After graduating with my MSW from Sacramento State University, I secured a job as a therapist at a community based mental health. While I loved the work with the clients, I did not connect with my colleagues; they all worked from a psychodynamic perspective. I was more attracted to family therapy. Placing problems in contexts, non-pathologizing clients, and paying close attention to language spoke to my preferred values and ideas. However it was not a complete fit; something was missing in these approaches. They did not address gender, race class, and power. As a social worker committed and trained in social justice, addressing power and oppression was central to the work.
Then I came upon narrative therapy. It was love at first sight. I read all the books and articles I could, attended Michael White and David Epston workshops, and sought out supervision. Jeff Zimmerman and Vicki Dickerson were a big part of my narrative therapy journey. My passion led to teaching and writing on narrative therapy and postmodernism. My first article on narrative therapy with youth labeled with ADHD was accepted by Stephen Madigan at his 2nd Narrative Ideas and Therapeutic Practice conference in 1994.
Stephen supporting and believing in my work furthered my confidence to speak and write on narrative. My love at first sight blossomed into a full-blown, long-term intimate relationship with narrative therapy. Many articles later, three books, and training therapists in narrative therapies with ADHD, disordered eating, and couples in North America and Europe has been my passion.
Delving into post-structuralism led to a PhD in cultural studies with an emphasis on feminist theory from the University of California at Davis. I now am a associate professor social work at Sacramento State University. With my dear friend an colleague Julie Tilsen, I have been writing and speaking on the use of queer theory with sexual and gender minorities. I am also the clinical director of the Gender Health Center, a non-profit counseling agency in Sacramento serving the transgender and queer community.
When not teaching, doing therapy, or writing, I try to perfect my golf swing, hang out with my son Drake, and attempt to learn Spanish…Oh, yeah I also am looking forward to the next Stanley Cup the Detroit Red Wings win!