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“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It's a relationship between equals... Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.”
- Pema Chödrön
Hi. I'm River. I use they/them pronouns.
I value equity, consent and boundaries in the therapeutic relationship and am committed to creating an anti-oppressive space that is safe(r) - especially for people who are made marginalized. As a white person, I'm committed to challenging white supremacy, both internally and externally, and anti-racism work will be my life-long practice. I also aim to unlearn and disrupt my own internalized oppressions.
My approach to therapy is both collaborative and holistic, centering around values of embodied presence, empathy, connection and deep listening. I’m not here to change you or fix you. In fact, I don’t think you are “broken” or that there's anything "wrong" with you. I’m here to create a nonjudgmental, accepting space for you to connect more compassionately with yourself.
I’m trauma-sensitive, social justice-informed, and view therapy through an intersectional lens (bodymind, environment, culture, etc.). During our time together, we’ll likely look at the environmental factors (interpersonal, economic, systemic oppression, etc.) that create, and contribute to, individual/collective stress and trauma.
My approach is inspired by Internal Family Systems and Polyvagal Theory. I view both through a neurodivergence-affirming lens. I have my own IFS therapist that I meet with regularily and participate in a monthly IFS group for late-discovered Autistics.
I believe the therapeutic relationship is an important aspect of therapy. I put this belief into practice by: prioritizing self-care when I'm not in session and limiting client scheduling on a daily/weekly basis so that I'm able to show up fully for your sessions and be completely present with you.
I fell in love with meditation and mindfulness many years ago and have been practicing ever since. My offerings are infused with the transformative and healing qualities of mindfulness-based practices, bolstered by recent research and grounded in years of practice.
All meditation + mindfulness offered in session is neurodivergence-inclusive
Before beginning my private practice, I provided counseling and advocacy at a domestic violence center and have also worked in hospice care, supporting individuals and their families through the process of loss and grief.
Over the past 15+ years, I've met with people who have experienced (or are experiencing):
loss and grief
difficult or unexpected life transitions
anxiety/grief related to climate collapse
burnout and Autistic burnout
challenges with self worth
Above all else, I value lived experience - yours and mine. I'm insatiably curious and a life-longer learner who seeks to listen to and learn from the voices often left out of research, expensive trainings and academia. While "professional" trainings inform some my approach, I'm always listening to the wisdom of lived experience and exploring how I can make my practice (more) anti-colonial/anti-oppressive.
I provide an Autistic-affirming perspective in therapy and believe Autism is a genetically-based neurotype, not a medical disorder. "I understand being autistic to be a cultural identity and recognize #actuallyautistic people as experts on their own culture." (quote from Janae Elisabeth, Trauma Geek)
It's not possible to list all of the trainings I've attended in the past 15+ years, but here are a few:
MSW & Licensed Clinical Social Worker (FL, SW10050, NC C011278)
IFS Online Circle: Foundations of the IFS Model currently enrolled in this 6 month course
IFS Institute Annual 3 day Conference 2022
Treating Complex Trauma with Internal Family Systems 2 day Intensive with Frank Anderson, MD
Internal Family Systems and Complex Trauma and PTSD Master Class with Dick Schwartz
Working with Autistic Clients Dr. Nick Walker
The Inside of Autism 7 week course with Kieran Rose, The Autistic Advocate
Understanding Autism through the Actually Autistic Lens 3 day training through Penn State University
Unpacking ADHD Stereotypes webinar with Sonny Jane, Lived Experience Counsellor
Unpacking Autistic Myths and Misconceptions webinar with Sonny Jane, Lived Experience Counsellor
DARe (Dynamic Attachment Repatterning Experience)
"The foundation of Diane Poole Heller’s teachings rests on her firm belief that we are hardwired to heal. Our bodies and our brains are storing memories of early experiences, creating patterns that deeply affect our relationships and our behaviors in adult life. Her holistic approach, largely based on Somatic and Relational healing techniques, helps us discover the source of those patterns and to apply the right understanding to unwind them, thus releasing new energy to live fully and freely in the moment." - quote taken from Diane Poole Heller's website
The Body Keeps the Score 2 day Intensive with Bessel van der Kolk
Kripalu Yoga Teacher 200 hr
I chose to train in the tradition of Kripalu (meaning, "compassion") Yoga because of the emphasis on compassion, self-care, presence over perfection, and mindfulness in motion.
Certified Curvy Yoga Teacher
I became certified in Curvy Yoga because I value offering therapeutic yoga that supports every body, shape, size, and ability.
All of the therapeutic yoga, mindfulness and meditation I offer is with your consent + based on an extensive knowledge of trauma and trauma-sensitive practices. All meditation + mindfulness offered in session is neurodivergence-inclusive.
I come from white settler-colonizers who migrated from Finland, Norway, Sweden, France and Italy. I grew up along the rocky and windswept shore of the Gitchi-Gami (Lake Superior) with working class parents who were married until I was 18 years old.*
When I was 20, after experiencing several traumatic events, I packed my car with clothes, a tent and $200 and intuitively moved west to live in the mountains just outside of Seattle. This was a pivotal time in my life, (re)shaping much of who (and how) I am today.
I value equity and social justice. As a white person, I'm committed to challenging white supremacy, both internally and externally, and anti-racism work will be my life-long practice.
I'm queer and nonbinary (agender).
I've experienced complex trauma and PTSD.
I have a deep and intimate relationship with grief.
I'm Autistic (late discovered) and honor neurodiversity as naturally occurring variants in human neurology. I'm committed to unlearning internalized/externalized forms of ableism.
Writing and creating art began as ways to cope when I was in high school and over the years have become nourishing practices of self-care and personal expression. Spending time in nature is one of the most important ways I care for my overall wellbeing.
After living in North Central Florida for many years, I'm currently in the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina on the occupied stolen land of the ᏣᎳᎫᏪᏘᏱ Tsalaguwetiyi (Cherokee, East) and S’atsoyaha (Yuchi).
*phrasing inspired by Rachael Rice who's "cultural bio" was informed by Desiree Adaway