As an author, speaker, coach, counselor, and licensed therapist (LCSW), I help families navigate through difficult transition periods. Usually, these are times when parents are considering therapeutic treatment for their child’s emotional and behavioral problems; when a teen or young adult is coming home from a treatment program; or when a young adult is experiencing failure to launch from the nest. I work directly with both parents and their children, drawing on over fifteen years of experience ‘on the ground’—in living rooms and at kitchen tables, in the wilderness, on the road, over the phone, wherever and however I’m needed.
My first book, The Road Home, is a guide for parents of kids coming home from a therapeutic treatment program. This is often a stressful time, filled with anxiety, fear, guilt, and a cauldron of other emotions, and my book answers your questions and concerns in a no-BS, easy-to-read way. For parents looking to work with me directly, I offer personalized Coaching based on the material in my book along with topics that will be covered in future books. I also offer Expedition Workshops for parents, kids, and families who need to get away from the stresses and distractions of home life and spend some healing time in the great outdoors.
I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty and dig into the nitty gritty of life. I am gentle and supportive, but I also speak the truth bluntly when it needs to be heard. In all my writings, talks, and direct work with families, I focus on uncovering the love, repairing and strengthening relationships, and bringing families closer together for the benefit of both you as an individual and your family as a whole.
Here’s a little more about the path that brought me to this work….
My Childhood and Early Life
I was born and raised in the shadows of the Wasatch mountains in Salt Lake City, Utah. My family encouraged my grounding in the beautiful natural surroundings. I spent my childhood in the mountains fishing, water skiing, snow skiing, snowboarding, and hunting pretty much every weekend aside from doing my household chores every week. The youngest of five, I attended Catholic schools and have my catholic school stories to tell. Ironically, I ended up teaching for several years at the high school I attended.
By my mid-twenties, I had spent years working in the outdoors as a commercial fisherman, river guide, and ski patroller. I made a permanent move to Alaska and became self-employed in a town called Girdwood for the next six years. It was here I learned how much I love working for myself.
Towards my late twenties, I did much soul searching and spiritual work, and realized I needed a sabbatical. Thus, I closed down my entrepreneurial activities and floated the Grand Canyon in the dead of winter for 30 days, and left soon after for a year of rest in Moab, Utah. In that year, I realized the road ahead.
My Professional Development
I made my way to San Diego and spent three years full time in grad school. I specialized in Clinical Social Work and Pastoral Counseling. As a licensed psychotherapist who understood how spirituality can help or hinder growth, I developed a private practice taking all my clients outside to the natural wonders to do our counseling sessions. Once clients went outside they never wanted back in the office.
I decided to sharpen my skills in the field of Wilderness Therapy, as I thought that field had a lot to teach me. It did. Now that I have spent years working as a wilderness therapist, I have embraced my entrepreneurial spirit again and am providing services to those families who are experiencing significant problems and need professional assistance.
Many of my families are on the verge of needing a wilderness intervention, are in the middle of a wilderness program, or have just left the wilderness experience. I also work with families that have no wilderness program experience at all. In a lot of ways, the “wilderness” is just a metaphor for the unpredictable, mysterious, and awesomely beautiful nature of life. I work with families and individuals to help navigate the “wilderness road” of life.
Books, Workshops, and More
In my latest incarnation, I’ve become a writer and speaker. Having worked with hundreds of families over the years, I realized I might have a little wisdom to share and I should try to reach more people. I sincerely hope the information you’ll find here is helpful to you and your family.