When I was four years old, I wanted to be Santa Claus when I grew up. Really. Something in Santa’s somewhat magical, giving profession must have struck a chord with me, even at that tender age. Or perhaps it was that we were buried in snow drifts the size of sand dunes in New Hampshire that winter. But, I grew up and realized that the profession of Santa Claus wasn’t actually viable for me. I needed to find another calling.
I graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a degree in English and journalism, and having spent nearly all of my spare time training on the swim team. After working as a journalist, and then returning to UNH for a graduate degree in education, I became an elementary and middle school teacher for six years. I loved it, but I found that I kept bringing my students outside every chance I could get, to learn from the natural world. And I found that I kept being drawn to the students whose emotional needs were not being met.
So I moved to Boulder for a Master’s in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology (Wilderness Therapy) at Naropa University. I had always felt deeply rooted in the outdoors, and wanted to find a way to connect this with my desire to help others. I met my husband, Dan, in the same program. Since he was a West-Coaster, and I was an East-Coaster, and we loved Boulder, we stayed put in the middle. I interned with MDS Counseling Center, focusing on both school-based therapy and adults recovering from addictions, then worked on a school-based therapy team with Community Reach Center after graduating, until we had our first child.
My husband and I both completed a two-year training in The Brook Institute’s somatic attachment work during my pregnancy, and our daughter joined our training after her birth to become one of our greatest teachers. During this training, I realized that focusing on the work in the early attachment field – as applied to its effects on relationships across the entire lifespan – was where I was most passionate.
When our oldest daughter was two, I began my PhD work in Clinical Psychology, with an emphasis in prenatal and perinatal psychology at Santa Barbara Graduate Institute. Halfway through my program, the school folded, and I ended up transferring, and later graduating from, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology (2015). Soon after I transferred, we were blessed to have our second daughter. I did my practicum work assisting in the training of the next class going through the somatic attachment work at The Brook Institute.
And though I seem to have been a perennial classroom student, my most important learnings have emerged from my relationships with my husband and our daughters. Sometimes the learnings have been subtle, like the little a-ha parenting moment of finally figuring out that our newborn’s crying was due to a soggy diaper, and not hunger, after the fourth time of trying to get her to eat. Other times the learnings have not-so-subtly buried me, like an intense argument with my husband that once changed my work-life balance for the better. It was shocking and painfully refreshing – a little like jumping into a dune of New Hampshire snow.
I still love to write, teach, and be in the wilderness, and I bring these elements into my work as an attachment-based therapist. I have been in private practice in Boulder since 2009, present nationally at conferences, blog, and teach as an adjunct instructor at Naropa University. I am also the book editor for the Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health (APPPAH).