Hypnosis & Hypnotherapy
Anger & Stress Management
Marriage Preparation Discussions
Faith & Spirituality Coaching
My Story in more detail
As you get to know me, you'll find I have the heart of a mystic and the mind of a skeptic. So hypnosis is perfect for me: a scientifically validated and refined technique working with the messy, complicated, emotional, mysterious parts of ourselves. It has been a twisty road to this point in my life, but I believe my experience brings a richness to my work in hypnotherapy that I wouldn't otherwise have.
In college I studied philosophy and religion - forever cementing my ambidextrous love of Reason and Faith, the heart and the mind, so to speak. But, as one might expect in one's college years, while I intellectually appreciated "religious experience" (the way an anthropologist would), my own psychology became dominated by a passionate naturalism: the belief that whatever there is at work in the world, it is natural (not "supernatural").
I spent the next decade living by an approximation of Ocham's Razor: the philosophical principle that the simplest explanation requiring the fewest assumptions is most likely the true answer. This might serve well in scientific research (might), but it doesn't allow much room for magic or deep connection in one's life. These were, nevertheless, growth-filled years for me. I was studying philosophy and feminist theory at the graduate level. I spent a lot of nights by campfires, thinking and talking passionately and deeply with my friends. I learned to play the guitar and wrote a book. I served in Peace Corps Ukraine for three years - effectively a sabbatical from thinking about myself too much. When I returned to the States, I decided to re-engage my faith community, grew more politically active around peace and justice issues, and even started Seminary studies.
I was still a naturalist when I began Seminary. What I came to realize most of all in that program was that religion and faith was a language that people of goodwill have used to understand themselves and each other. However I feel about any religion in particular, I found that I could respect the tradition. And that opened a door.
Within a few years I was ordained and in public ministry in Seattle. I soon started working for my denomination regionally. Then, in an exciting opportunity, I was invited to be the executive minister over continental Europe and Eurasia. It was an amazing adventure. One that was cut short by an abusive coworker who had the protection of the chain of command. Within two years I went from being the best minister I had ever been to a husk of a person - suffering a nervous breakdown, devastating loss of sense of self-worth, and desperate to escape. I left that position, losing our home, career, and new friends in the process, and returned to Seattle a broken person.
One beautiful thing that came out of that time was our first daughter. Then two years later, twins. They are angels (most of the time) and really lovely little persons.
But to be honest, those years were very dark and difficult. With three kids under three, we didn't have time for friends and our families were not in the area. We didn't have much support, and my wife was working to support the family in a demanding job. I was in no emotional state to do much but survive. Living in Seattle is expensive, even when you choose a very small house and turn the front yard into a microfarm. Three kids, a mortgage, car insurance and the rest... we decided the stress and debt were not worth the unhappiness and exhaustion. We sold our home and planned to live off-the-grid on some property out in the woods.
That was a glorious adventure, but brought its own difficulties, and we eventually moved back to Seattle to be closer to family for support with the kids.
Over the following years, I experienced another extraordinary growth period in my life. I took my previous education, experience, passion and training in a new direction. After more than ten years working for a church, I started to re-evaluate what I was doing. I was in the work to help people be better people... but was I doing that? Maybe? I didn't know.
An opportunity arrived to segue my skills from working with groups of people to helping individuals, and I became an Integrative Wellness and Life Coach. By happenstance, I discovered hypnosis as an adjunct to my wellness coaching. But the more I used hypnosis, the more success my clients achieved. "There's something to this," I thought. I began training and pursuing advanced study in hypnosis, finding in it a more direct path to the best work I was doing in religion: working with the subconscious to change behavior and attitudes, making lives better and happier. What was becoming clear to me is that I have been preparing for this my whole life.
Everything that I had experienced - good and bad, physically and emotionally, mentally and spiritually - informed and shaped me to be able to bring a unique perspective and help others.
I have an undergraduate degree in philosophy and religion - marrying two related (and mutually-informative) but often antagonistic traditions. My spiritual journey has taken me from naive Christianity to profound questioning to a novel sense of devotion that is able to embrace both the discomfort of belief and "non-belief", and embracing the tradition (what has been handed down as meaningful) and novelty (creativity and reaching into new areas of spiritual insight and exploration). I have been brought from a place of judgmentalism through a time of cynicism to a place of compassion and eagerness. Now I can appreciate all of those places and stages and coping mechanisms as legitimate and as people doing the best they can with the resources they have. I can be dedicated to the best that I know, while always knowing that I may have to abandon what I "know" for a better (deeper, greater) understanding. I can help other people be affirmed where they are but also called (or at least open) to a greater sense of being. (Metanoia?)
In the years since, as a mental health professional, a parent, a spouse, and growing into middle-age, I have been brought on the journey further still. My success in working with clients has mirrored my own work on myself - professionally and personally. It is absolutely inspiring to help people at a point of profound change in their lives.
I have seen the power of transformation - both in others and in myself. I was able to let go of deep woundedness and anger, trauma and self-doubt, through the tools I now use to help others.