Licensed Psychologist & Owner
Available for OR
Licensed Professional Counselor Associate
National Certified Counselor
Available for WA or OR
Licensed Independent Social Worker
Available for OR or WA
MA Clinical Psychology
Coming June 20, 2023
I began my career as a dispatcher/call-taker for police, fire, & ambulance service. I became a police officer, a member of the Critical Incident Stress Management and Peer Support Team. There, I gained valuable experience helping fellow first responders with their reactions to traumatic events, as well as the day-to-day wear and tear of the job.
My dad was an officer for almost 40 years so I grew up a policeman's daughter. This experience helps me understand what it's like to be affected by the police member's work.
I've also been happily married to an officer for 20 years (and counting!). Again, this gives me another perspective, another source of understanding.
I believe experience as a first responder and my work with them has been my greatest teacher. But I have also formally prepared to assist first responders to be mentally healthy. I earned a PhD in Counseling Psychology and an M.S. in Criminal Justice. I trained in EMDR, the recommended treatment for trauma. I studied factors that influenced officers' ability to cope with traumatic stress, factors that helped officers maintain work-life balance, and the decision-making processes of seasoned first responders regarding leaving the job. I've studied the work of others to better my understanding of the impact of the work to prepare compelling arguments for better services and coverage for mental injuries from the job.
My heart is in my work. When I was an officer and peer support team member, I found a shortage of mental health providers who understood the unique nature of the work. I realized my greatest contribution would be to fill this gap. I've taught other providers what I know about the first responder culture but there's no substitute for experience. I get it. I've had many roles in the last 20+ years in the profession: dispatcher/call-taker, victim services, police officer, and clinician. I've also had the benefit of decades of personal roles: daughter, wife, and friend of officers. All of these experiences have given me a well-rounded understanding of the impact of the work.
I accept Kaiser, Regence BCBS, Moda, Providence, Optus, PacificSource, Aetna, Cigna, First Choice, Canopy, ESI, Uprise, and worker's compensation benefits.
My professional experience has spanned both the fire service and the mental health field. On the fire side, I did 7 seasons in wildland on handcrews, rappel and short-haul crews throughout the PNW. I also put in 5 years as a volunteer with 3 years as a resident for a rural district outside of Kennewick, WA. As for mental health, I have provided both conventional counseling as well as crisis counseling to children, adolescents, and adults. From 2019-2021, I was able to merge the two sides as I rode along with Spokane Fire Department as a ‘co-deployed’ first responder. In that role, I got a strong sense of the increasing level of difficulty some of the calls entail as I responded alongside a Spokane Fire paramedic to try to resolve emergency behavioral health calls. Many of these calls were resolved in conjunction with Spokane Police Department. These experiences have been fortified by multiple ride-alongs with various police agencies in the Portland-Salem metro area.
I am a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker in OR and WA. I received my Master of Social Work degree through Louisiana State University in 2019. Much of my clinical training is crisis and trauma focused. I am trained in EMDR through EMDRIA and was recently trained in the peer support model of EMDR (ASAP). Much of my clinical approach is rooted in psychodynamic, existential, and Jungian theories as well as Cognitive Behavior Therapy.
Throughout my pursuit of a fire service career, I strove to determine what it would take to be a good firefighter. I was blessed to have received incredible advice from the phenomenal mentors who spent time with me as I navigated my path. Oddly enough, it was this that lead me to see my calling in a different light. I began to see the value in mentorship, in helping someone else get dialed in, and being there for someone going through hard times. It is my hope in my role here to carry on that legacy with all first responders by providing a confidential, structured, and efficient approach.
I accept Kaiser, Moda, Providence, Canopy, ESI, and worker's compensation benefits.
I started on this path as a volunteer firefighter in rural Clark County, later also serving as an intern at a combination fire department in Alaska. After time in the army I returned to the Pacific Northwest, and have worked as a firefighter and fire officer at busy stations at Portland Fire and Rescue since 2004. These experiences form a background of understanding some of the challenges faced by career first responders, such as carrying trauma, experiencing burnout, and managing chronic sleep deprivation. As my career is shifting to being a helper who helps other helpers, I want to help others find wellness within their own specific context.
I am a graduate of Lewis and Clark’s master’s counseling program. Additionally, I am certified in ecotherapy, and respect the significance of the relationship between humanity and nature. As a researcher, I am interested in better understanding how meaning, relationships, and burnout impact the mental health of first responders. I believe in grounding my work as a therapist into the research of others as well, and consider myself a life-long learner.
I understand a fundamental tension of first responder mental health, that we must perform at work but still be healthy at home. Holding both our strength and our breakability together is a perspective that few outside of our culture can truly appreciate. I respect that many of us stand at such intersections, where who we truly are is difficult for others to see. Much of my role as a therapist is simply to provide a place for you to be you.
I accept Kaiser, Regence BCBS, Providence, Optum, PacificSource, Aetna, Cigna, Canopy, & ESI benefits.
Listen to Matt's interview to learn about his research on this very important topic. Matt talks about mental health, and how meaning, burnout, and relationships are tied to suicidality. He reveals a surprising finding about the relationship between call load and suicidality.
CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO LISTEN!!
I did my first ride-along when I was 16, and at age 18 I joined on with an explorers post at a local Sheriff’s office in Colorado. My senior year I did an internship with the Evans, Colorado police department, and graduated with my bachelor’s in 2007. Just two weeks later I was in the police academy in Littleton, Colorado. My career in LE last about five years, I wanted to travel and continue my education. I joined the Coast Guard at age 28, getting stationed on a cutter out of Seattle. I served for eight years, and during that time I was deployed on the high seas for five years. I also worked LE in the Coast Guard as a boarding team member, primarily doing drug interdiction. While on the cutter I also trained as a battle medic. I worked a lot of search and rescue missions on the Bering Sea in Alaska as well.
While in the Coast Guard I earned my Master of Arts degree in Forensic psychology in 2019. In 2020 I left the Coast Guard to pursue my M.A. in Clinical Psychology. I am currently working on my doctorate in clinical psychology.
My passion for working with first responders started from a very early age, around eight years old. I knew even then where my path would lead, and where my heart was at. For the last 2 years I have been working with veterans, focusing on trauma. My clinical career will continue to focus on trauma, now working with first responders, following my heart and passion, since circa 1992.
I was born and raised in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Growing up within a law enforcement family, I knew that no matter what I ended up doing in life I primarily wanted to give back to my community by supporting people. I attended New Mexico State University focusing my studies within healthcare. I began my career in healthcare working alongside law enforcement as a victim advocate and assisting with the sexual assault nurse examiners unit.
In 2018, I relocated to the Pacific Northwest with my husband and our children. Though the days are not as sunny as I was used to living in New Mexico, I love the changing seasons and picturesque landscape. A majority of my experience is in outpatient clinical settings as a Certified Medical Assistant and Phlebotomist.