My Background and Focus:
I am a licensed mental health counselor in WA state with an M.Ed. in Counseling from Heritage University, and an MA in Teaching from U.C. Berkeley.
Child and adolescent counseling: I have experience counseling children and teens who are dealing with trauma, divorce, anxiety, depression, learning and behavioral challenges, and the unique concerns related to giftedness, as well as ADHD.
Individual counseling and psychotherapy: My practice is also with individuals dealing with personal and relational concerns; mood disorders; building self-confidence; social and coping skills; healing from abuse; victimization and bullying; difficulties with anxiety, food and substance issues.
Marriage counseling: Working with couples to bring reconciliation and healing to wounded relationships is an area I am passionate about! Painful patterns can be replaced with strong and loving bonds of attachment and security. Combining the knowledge gleaned from post-masters studies in marriage counseling
along with more than 13 years experience working with people in support groups, I have also journeyed alongside my own husband on a path of marital restoration and transformation. I believe
that while relationships are often the place where our brokenness is
most apparent, it is also the place that holds the greatest potential
for healing and fulfillment. I am eager to work together
with couples to create marriages of growth and transformation.
Christian counseling: While my academic background is clinical, I am a faith-based practitioner for those seeking Christian counseling. Solid biblical counsel and prayer therapies can be applied to any circumstance, and all of my counseling theories and techniques are compatible with a Christian world view.
Developmental Counseling for Individuals of All Ages:
Life challenges that cause stress, grief or loss – also, challenges
in learning or behavior–can disrupt healthy development at any age, preventing someone
from progressing positively to the next stage in life. When growth or life-progress is blocked for
any reason, counseling can help. It is
important to make a healthy adjustment to each stage in human development. When milestones are not met; when healing is
unfinished or emotional needs unfulfilled, a block occurs which deeply impacts the
quality of life, success and relationships on many levels.
How can counseling help?
Diagnostic approaches help the counselor and client get a
picture of what is happening to block development or adjustment. Therapeutic techniques bring healing and
I use a variety of both diagnostic and therapeutic
methods to bring insight and positive transitions, resolving blocks that cause
feelings of depression, hopelessness, anxiety and stress.
My Approach: I utilize a variety of counseling approaches,
including, but not limited to: Family Systems Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral therapy, marital therapy and experiential therapies. Each of the therapies I use has been
documented through research to be effective and safe for promoting insight,
growth and change.
Sand Tray Therapy: Additionally, I use Sand Tray Therapy, an expressive technique that opens pathways of awareness through images. It can provide a powerful picture. Sand tray is effective with all ages, children through adults. I also use play therapy techniques.
See below for articles on ADHD, gifted children, when to seek counseling . . .
When To Seek Professional Help For Problems
The time to seek help is...
. When you
feel increasingly discouraged and confused about life.
. When you feel
that something is bothering you, but you aren't sure what it is.
you feel that everyone is against you.
. When you find yourself unable
to get a handle on your anger, fear,
worry, or sleeplessness.
When you keep hearing from others that you're being unreasonable or insensitive.
. When you find yourself thinking seriously about how to get out of
to a relationship or a job.
. When you are
wrestling with an issue that will have significant effects on yourself
and others around you.
. When you are unable to change behavior that is
harming yourself or others.
. When you have secret compulsions that
feel out of control.
. When there is a pain within yourself that is not
being resolved by the normal channels of asking forgiveness, admitting
you've been wrong, and seeking reconciliation.
. When you keep having
thoughts of not wanting to live.
do you know if you need counseling or psychotherapy? Sometimes it’s
absolutely clear to you and those around you that you’re experiencing a
serious crisis or mental illness. In most instances though, the need is
less apparent. In general, emotional problems arise because there is an
important difference between what we would like our life to be and how
life actually is. This discrepancy can also be called a loss.
loss may be one that has already occurred, is happening now, or is
anticipated in the future. The loss may be not getting a job that you
counted on; or the loss may be the death of a closed friend or
relative. A lack of confidence is a loss of a sense of identity.
Feeling that we are not what we can be or want to be as persons is
experienced as a loss.
Whenever we sense a loss we
are likely to react with any of a variety of responses. You may suffer
dramatic mood shifts, constant fatigue, a drastic change in eating
habits, persistent guilt feelings, and/or insomnia. There may be a
recurring, irrational sense of panic, or the persistent, overwhelming
feeling of doom. Constant physical ailments such as headaches, rashes,
or backaches my have psychological causes. Or the problems may be in
marriage and family relationships, or in excessive drinking or drug
If we look at our strong emotional reactions
as a way we are handling some loss, we have a way of understanding what
we are experiencing with our personal problems. For example, I may feel
angry when I am first confronted with a loss. I may feel guilty and
depressed when I am losing something important to me. The loss could be
a job, a relationship, a promotion, or even a role such as the loss a
parent feels when their children grow-up and leave home.
When your emotional problems are overwhelming
you to the point of spending several hours a day thinking about them,
you should consider seeking professional help. A mental health
professional such as a social worker, psychologist, psychiatrist or
marriage & family therapist can offer you objective exploration and
assessment of your problems.
Parents of a
child with attention deficit disorder are about twice as
likely as other parents to divorce by the time their child is eight years old,
says a new study.
Having a child with ADHD isn't the sole predictor of divorce But a child's
disruptive behaviors, along with other stresses, can strain a marriage.
Whether the issue involves medicating a child, how to discipline or some other factor, you can take
steps to rebuild your relationship and strengthen the family bond.
Research Shows That Therapy Should be the First Option When Treating ADHD
August 22nd, 2008
parents learn that their child has ADHD, medication is often the first
treatment they consider. According to new findings that could be a
mistake - that is according to researchers, presenting at the American
Psychological Association Annual Convention, based on the largest-ever study on the best treatments for ADHD.
Research shows that when children are initially treated with
behavioral interventions — and their parents get training on how to
manage their behavior — medication is used less often and in smaller
doses. While medications address ADHD symptoms like restlessness and
fidgeting, they don’t address other problems like difficult relations
with peers, parents and family members.
In counseling, a therapist can help children with ADHD learn to
feel better about themselves. Over time the therapist can help identify
and build on their strengths, cope with daily problems, and learn to
control their attention and aggression. The parents may need special
help to develop techniques for managing the patterns of behavior.
In many cases the entire family may benefit. Mental health
professionals can counsel the child and the family, helping them to
develop healthy new skills, attitudes, and ways of relating to each
Giftedness - Signs in Very Young Children:
The truth is that gifted
traits show up in toddlers. In fact, some of them can be seen even in
Examine the following list and see how many characteristics
apply to your young child. Keep in mind that to be gifted a child need
not have every one of these characteristics.
Traits in Young Children:
- As infants, may get fussy if facing one direction for too long
- As infants, appear alert
- Need less sleep, even as infants
- Frequently reach 'milestones' such as walking and first speech earlier than average
- May speak late, but then speak in complete sentences
- Strong desire to explore, investigate, and master the environment (opens up cabinets, takes things apart)
- Toys and games mastered early, then discarded
- Very active (but activity with a purpose, not to be confused with ADHD)
- Can distinguish between reality and fantasy (questions about Santa or the tooth fairy come very early!)
Highly gifted toddlers may also show an intense interest in numbers or
letters. These are often the children who start doing simple math or
teach themselves to read by the time they are three. However, a child
who does not read or do math early may still be gifted. Children who
read or do math early are almost certainly gifted, but not all gifted
children do those things early.
Studies of gifted infants (those who score high on IQ tests as grade
school children) show that they have a low tolerance for the familiar
and a preference for novelty. Basically, infants were shown different
objects for a certain amount of time. Those infants who later were
shown to be gifted children looked away from objects more quickly than
other infants. When shown a familiar object and a new one, the gifted
infants preferred to look at the new one.
This is interesting since it supports the idea that gifted children
need new information to learn, that they get bored with the same old
information day after day. Their frustration at having to learn and
"relearn" the same information is due to this apparently inborn need
for novelty and not to their being spoiled, "hyper" or inattentive, as many people misinterpret.
Unfortunately - Well-meaning, but unaware or unprepared teachers and parents can actually pathologize the gifted child with labels such as hyperactive, inattentive, ADHD and Oppositonal (if child becomes extremely discouraged and frustrated). These labels can have the quality of self-fulfilling prophecies.
It is also very common for gifted children to possess traits of disability or immaturity due to a phenomenon known as asynchronis development - wherein the child may be highly advanced in particular areas and delayed in others. For example, verbal and math skills may be high, but physical coordination may lag. Social development may be different from peers due to a larger vocabulary or different interests.
It is extremely easy to misdiagnose a gifted child since the primary accepted diagnostic tool is a behavioral check-list which, when filled out by unaware teachers and confused parents is highly subjective.
Through counseling, Jenny can provide assessments to get a clear picture of the gifted child's areas of strength and challenge, and provide support in the form of a global plan for strengthening educational, social and physical development. Gifted children can provide so much joy to parents' lives! But it is often as difficult to raise a gifted child as it is to raise a child with disabilities.
Suggested Reading: The Mislabeled Child, by Drs. Brock and Fernette Eide;
Guiding the Gifted Child by George Thomas and Joseph Cresimbeni