As a parent of a child (no matter their age) with extra needs, such as a chronic health concern or developmental disability, you never come first. You hear that self-care is important but no one tells you how to do this in the context of your life where someone always needs you. You live in hyper-vigilant overdrive, all too familiar with the unpredictability each day brings.
Over time, the effects of putting off your own needs or the needs of your significant relationships can no longer be ignored. It's important to know that there is no award or reward for the longest- suffering parent. I've yet to meet a parent, who in hindsight, wished they had felt guiltier.
Now is the time for you because YOU Matter.
I get it.
I am a Washington State licensed independent clinical social worker with 35+ years experience (including 12 at Seattle Children's and 10 in private practice) providing mental health therapy, education, and support, particularly to parents of a loved one with special needs.
I am also mom to a young adult with autism and intellectual disability. I know the heartbreak of learning something is awry with your child's development, the sense of urgency to help, the frustration with resources that seem impossible to navigate, and the sense of helplessness when your child is struggling.
Because of my child, I have also found humility in asking for help, grace in accepting it, and a commitment to serve other parents to walk this path with courage, intelligence, and love.
ABOUT MY PRACTICE
I'm here to help.
I believe that no two clients are alike and yet our shared humanity is that we all experience hardship. No one is singled out or spared. At times, it is overwhelming and we need help, as we tend to default to unproductive patterns of behavior, particularly when in what feels like survival mode. Most parents report experiencing some degree of stress, anxiety, and depression while trying to manage it all.
My job is to help you gain insight into and navigate the emotions, decisions, and transitions that come with parenting someone with extra needs. I do this via psycho-education, supportive counseling, and therapy.
Due to Covid19, I offer telehealth via Thera-Link, a HIPAA-compliant platform.
There is no one-size-fits-all therapy. My approach is tailored to your unique needs and may include grief work related to adjustment to and acceptance of diagnosis, cognitive behavioral therapy for addressing anxiety and depression, unproductive thinking patterns and resultant behaviors, social cognitive theory for increasing coping and self-efficacy, and mindful self-compassion for improved self-care.
I also provide education and coaching related to resource navigation in the context of therapy as I have successfully managed to weed through confusing therapy options, access government services including DDA, Medicaid, and SSI and complete all the steps in transitioning from pediatric to adult services.
Therapy is most effective when it occurs on a regular weekly schedule, particularly in the beginning. While therapy definitely includes “checking in” and empathic listening, this alone tends to be more cathartic than therapeutic, meaning you briefly feel better for having shared, but nothing in your experience truly changes. You can expect me to support you and also challenge you to make a commitment to your own well-being with me alongside coaching.
Here is an award-winning video for the largest genetic study of autism by the Simons Foundation, SPARK study.
Here is a documentary I created depicting the parallel paths my daughter and I have had over the past 23 years.
Here is a great resource for parents from Seattle Children's Autism Center.