Director of the OAAP
I grew up in NE Portland and still live there with my spouse and two children. I enjoy being rooted in a place where I am connected with people and resources that I’ve known and accessed for decades. I was raised by a single parent who entered sobriety early in my childhood. I was lucky enough to be surrounded by a community of adults living in recovery as a model for wellness. I spent afternoons and weekends accompanying my mother to work at a local social service agency. This shaped my values around service to the most vulnerable members of our community struggling within oppressive systems and taught me the importance of supporting working parents by creating environments where families are welcome.
I pursued a joint degree in law and social work at the University of Michigan because I wanted to use both advocacy and connection to help people overcome challenges. After earning my degrees I returned to Portland to practice juvenile law at Metropolitan Public Defender. I found the work immensely rewarding and loved my clients and my colleagues. After having my first daughter, I left that office and worked with a plaintiff’s attorney on a civil rights suit for foster children. I then joined the Oregon Attorney Assistance Program as an attorney counselor and became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, having completed more than 3,500 postgraduate social service hours. I became the Director of the OAAP in 2021.
My therapeutic approach is informed by Rogerian Person-Centered Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Interpersonal Neurobiology, and Mindfulness and Self-Compassion practices. I have honed these skills working with people experiencing houselessness, families facing interpersonal violence, and individuals struggling with addictions and other mental health symptoms. Almost all of the people I work with have experienced trauma.
I love my job as a therapist and a lawyer. It is true social justice work, and I am immensely grateful for the opportunity to walk next to people as they progress through incredibly challenging circumstances. I am LGBTQA-affirming. I am a strengths-based therapist; I recognize that to be human is to be vulnerable, and we all need the support of others when we are experiencing distress. I wholeheartedly believe that what is right with us is much more powerful than what is wrong with us.
I look forward to working with you.