutuality means it is understood that we are both affected by being with each other. Our work represents the opposite of power and control practices and is designed to thwart isolation.

Advocacy means helping people connect with systems and with others to develop a sense of community, which supports life.

Integral to working with others in any setting is understanding that no one is perfect; we all make errors in judgment at times. This is the human condition.

What we can do is try to be the best we can be at helping others and ourselves.

Latest Blog Posts

Look At You (Marie)

The crown of your head silver and white, I glimpsed as you lay next to me.  My mother had insisted I ‘do’ her hair,...

You’re Still Here (Lake Tahoe)

This is our third visit and Lake Tahoe, you are still here.  You glow like glass reflecting cobalt blue, aquamarine, vermillion seen like nowhere...

Now I See You (Molly)

So little, vulnerable, unable to grasp my thumb, no Babinski clutch.  Then we knew: you were injured.  Your brain impacted at birth, maybe.  Or...

Perfect For Summer

Our halter tops reveal breasts

peeking after a drawn out winter

A hundred degrees incites groans

in spite of the earlier drought of sunlight

You move past me,...

Please Don’t Eat the Babies

You swoop in again and again

trying to eat the babies

Who gives you the right

No excuses about the chain of life

Bigger birdies eating smaller birdies


Freedom to Marry

If your mouths are dropping to the floor, don’t be surprised or feel you are alone. Many of us scoffed at the idea of...

Protest Against Mountaintop Removal Mining in West Virginia

Larry Gibson, founder of Keeper of the Mountains, participated in a protest against mountaintop removal mining by shaving the heads of women who wanted...

Honoring Hillary
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Wants New Opposition Movement for Syria

In an effort to “reshape” the opposition action in Syria, Secretary of State Hillary...

Nuclear Nun

Eighty-two-year-old Sister Megan Rice has been a peace activist who has been arrested many times for her acts of civil disobedience and antinuclear protests....

Wilkins-O’Riley Zinn: A Remembrance
My friend died. She was my writing buddy. Three of us met in my living room. We always sat in the same spot, with...
Bill Clinton: Then and Now

It’s been tough listening to politicians since Bill Clinton left the presidency. He was a brilliant orator and still is. He had his shortcomings,...

Wendy Lee: A Matter of Survival
A professor of philosophy at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania, Wendy Lee teaches environmental philosophy, feminist theory, bioethics, philosophy of language, and philosophy of mind/brain.
Women Working for Change
My mother was born in 1896 before most of what we know of the world was possible, except war and violence. These two constants...