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Therapist Referrals & Great Relationship Coaches

I’ve been fortunate to meet so many incredible providers over the years I wanted to share some of their information here for anyone who wants support for their mental health, and personal or professional growth.

Of course, I am taking new clients, but I am also not the right provider for every client in every situation. If you want or need help I recommend auditioning a few different folks to see who’s style, training, and expertise feels like the best fit for you.

If you want to work with me, contact me here for a free consultation to see if my work is a fit for you. And here are some other incredible folks I recommend talking with.

You can also find great providers on Portland Therapy Center or’s listings.

How to Prepare for an Online Couples Session

There's not a lot you have to do to prepare for our first session together, but taking a couple minutes to get clear and set up will make things run much more smoothly.  

Before setting up an online session schedule a free call with me to see if I'm a good fit for the couples support you're looking for.

Use the checklist below to get ready for our first online meeting:

Mental Preparation 

The most important part of our work together is your mindset.  Consider the following:

  • What are you hoping to get out of this session?  Are there time-sensitive areas you'd like to focus on?
  • What are you willing to try?  What have you already tried?  
  • Where do you feel most stuck?
  • Where do you feel most resistant to change?  How are you standing in your own way?

Physical Preparation

It might sound simple but having a solid baseline of self-care will greatly improve the efficacy of our work.  Here are a couple things to do before we meet:

  • Get some rest
  • Take your vitamins
  • Eat a meal
  • Stretch your body
  • Drink some water

Space Preparation

Finally, one of the most challenging parts of meeting online is the space limitations clients can feel.  Often folks are distracted in their own homes.  Use the checklist below to prep your space:

  • Find a space without distractions (cleaning or organizing your space, pets or children)

  • Turn off your phone ringer or other distracting technology (as you might in an in-person session)

  • Find somewhere you can sit comfortably for the time we're meeting

  • Make sure your space has reliable internet or cell reception coverage so we can stay in contact

Try a test call on google hangouts before we meet so you can be sure you'll be able to talk with me.

Five Questions to Create Your Elevator Pitch

I read a blog recently that outlined "how to create your elevator pitch" and have been spending a lot of time thinking about how to clarify my interests to help clients find me.  I have always been a dabbler, multiple interests and talents pulling me in seemingly different directions.  Marie Forleo calls me a "multifaceted entrepreneur."  Which has led to a rich and fulfilling life filled with wide-ranging adventures.  I don't regret this life at all, and of course my varied travels and studies influence my work.

So how do I explain that quickly to potential clients and referral sources?

I don't.

It's not that the range isn't important when connecting, but in that 60-second elevator speech conversation or intro, it's just not helpful.  Just as it has left me unclear about my expertise, too much information leaves my contacts confused.

I have spent these first two weeks of 2013 meditating on my professional purpose in private practice using these five questions to guide me.  Maybe they can help you.

1.  Who are you?

2.  What do you do?

3.  How do you do your work?

4.  Why do you do this work?

5.  Who do you love to work with?

I've used these questions to guide coaching sessions with new clients in the new year and have had great results helping awesome people find clarity.  One client said it renewed his creative energy and a fabulous couple said it helped them understand each other better.

I recommend writing the questions on large blank pieces of paper.  Read them aloud and then sleep on them.  Take a walk.  Let your mind wander.  Come back to it later and without censor or critique write the words and phrases that come to mind (I did the writing for one client while he spoke, which helped him process faster).  There are no wrong answers.  Let them rest again, and come back again to refine them into phrases or sentences that resonate with you.  You'll know when you find your fit.  I'm happy to help if you'd like.

I'll be posting pictures on my Facebook page soon so you can see the wonderful ways people have made this process their own.  I look forward to hearing about how this works for you!

Top Ten Reasons to See a Relationship Coach

Relationship coaching helps couples reflect and take intentional action to create relationships filled with happiness, connection, and shared vision.  It is a little different from couples counseling, only in that it is very forward thinking, positive, and action-oriented.  I blend counseling and coaching in my work

There are many reasons couples decide to start working with me.  Here are ten of the most common:

1.  Sweethearts considering marriage.

Pre-marital counseling and coaching is some of my favorite work.  You know you want to be together, now, the question is, HOW do you want to be together?  What kind of future do you want to build?  How will you navigate life changes with grace?  Working with a relationship coach can help you get clear about the life you want to build as a committed couple.

2.  Keeping the relationship fulfilling long term.  

You have probably heard me say it already, every relationship needs a tune up from time to time.  Keeping your relationship a priority amid the many responsibilities and obligations that come up can be difficult.  It's not uncommon to lose a little luster over time.   Couples coaching can help provide time to re-assess how to sustainably keep the home fires burning for a long long time.

3.  Getting back together after taking a break.

Little known fact: LOTS of couples break up and get back together.  When you are deciding to return to partnership it can be really helpful to work with a relationship coach to both repair any gaps from your break, and work on forgiveness.  Your relationship coach will also help you determine how you want to move forward together.

4.  Thinking about becoming parents.

Parenting is an amazing journey, but it isn't for everyone and co-parenting doesn't come naturally.  Who do you want to be as a parent?  Is parenting something you both really want?  When you and your partner are ready to start thinking about a family it can be a good time to bring in a coach as a facilitator to help guide you through the decision-making and planning processes.

5.  Starting a business with your life partner.  

So we know you and your partner have great ideas and can manage projects together well (that home remodel looks beautiful!) but are you ready to start a business together?  And if you are, how will you maintain your relationship strength as your business dreams come true?  Contact a relationship coach to help you as a consultant for your business partnership when it's also our romance partner!

6.  Opening your relationship to non-monogamy.

Polyamory and open relationships are much more common than people think.  However, because we have strong cultural taboos around talking about open relationships, most couples are without support as they begin conversations about openness.  You can find poly-friendly relationship coaches and couples or marriage counselors in the national Poly-friendly Professionals or the Open List.  You can find me there too!

7.  Adventuring in new sexual or sensual territory.

Dan Savage coined the phrase GGG meaning one should strive to be good in bed, giving "equal time and equal pleasure" to one's partner, and game "for anything—within reason."for things sexually and sensually.  For some people meeting this GGG standard is not easily done.  Working with a relationship coach or couples counselor could help you and your partner explore new sensual connections and be even stronger together in the bedroom (and wherever else these adventures take you).  Check the Kink-Aware Professionals national listing for a sex-positive (non-judgmental) provider near you.

8.  Repairing a relationship after an affair.  

An affair doesn't necessarily mean you have to end your relationship.  Many couples decide to stay together.  However, repairing from a violation of trust can require professional support.  Contact a relationship counselor or couples coach to help you rebuild connection and trust and decide if staying together is the best option for you.

9.  Re-imagining the relationship after things go blah.

Lets face it, relationships take work and it is not easy to razzle-dazzle your partner every day (nor is it a realistic expectation).  Work with a relationship coach or couples counselor to help reignite that spark and fascination that brought you together in the first place.

10.  Deciding to move in together.

I have worked with many couples deciding if and when to move in together.  Many people struggle with questions of balance  privacy, space, and independence during these conversations.  It can be very helpful to have a neutral party's support and guidance as you transition to or from living together.

The bottom line is, if you are going to stay together for a long time, you are going to weather many changes to your life and relationship.  Relationship coaching is like a vitamin boost for your relationship's health during times of stress and transition.  Why not give it a try?

What to Watch Out for: Three Signs Your Relationship Needs Work


So many couples wait until they have done MAJOR damage before coming in to see me in the office.  Statistics show that most couples finally make an appointment six months after symptoms of dissatisfaction become a problem. Here are a few symptoms to watch out for so you can get support sooner rather than later.

Have you been wondering if your relationship needs work?  Consider the warning signs, and make an appointment with me for a free consultation to talk more.

  1. Negativity – Continued negative contact over time makes it difficult to repair damage and return to sweetness together
    1. Resentment -- Built up (often unspoken) feelings of negativity toward your partner
    2. Criticism – Blame and critique of one another instead of solution finding
    3. Contempt – Attacks on each other’s character
  2. Rigidity – Remaining open to the influence of your partner instead of becoming inflexible is critical to long-term relationship health
    1. Defensiveness – Becoming defensive hearing your partner
    2. Stonewalling – Withholding affection, ignoring or distancing from your partner
  3. Turning Away – While it is important to have independent time and space, turning away from your partner when they are requesting help or support can decrease the longevity of your relationship significantly
    1. Invalidation—denying the validity of one partner’s experience or feelings
    2. Avoidance or Withdrawal – Physically or emotionally withdrawing from one another completely

If you have noticed any of these signs and wish to remedy your relationship, couples counseling or relationship coaching may be right for you. Remember, every relationship needs a tune-up now and again, just don’t wait so long you have to call AAA from the side of the highway!