Therapy for Women
“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best day and night to make you like everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight and never stop fighting.” e.e. cummings
Our lives are so full of being busy that we do not take the time for self-discovery or to reflect on the support we need. As women, we often carry the weight of everyone else in our lives. Often so much emotional pain exists because of our relationships (past and present) with others and ourselves. It is through our relationship in therapy, that you may feel safe to befriend difficult emotions, tame destructive ones, and transform into who you are meant to be. It is through gentle curiosity that we will work together to help you gently unfold what your needs are, and develop the skills to treat yourself and others with tenderness and care. I have expertise in working with all women (whether born biologically a woman or identifying as a woman), especially during transitions in their lives – such as transition to adulthood, becoming a mom, choosing not to become a mom, fertility issues, or relationship difficulties. I strive to provide services that are gender affirming and supportive of who you are in this world.
**Please note I continue to provide comprehensive counseling and support for reproductive rights, including abortion for all women and trans men. I pledge to stand by all of my clients and their right to choose their own healthcare, as well as ensuring that everyone retains control and autonomy over their own body.
“It’s not that motherhood is out of reach, it’s that it’s just out of reach. It’s not that motherhood didn’t happen, it’s that it almost did and, in fact, still could. The difference between the grief of infertility and other reasons for mourning is in that promise of ‘just,’ in ‘almost,’ in ‘still could.” – Alexandra Kimball
We are often told if we want something bad enough, that if we only try hard enough, that if we “manifest positivity,” our dreams will come true. Unfortunately, life does not work that way and things likely do not work out as we hoped they would. Approximately 10-15% of couples in the United States experience reproductive challenges. Being labeled “infertile” can feel like we’re being told that we’re “broken.” On top of the feelings of sadness, grief, and exhaustion that infertility can cause, it can also bring up feelings of shame, isolation, disappointment, exhaustion, and self-loathing. Your reality can become unspeakable. There are many paths that people can take when faced with infertility (IUI, IVF, donor, surrogacy, and adoption to name a few). TTC can feel lonely and isolating. I believe it is vital for you to have a space to be able to talk about anything you need to. I hope to create a space where you can feel held to feel all the feelings with non-judgment and compassion, and I can help support you as you navigate your journey.
Pregnancy and Postpartum
“To be pregnant is to be vitally alive, thoroughly woman, and distressingly inhabited. Soul and spirit are stretched – along with body – making pregnancy a time of transition, growth, and profound beginnings.” Anne Christian Buchanan and Debra K. Kingsporn
Pregnancy can be a time of great excitement and joy, and it is, but honestly it embodies so much more. It is a time when anxiety it heightened and you may worry constantly about what could go wrong. Then you may get introduced to “mom guilt” – where you worry that even your worrying is affecting your pregnancy. You may feel like you made a mistake and feel incredibly isolated and alone as you are met with messaging that pregnancy is only a beautiful time in a woman’s life, that any darkness or fear is unfathomable and indescribable.
Then the birth happens, and as mothers we are broken open in a way that we never expected and in a way that we were never told could happen. Often, we may feel betrayed by others because no one told us what it would feel like, or that it would be this hard. Instead we are told only how beautiful birth and having a baby is. But what happens when it’s not – and often it’s not. Many women experience significant traumas and difficulties such as going into labor early, an emergency C-section, risk to mother’s health, a baby going to the NICU, difficulty breastfeeding, or the myriad of other things that can happen. In reality, things are never picture perfect and as mothers we are left to feel alone and isolated – often experiencing feelings of shame and guilt that our experience is not how we were promised it would be and feel that there is something wrong with us because our experience is different.
My hope is to create a space where you can come completely as you are. I want to create a space for the unspeakable to be spoken and for you to share all of you and be met with compassion and non-judgement, which is a need for all women on this journey. I’ve completed advanced training through Postpartum Support International and completed the requirements for a certification in Perinatal Mental Health (PMH-C).
“My love for this child was a crowbar that ripped open my heart.” Anne Cushman
Motherhood at all stages in life is terrifying, exhausting, and breaks our hearts open in so many different ways that we never would have expected – whether we have a 1 month old or an 18-year-old. As a mother, it feels like there is always something to worry about, and no shortage of reasons for us to feel like we are “not good enough.” Most of us feel this way, yet no one talks about this – it can feel unmentionable. It feels almost as if we are forced to admit to ourselves that we have failed as a mother based on this social norm. There is so much contradictory information about how to be a mom. Whether it is baby books, the pediatrician, your child’s school, or your own family of origin, we are flooded with opinions about what we should not do and what we must do. When things get tough or go wrong moms bear the burden of being responsible for it all. Yet moms, unfortunately receive no support, no understanding, no patience or compassion. I believe it is important to wrap around moms in a therapy space that is inclusive. Within therapy my hope is to nurture a space for you to feel safe to be able to talk about your experiences openly and encourage you to hold gentle curiosity about what parts of your life you hope to keep or perhaps enrich to become who you are as woman and mother.
Traumatic Grief & Loss
“When we love deeply, we mourn deeply; extraordinary grief is an expression of extraordinary love. Grief and love mirror each other; one is not possible without the other.” Joanne Cacciatore
We are all aware that death comes at some point – we are mortal and those that we love are as well. Life is fragile and the loss of a loved one is terrifying and can feel ineffable. Unfortunately, our culture doesn’t grieve well. If you lose a loved one and especially in a traumatic way, many people, even family and friends, will look away, not call (“I didn’t know what to say”), or avoid you at all costs because of their own discomfort with your suffering. To lose a loved one is terrifying, but those grieving are left alone and isolated with their suffering. I approach grief with the foundational understanding that your grief is your love, and I hope to meet you in a space of compassion – as you are. My belief is that your pregnancy, your baby, or your loved one is not something to be left in the past, or to move on from. It is hard to grieve in a society that values restraint, but my hope is that you have a space to grieve in your own unique way. I have been fortunate to have received advanced training through the MISS foundation and have received the Compassionate Bereavement Care Certification® My intention is that within the space of therapy you can learn to live together with your grief, and to integrate this love as you continue to live your own life.
Other areas of expertise:
- Developing self-compassion
- Parent coaching
- Body neutrality/positivity
Bachelor of Arts: Social Work, 2002. Texas Lutheran University, Seguin
Masters of Science: Social Work (Clinical Concentration), 2004. University of Texas at Austin
Masters of Public Affairs (Portfolio in Nonprofit Studies), 2011. University of Texas at Austin
LICENSURE & CERTIFICATIONS
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (board approved supervisor), 2004. Certification: 40053
Advanced Clinical Social Worker, 2008
Perinatal Mental Health Certification (PMH-C) Postpartum Support International (PSI)
The Compassionate Bereavement Care Certification® MISS Foundation
Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC™) training with Dr. Chris Germer and Dr. Kristin Neff
PSI Perinatal Mood Disorders Components of Care
Advanced Psychotherapy with Reproductive Mental Health -PSI
Compassionate Bereavement Care Certification® training in Traumatic Grief and Loss MISS Foundation
Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) train the trainer
Trauma Focused CBT
EMDR International Association-Approved Training Basic CourseDr. Dan Siegel’s Comprehensive Interpersonal Neurobiology (IPNB) Training
Treatment of Co-occurring Psychiatric and Substance Use Disorders
National Association of Social Workers, Texas Chapter
Austin IN Connection
Postpartum Support International
American Society of Reproductive Medicine
Texas Society of Clinical Social Work
Pregnancy and Postpartum Health Alliance of Texas