From my earliest days of contemplating what sort of career to pursue two things stood out: working with people and being outdoors. For a variety of logistical reasons, and some conceptual ones, it took more than a decade to connect these two pursuits into the creation of Your Pace Psychotherapy.
Looking way back to 1999, I worked with youth in the intensive residential care of California’s oldest home for neglected & abused children (SF’s Edgewood Center for Children & Families). In my couple of years at Edgewood as a teacher’s aid, I grew to admire the dedication & effectiveness of the therapists working directly with the children.
So off I went to Smith College’s School for Clinical Social Work. Smith consistently espoused the ideals that I continue to hold core to my personal & professional identity:
Clinical social work practice is concerned with the interdependence between individuals and their environments and the use of theoretically grounded, relationship based, culturally informed interventions to promote healing, growth and empowerment. Clinical social work recognizes and responds to the complexities of the human condition: its strengths, possibilities, systems of meaning, resilience, vulnerabilities and tragedies. As a collaborative process, clinical social work expresses the core values of the profession, including recognition of client self-determination, growth and change in the client system and pursuit of social justice. It rests upon a liberal arts base and integrates evolving theories about individuals, families, groups, communities, and the larger social systems in which they are embedded.
After completing my MSW in 2003, I moved back to the West coast & promptly found an agency whose mission & values matched my own (Safe & Sound; formerly, The San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center). The SFCAPC, in 2003, was the first child & family service oriented agency in the Haight Ashbury with a 24/7/365 parental stress hotline (the TALK Line). The agency included a modest in-person counseling center, and a child-advocacy department.
Over the course of the following decade I worked in numerous roles throughout the agency — spending the majority of my time as program director of the TALK Line, while maintaining a number of in-person, one-to-one clients.
As time went on I felt a gradual internal geological shift occur, as I was asked to take on increasingly managerial roles, and felt both honored and yet ambivalent about moving even further away from working directly with adolescents and young adults. In the personal & professional tectonics of change that followed, I traversed the Northern Hemisphere, and launched a business that fits my outside-the-box approach to being a healer.
Your Pace Psychotherapy is the culmination of years of experience working with people in a closed-door context that has evolved into a more active, intuitive approach to navigating difficult emotional and relational terrain.