top of page

My Training

"For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out, and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction."

- C. Occelli
My training has taught me to think in terms of development.  The development of psychoanalytic theory through history, the development of the mind during infancy, and the development of a subjective self within one’s life. The Buddha also taught about development with his teachings on dependent-arising: All things arise, and pass away, in dependence upon conditions.

My formation and training as a psychotherapist have consisted of:
  • Working as a psychotherapist and clinical case manager for the severely and chronically mentally ill from 2006 to 2011 for Navos Mental Health Solutions, a community mental health agency in King County.

  • Master of Arts in Psychology degree in the Existential-Phenomenological Therapeutic Psychology program at Seattle University.

  • Exposure to the values and principles of spiritual direction at Spiritual Directors International's annual international conferences on spiritual direction, years 2005, 2006, and 2007.

  • Four years of intensive training in the Triratna Buddhist Community in the U.S. and England from 2001 to 2005. Three-year post-graduate program in Tibetan Contemplative Psychology 2015 to 2019. On-going study and practice as part of the ordination process since 2001.

  • Five months in India studying modern expressions of Buddhist spirituality and culture, including preliminary coursework in Buddhist history, philosophy, and practice, taught by the late Alan Sponberg (Dh. Saramati), Professor of Asian Studies.

  • B.A. in Psychology with a Clinical Emphasis from Davidson Honors College at the University of Montana.

I spent many years in men's encounter groups with the Triratna Buddhist Community, working through spiritual and psychological issues with other like-minded men. I was fortunate to be able to attend multiple meditation and study retreats, of a week to two weeks long, with extended periods of silence and meditation practice. Karuna Training and Gestalt Group Therapy training broadened my experience to include working with mixed-gender group settings.

An important aspect of my training has been my personal therapy, as well as my ongoing supervision/consultation.  My time as a client has given me direct experience of the personal and relational changes possible in therapy and serves to keep me processing my own emotional and relational responses so I can maintain my presence and awareness in the service of my patients.

I have had training and practice in:


  • Existential-analysis: based in existentialism, phenomenology, hermeneutics, and analytic clinical theory, existential-analysis is a depth psychotherapy that analyzes and describes a person's being-in-the-world, helping develop a deeper awareness of choice, freedom, responsibility, and authenticity.  Gestalt therapy and experiential therapy both grew out of the existential-phenomenological approach.  The theorists important to my work have been R.D. Laing, Fritz Perls, Stolorow & Atwood, and D.B. Stern.

  • Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy: based in psychoanalytic theory and principles, psychoanalytic psychotherapy is a treatment modality that is, in many ways, quite similar to psychoanalysis, although more flexibly applied to the needs of the patient.  I am informed by infant observation, object relations theory, and intersubjective theory. The theorists important to my work have been Balint, Winnicott, Bion, Kohut, Mitchell, and Lacan.

  • Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy: AEDP is an empirically supported, transformative psychodynamic therapy model that helps heal PTSD and dissociation associated with early life or chronic trauma.  It also emphasizes the importance of processing positive emotional and relational experiences thereby activating their healing potential, and mobilizing changes in the brain.

Ancillary Therapies

  • Psychedelic-assisted Psychotherapy: an evidence-based protocol of treatment, where the use of psychedelics, combined with integrative psychotherapy, allows the person's inner healing intelligence to emerge and act as a guide to a more fulfilling life.

  • Gendlin's Focusing techniques: a process for exploring the body-mind experience that elucidates new experience and meaning.

  • Motivational Interviewing: a dialogue technique designed to help people reach their goals, motivated by the reasons that speak to them; great for overcoming chemical and process addictions.

  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy: a cognitive-behavioral therapy approach that is in part a blending of psychology and Zen Buddhist wisdom. 

  • EMDR: Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing helps the mind reprocess trauma, deactivating its distressing charge, and allowing the mind to reach new insights that are internally generated.

Couples & Group Work

  • Balint Group: a Balint Group is a case consultation model, from the psychoanalytic tradition, for health care providers to deepen their understanding of the clinician-patient relationship.

  • Emotionally Focused Therapy: based in science and research, emotionally focused therapy is an effective technique for couples seeking deeper intimacy.

  • Speaking from the Heart Group: as taught by Karuna Training, a contemplative psychological approach to group work, based in maitri ("friendly") space awareness, that promotes opening to intelligent space through deep "listening-with-the-heart" to others "speaking-their-truth-from-their-heart."

  • Nonviolent Communication: a communication and mediation tool developed by Marshall Rosenberg.

  • Gestalt Group Therapy: Gestalt is an existential and experiential psychotherapy method that focuses on present-moment experience and the contextual process of self-regulation. 

Mindfulness & Buddhism


As a meditation instructor, the contemplation of emptiness written about in the Heart Sutra, and the meditative experience of the jhānas, are central to my practice.  I have had training and practice in:

  • Contemplative Psychology: as taught by Karuna Training, based in Tibetan Mahayana Buddhist principles and contemplative practices, the practice helps us develop our brilliant sanity, and our compassion for self and others.  

  • Abhidharma: a phenomenological examination of mental events growing out of the Buddhist meditative and contemplative tradition.

  • Mindfulness meditation (Samatha-vipassana): for developing moment-to-moment awareness, useful for choosing new directions in life. As the Buddha taught in the Anapanasati Sutta, from awareness of the breathing body grows awareness of feelings and emotions. From awareness of feelings, grows awareness of the thinking mind. From awareness of the thinking mind grows wisdom, liberation from suffering, and joyful peace.

  • The Four Immeasurables meditations (Brahmaviharas): for increasing positive emotion, happiness, kindness, compassion, joy, forgiveness, equanimity, and deep peace. This set of meditations is said to give the practitioner the blessings of being beloved of fellow humans and animals, protection from harm inflicted by others, beauty, pleasant dreams, and a peaceful mind.

  • Tonglen meditation: as taught by Pema Chödrön, this meditation is about exchanging self and other.  The practice uses compassion and unconditional loving-kindness to allow pain, suffering, and stuckness to soften our hearts and open us to our potential for empathy and freedom. Tonglen helps make our unavoidable sufferings meaningful, and offers a vision for transforming the world.

  • Five Wisdom Buddha Mandala: from the teachings of Trungpa Rinpoche through Karuna Training, this wisdom teaching helps transform neurosis into wisdom, and moves the mind from dual to non-dual space awareness. The Five Wisdom Buddha Mandala teaches how to work with the energies in the moment, as something arises into the spaciousness of the mind.

  • Feeding Your Demons: as taught by Lama Tsultrim Allione through Kapala Training, based in the Tibetan Vajrayana shamanistic practice of Chöd, as well as Gestalt and Jungian therapy, the practice helps us to face our demons and transform them into allies.

  • Shinrin-Yoku: the healing Japanese-inspired practice of forest bathing.  A slow walk through the woods, breathing in the forest's aromatic medicinal exhalations, brings deep connection to the earth and many health benefits.

  • The Examen: a Jesuit reflection practice of examining periods of consciousness, seeking clarity about one's experience of conscience and gratitude.

bottom of page