We become our experiences and experiences can be created which promote growth, healing and possibility.
Years in Practice: 20+ Years
School: University of Denver
Year Graduated: 1989
License No. and State: 8216 Montana
Certificate: Profectum Foundation/DIR® Floortime(tm)
Certificate Date: 2014
License No. and State: School Psychologist/Counselor Office of Public Instruction
Certified in DIR© through Profectum Foundation
IATP Trauma Professional
Graduate Schools: University of Denver, University of Montana
Counselor, School Psychologist, LCPC
My approach for supporting personal change is grounded in a model of interaction that uses development, the individual’s sensory profile and their relationships (DIR) to enhance and strengthen their capacity for staying calm and regulated, sharing their experiences and being engaged with their lives and the lives of people they love. I help people with anxiety, traumatic stress, autism and other developmental disorders. My work with families uses DIR to give parents specific skills and knowledge to foster growth.
Developmental & trauma-informed approaches meet the person where they are and work from that point forward. The work is in creating the interactions which promote brain growth, healing, and a more adaptive cognitive style from the ground up for each individual based on what they bring to the table and where they want to go. I work to combine evidence-based interventions from several areas – developmental, traum-informed, play therapy and cognitive behavioral protocols – tailored to each individual or family.
This is not traditional psychotherapy – it is a dynamic interaction process involving emotional connection, play, conversation, challenge and movement.
I have been licensed professional counselor, school psychologist and school counselor for 26 years, with 25 years of working in public school and mental health settings. I hold certifications in the DIR approach from Profectum Foundation and am an IATP trauma professional.
I work to combine both approaches – DIR/developmental with trauma intervention when having the honor of helping a client who has been traumatized or who has concerns about trauma. Examples of trauma include sexual abuse, witnessing or being part of an act of violence, experiencing the dehumanization of disease and witnessing something perceived as threatening to your own life. Watching someone take back their power and step forward into the rest of their life is a humbling experience – human resilience has no boundaries.
My approach is creativity combined with evidence-based interventions. I work with young teens, adults and families.
Some of my treatment orientations are:
- Developmental, Individualized, Relationship based approach (DIR©)
- Cognitive Behavioral emphasis
- Trauma informedCross-culturally informed
- Developmental Disorders:
- Autism Spectrum, Learning & Memory, Attention & Regulation
More on DIR®
The DIR® model is based on research in normal human development. Developed by Stanley Greenspan MD and Serena Weider PhD it has multiple facets and addresses problems which affect human development involving cognition, affect & emotion, movement and intention, language and learning. Everyone is in a developmental process throughout their lives based on the initial developmental progression put in place in infancy. When situations exist that interrupt this developmental process downstream effects can be significant and manifest in a variety of ways of which autism is one but there are many others.
DIR© has many strategies for promoting development but the most well-known is the idea of “floor time” or, literally, time on the floor with the child or person playing and interacting over something that has meaning to the child. This type of play is child-directed and child-paced – you cannot teach development. DIR© uses specific strategies in the play interaction designed to enrich and expand the client’s emotional connection with another person (caregiver, therapist) – social connection fosters brain growth.
Once fully engaged with another person a sequence of developmental processes can be strengthened through these experiences – clients are taught the model and strategies and need to take them home with to continue the work which creates neurological and behavioral growth.
DIR© has many facets and is applied by a variety of professionals. Profectum Foundation has working groups for physicians, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, educators and mental health professionals. Each profession, staying within their realm, adds to the body of knowledge on how human development progresses, how it gets derailed and how to get it back on track. As a mental health provider my focus is on the relationship itself – the magic that happens between two people which provides the structure for how they will interact with their world.
For more about this approach, and free access to a parent toolbox with webinars and materials go here: https://profectum.org/about/dir/
My work is trauma-informed. I am trained as a trauma therapist for intervention with post traumatic stress and traumatic stress. The Salish and Kootenai Tribe’s focus on the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACES) and their collaboration with the Harvard Trauma Program allowed me to have training in these areas as well.
Trauma has developmental implications – it derails a person’s functional capacity for self-regulation, shared attention, social engagement and reciprocal interaction. The effects are brutal, devastating and at times heart breaking for the individuals involved and they are vulnerable to being re-traumatized by people, systems and agencies which have not examined and changed their own cultural assumptions about experiencing a traumatic event. Six out of ten adults report being traumatized in childhood – trauma is everywhere.
Getting Started – Appointments
Average cost per session
$120 – $140
Accepted Payment Methods: Cash, Check
Accepted Insurance Plans:
- BlueCross and BlueShield
- Healthy Montana Kids
Please find the following helpful forms
Please fill out the intake form prior to our appointment.
Cancellation/No Show policy
The current office policy is that established patients can cancel or reschedule appointments 24 hours before their appointment. Established clients are allowed one no-show or same day cancellation per calendar year unless extraordinary circumstances exist. The second no show is billed at the full rate as agreed on in the cancellation policy.
If a new patient does not show for their initial evaluation, they will not be offered to reschedule. If a client does not show up on time for their appointment – either appearing early or late – it is considered not showing up for their regularly scheduled appointment unless arrangements have been made in advance.
Due to a current substantial demand for mental health services, this policy is critical to maintaining availability for my therapy services in this community.
Missoula, Montana 59802
Special thanks to John Salisbury for the photography on this website.