I’m not sure how you found me or what brought you to my website, but what I know is that my work is on such different ends of the life spectrum that it can be confusing to understand who I am and what I do. I was brought to work in birth and death for two very specific reasons in my life. The first being the birth of my children and the second being the death of my parents. Both were life altering events. And both brought me to where I am today.
Birth and Death are the two things all humans will experience.
Both are profound in their own way. Scroll down to read more specifics about each of my services, or to find out more about me and my philosophy in regards to this human experience we’re all walking our way through.
But…don’t be afraid. If birth isn’t your thing, don’t expect anatomy charts or birth supplies to be prominently displayed in my office. If death isn’t your thing, you won’t find skulls and crossbones in my warm, cozy office either. And once you get to know me, you’ll find I have a sense of humor about both birth and death, as I think everything is easier to handle with a little humor.
Holistic Mental Health Care
We all have wounds that deserve healing.
I hold a strong passion for the human experience. I feel honored any time someone shares with me their life struggles and trusts me to assist them on their path towards healing their emotional wounds. I believe each and every one of us has a story. The ability to be vulnerable and share that story is a beautiful thing and it is a privilege to be witness to the sincerity expressed in each individual story. I do not take my work lightly and I hold space for the vulnerability of each of my clients.
I hold a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Sociology and a Master’s degree in Humanistic Gerontology with core concentrations in Aging and the Family and Geriatric Care Management. I am also a certified ARCH Healer.
I have specialties in working with people struggling during the pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum transition as well as those working with issues surrounding aging, grief and death. I also provide trauma care for people who have experienced, or been witness to, a traumatic event. I specialize in birth trauma and have worked with parents, nurses, midwives, doctors, birth assistants and doulas. I also work with birth professionals who are in need of regular debriefing sessions after various birth experiences.
Although I have the above listed specialties, I work with people who are finding their way through many different issues including (but not limited to):
- general depression and/or anxiety
- past and/or current abuse
- family and marriage difficulties.
I do not believe that any of us needs “fixing”.
I honestly am not even a fan of the word counseling. I prefer my self-made title of Life Transition Mentor, which I think we can all use at various times in life. I believe the most effective mental health care is where each person feels safe to speak their mind and share stories, even those they may never have shared before. I like my clients to be able to feel all that needs to be felt and to have a trusted individual validate those thoughts and feelings and perhaps shine a light or two on a path, or paths, that may not have previously been visible.
Because I believe in the mind/body connection and holistic healing, I also believe in many non-traditional or what might be deemed “alternative” modalities such an energy healing, gemstones, crystals, herbs and aromatherapy. Additionally, I have a strong belief system in how dietary changes and supplements can enhance mental health. I encourage clients to work with their medical care providers to assist them with supplementation and dietary changes.
Ultimately, my goal is to work with each client as a team to achieve the healing they are seeking.
I have offices in both Tacoma and Port Orchard. They are both casual, warm and inviting. Coffee, tea and water are always available and there are an abundance of throw pillows which can be held, punched or thrown as the mood strikes. Kick off your shoes and get comfortable; you get to decide exactly where, and how, you feel most comfortable as this journey is about YOU!
Supporting the dying and their loved ones through the death process
Death midwifery is as old as time. I believe it is one of the deepest of callings.
It was not all that long ago when human beings were born and died at home. Support and care for both transitions was provided by family and friends. Over the past century, both birth and death have transitioned to more medicalized events, often taking place in a hospital. However, movements have taken place to bring both events back into the comfort of one's home.
The work of a death midwife is not medically oriented, instead it is work that comes from, and is given to, the heart. Death midwives work alongside other professionals such as nurses or funeral directors, they do not replace them or duplicate their work. Death midwives work in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, assisted living communities, and home environments.
Careers in death and dying have expanded greatly as more and more people become interested in the idea of handling death the way they choose. Because of this developing industry, many different terminologies have been used to describe similar, although sometimes uniquely different, roles. The National Home Funeral Alliance (NHFA) has done a wonderful job of defining these different roles. Click HERE to go to the NHFA website to read up on the Definition of our Roles.
I hold a certification in death midwifery, however, depending on the roles I am taking on for each particular family, I also find myself as an End of Life Guide, a Home Funeral Guide and a Celebrant (I am ordained through the Universal Life Church).
My services are tailored to each person/family's needs, and can include:
- Pre-death support and counseling.
- Assistance with death planning and paperwork.
- Providing information and resources in regards to standard funerals and burials/cremation, as well as green and home funerals.
- Loving support and assistance during the process of death and afterwards.
- Assisting with whatever choices the family has made in regards to preparing the body for viewing and then burial or cremation.
- Performing non-denominational funeral/memorial services.
- Bereavement support for grieving family and friends.
I have a strong passion for death and dying and am a vocal supporter for each person having the choice (if possible) to die how they choose, and to plan their own memorial services/funerals, as well as what will be done with their body once it is no longer needed on this earth. I am an advocate for people whether they desire a traditional funeral, a much more eclectic celebration of life, or anything in between. I also feel strongly about planning for the end of one's life, completing necessary paperwork, and answering the important questions so loved ones don't find themselves in the unenviable position of having to make decisions for a loved one who has died, or can no longer speak for themselves.
Death is inevitable for all of us. I aspire to bring death back into the conversation of life. It doesn't have to be sad and uncomfortable. In fact, truly facing death, preparing for it, and understanding its presence in our lives, can make it significantly less scary. Whether you, or a family member, is facing a terminal illness or you are simply looking to start a conversation about planning for your death (no matter how old you are!), I'd love to have the conversation with you!
Aging & Dying Advocacy
Helping families find peace.
My education and my own personal life experience caring for my own parents offers me a unique understanding for which to provide aging and dying advocacy services.
With a Masters in Gerontology and a certification as a Death Midwife, I feel strongly that one of my roles is to advocate for our older population and for those who are dying (at any age). Picture this common scene: an Intensive Care Unit in a hospital, there is a dying family member - with no hope of recovery - and a suffering family, wanting every last treatment possible performed on their loved one. The frequent disagreements between family members can make the situation even more difficult to handle.
I am available as a non-biased individual, with a background in aging and death, to sit with a family and mediate or discuss these types of situations. I am able to come with an open heart and an understanding for each person’s individual feelings and position.
In an effort to avoid these types of situations, I highly encourage every person to put together their paperwork which details how they would like situations such as these to be handled. It is such a gift for the family to know what their loved one desired and provides such a relief of burden of having to make difficult decisions for someone they love who can no longer speak for themselves. However, if this paperwork does not exist and family members need support and/or advocacy or mediation, I can arrive at the hospital or a neutral location to work with the family to process through the tough decisions they need to make.
I have two goals here: to do what is best for the dying family member, and to make sure that each family member finds some peace in the decisions that need to be made. Then they can move forward through the grieving process without carrying additional guilt.
This is generally an on-call service. My goal is to be able to meet with the family as quickly as possible, but I do have to work around my schedule as well. My standard fee is $150 for the first two hours on site (travel of more than 20 miles may incur an additional fee). This covers the on-call fee and rearranging my schedule to join the family. After the first two hours, I charge an hourly rate of $80/hr. I am happy to work with families on payment plans if needed. Families who utilize me as a mediator/advocate also receive a reduced price for bereavement counseling if they so choose.