Stressful Life Transitions, Troublesome Childhoods, Women’s Issues, Career Changes, Relationship Stress, Parenting, Self-Esteem, Anxiety, Depression, Trauma
Hello, I am Michelle! I am passionate about supporting adults of all ages in their life journey by cultivating self-expression and healing in the wake of stressful life changes. I draw heavily from my life experience. As a parent, certified expressive writing group facilitator, a woman in midlife, and former journalist and writer, I bring to each session open-mindedness, curiosity, empathy, and insight. I believe everyone has a unique story that needs to be heard.
A Los Angeles native, I attended college at the University of California, Santa Cruz. (Yes, I am a Banana Slug!) As a young adult, I moved to the Chicago area to attend journalism school at Northwestern University. I am a life learner and in midlife completed graduate programs in psychology, clinical mental health counseling, as well as a certification in expressive writing. My family and I have lived on Chicago’s North Shore for nearly two decades, where my three children attended public schools.
I strive to offer self-expression and healing opportunities suited for you, whether it be through journaling, a support group, mindfulness exercises, or talk therapy. My eclectic toolkit draws from aspects of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Somatic, Person-Centered, and Narrative therapies, and my integrative approach continues to evolve as I expand my knowledge base. I also rely on my life wisdom. My personal journey with therapy has helped me overcome obstacles I faced as a survivor of childhood trauma and as an adult experiencing stressful life transitions. My therapeutic experiences in counseling and writing inspire me to help you work on your own struggles, whether they center on low self-esteem, relationship stress, life transitions, troublesome childhoods, women’s issues, career changes, parenting, anxiety, depression, or trauma.
Life Stressors: College-Age/Young Adults, Adults of Any Age, Parents
I am no stranger to life’s stressors. My most challenging occurred during my teen years when I lost a close loved one to suicide. The experience left me with profound feelings of grief and loss, stigmatization, and isolation due to the limited resources on suicide then. Eventually, I sought therapy, which helped me recover from my tumultuous adolescence by providing me with a space to express and process my thoughts and emotions. As a therapist, I want to do what I can to ensure that nobody feels alone, unsupported, stigmatized, or depressed as I once did myself.
As a parent, I have seen how stressors can affect many life stages. A mother to three children ranging from high school to college to post-college ages, I know the difficulties that may surface when a young adult leaves home for college or to take a job in another city. When my children were young, my husband and I moved them with us across the country a couple of times for job changes. Those experiences resulted in strains on finances, household dynamics, and our mental health.
With this in mind, I prioritize feeling safe, supported, and heard during difficult times as an essential foundation for change and stress reduction. My goal is to join you in your journey to make effective changes. This may involve collaborating on boundary-setting, goal-setting, self-esteem, communication, exploring thought and/or relationship patterns, determining triggers, and cultivating new coping skills.
I love groups! My group facilitation experience includes leading expressive writing workshops for women, teens, and older adults throughout the North Shore, and co-leading self-care and holistic emotional healing support groups for adults during my work at a local community mental health agency. I have seen how groups can connect and empower; reduce feelings of loneliness, isolation, and distress; improve skills; and provide a sense of hope.
In my personal time, I enjoy walking my Labrador Retriever, Nellie, along the lake, watching my teen-age son play football and baseball, and taking quick trips to the East Coast to visit my daughters. I spend as much of the summers as possible at the lake either sitting with a book, kayaking, or paddle-boarding.