About Me

Blue Stem grass

Growing up on a farm in North Dakota I learned the value of hard work and working together – in a family business and small community. I chose Bemidji to start Bluestem Behavioral Health because it feels like a place where I can be part of a community and contribute to the greater good. In the words of Senator Paul Wellstone, “We all do better when we all do better.”

My formal education includes a Bachelor of Science in Psychology (BSU 1986), and Master of Education in Counseling and Guidance at (NDSU 1993). I earned my Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology at University of North Dakota (UND) in 2001, and was licensed as a psychologist by the state of Minnesota in 2003.

Since completing my Ph.D. in 2001, my work experience includes community mental health in Red Lake Nation and Bemidji, MN, private practice, college mental health at Bemidji State University and Minnesota State University Moorhead, and the Eating Disorders Institute and in-patient unit in Fargo, North Dakota (MeritCare/Sanford). With experience in educational, counseling, and clinical settings, I bring a balanced perspective to consider a person’s strengths and not just symptoms.

My primary approach is Somatic Experiencing® which I have spent the last 9 years learning, practicing with clients and helping others learn. Somatic Experiencing® is an evidence-based intervention for recovery from the effects of emotional and physical trauma. It is also very effective in treating depression, anxiety, and general feelings of being stuck. It can be a very good option for people who have not had good results with other types of therapy. Sometimes “talking about it” doesn’t feel like an option, or seem helpful. In Somatic Experiencing we can make progress without the client having to disclose details about a troubling event.

Experience has taught me that no cookie-cutter approach exists in the realm of creating a good life, cleaning up a mess, or the practice of therapy. Therapy is working when you experience an increase in good and positive experiences, accompanied by a decrease in negative feelings and “symptoms.” Sometimes people even report experiencing a newfound joy and happiness! Together we will create a plan that will focus on identifying your personal strengths and inner resources to help you create your best life.

To borrow from a poem by Jose N. Harris, “Falling down is part of life. Getting back up is living”. The best part of my job is getting to help people recognize that falling down is normal and an opportunity to get back up and create something better.

For more information about Somatic Experiencing® please see:

  • Somatic Experiencing ® (SE)
  • Peter Levine interview on Somatic Experiencing® https://www.psychotherapy.net/interview/interview-peter-levine
  • The Polyvagal Theory: The New Science of Safety and Trauma – Seth Porges YouTube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=br8-qebjIgs
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – Psychology Today https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/cognitive-behavioral-therapy