The Basic Emotions Cheat Sheet

One topic I find coming up with my clients again and again, especially trans, nonbinary, and neurodiverse clients, is recognizing and interpreting their own emotions. Emotions are an important part of how we function in the world; I like to think of them as alarms or signals, ways to alert yourself to what’s going on in your current environment. Each basic emotion has its own types of situations that trigger it, and its own ways of manifesting in your body, so checking your body for these signals can tell you a lot about what’s going on and give clues on how to deal with it.

To help clients, I created the cheat sheet below, based on Julia B. Colwell’s discussion in The Relationship Skills Workbook, with some additions and alterations of my own. It’s important to remember that no alarm is perfect: a smoke alarm might go off because you burned some food, or it might really be signaling a fire. Either way, when it goes off, it doesn’t make sense either to automatically assume your house is burning down or that it’s nothing to worry about; instead, when the smoke alarm goes off, you check for a fire. The same is true for emotions: trust, but verify.

EmotionUsual Triggers/AssociationsPhysical Sensations
AngerUnfairness, obstacles and intrusionsTightness in neck, jaw, shoulders, lower back
Clenched fists
Headaches
DesireCreativity, attraction, inspirationExpanding warmth in chest, stomach, genitals
FearDangers, threatsStomach discomfort
Agitation
Muscle tension
Rapid pulse
Rapid shallow breathing
HappinessWell-being, fulfillment, satisfactionWarmth
Flow, looseness
Can be anywhere in body
SadnessLoss of something important or hoped-forHeaviness in chest
Tightness in throat
Stinging/prickling/wetness in eyes

First up is anger. This emotion tends to get a bad rap, but it’s actually incredibly important: it’s the alarm that signals either that something unfair is happening, you have encountered an obstacle to your goals, or something is intruding into your space that you don’t want. It usually manifests in the body as tension in or around the shoulders, which can also cause headaches, or tightening of the palms, which often leads to clenched fists.

Desire is often underestimated or neglected as a basic emotion, but it’s a powerful drive. It isn’t just about sex, either—desire can also show up in response to a source of inspiration or be a signal that we’re in a creative mood. It tends to register as warmth in the chest, stomach, or genital area.

Fear is one most people understand pretty well; it signals danger. People can respond to fear in many ways, which I call the Five Fs: Fight the source of fear, Flight away from it to somewhere safe, Freeze and go rigid so you call less attention to yourself, Fawn on the source of fear in hopes of calming them down, and Flop, going limp so injuries will hurt less. Which happens is completely instinctive and can vary from trigger to trigger. Intense fear shows up as an adrenaline rush: your heart rate may increase, your muscles tighten, it may become hard to sit still. Stomach upset is also a common feature, especially when the fear is about an impending or imagined threat rather than one that’s immediately present.

One feeling people have a surprisingly hard time identifying—or maybe trusting—is happiness. Happiness is the “all good” signal, the “alarm” that goes off when we feel safe, satisfied, and fulfilled. It can appear anywhere in the body, and usually shows up as warmth and a sort of loose, flowing feeling. That similarity to desire is no accident—contrary to myths of the tortured artist, most of us are at our most creative when we are feeling good.

Finally there is sadness. Sadness is the alarm that signals loss, of a person or relationship we cared about, or a goal or opportunity we hoped for. It shows up in the body as a heaviness or pressure in the chest and throat, and stinging, prickling, or wetness in the eyes. It’s the feeling most associated with crying, but crying can actually occur in response to any sufficiently intense emotion—I like to think of tears as the body’s way of flushing out an emotion that’s overflowing its container.

Identifying your emotions and the situations that cause them isn’t going to magically make you better at managing them—but it’s the first step, and that’s how every journey starts. May yours lead you to where you want to go.

She/Her
Practice Director, Therapist

Catrin Griffths

I’m an islander in Texas with Welsh and English roots. I am happiest when I am hanging out with my daughter, husband and 3 dogs who are never disappointed to see me.

I am most passionate about creating safe and affirming environments where people can feel comfortable, feel heard and feel seen. This is essential for growth and change. I advocate for vulnerable and disenfranchised groups, including 2SLGBTQIA+ folks. When I am not doing that, I like to read, ride my bike, spend time in the theatre and hang out on the beach. I love music and the arts.

I have a Master’s Degree in Psychology from Sam Houston State University. I have served as a Licensed Professional Counselor for over 25 years. I am also licensed to supervise therapists as they begin their helping journeys. Clinical supervision and teaching are my favorite vocations. I have taught all kinds of subjects from Psychology classes at Junior College, “Lunch and Learns” at large corporations to spin classes at the gym! I have never learned more than when I am teaching.

I am trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Trauma-Informed Treatment, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Motivational Interviewing and more. I believe in a holistic approach. When we want to learn, grow or solve problems we must look at ourselves from all angles. We must consider the well- being of the mind, body and spirit.

I am an experienced mental health professional who has held leadership positions in Operations and Business Development in various behavioral healthcare settings, most recently as a Director at The Menninger Clinic.

Surviving Corporate Culture When You’re Not An Old White Man

If you’re working in a corporate or professional setting that tends to be dominated by white men, there are so many challenges you have to navigate. I can support you in kicking imposter syndrome to the curb, honing your negotiation skills, and resolving conflict in the workplace.

Stressed Out, Working Parents

Parenting these days is no joke! Whether you’re overwhelmed with the “under 5” years and trying to juggle everyone’s needs or trying to figure out what in the world is going on in adolescent universe these days, don’t try to do it alone! I will make you laugh which on some days is therapy in and of itself, but also be on your side as you strive to be the best parent you can be in the midst of these times.

Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

I can help you get a narcissist out of your life (and if that’s not possible learn strategies to minimize the damage). We’ll prioritize your healing, self discovery, and re-building your trust in yourself. And then we’ll work on how to not get involved with another narcissist! We all have core wounds. Some of those may make us susceptible, so let’s address them so you don’t find yourself in a repeat situation.

Open Relationships and Polyamory

I enjoy working with relationships and in particular, helping people who are considering opening their marriage or those who are in polycules and wanting to maintain and improve relationship dynamics. We’ll identify boundaries, communication styles, coping with the challenging aspects while appreciating the expansiveness, and more.

Placement Consultant (Some call it Educational Consultant) For Families of Teens

I work with families to find the best treatment or educational options for the young person in their life who is struggling and needs extra support, whether a higher level of care treatment plan or specialized educational setting or program. I have a lot of knowledge of programs around the country. You’re scared or frustrated and don’t know where to start but I can do a lot of the research for you, even coordinating an admission to a program. I want to help you avoid wasting your time and money or ending up with a placement that’s not a good fit. Let’s talk!

daisy-mitchell

She/Her
LGPC

Daisy Mitchell

I love all things organization, and helping the practice run as smoothly as possible.

Child and Adolescent Therapy:

I have experience providing individual and group therapy to children ages 5 and up. I love the way children and youth are curious about their world and themselves. I’m here to support them in working through various topics and issues and improving their confidence and relationships with others. 

I’m especially passionate about offering gender affirming therapy. This means assisting children, whether cisgender, trans, or gender expansive, in understanding the range of gender identities and ways to express one’s gender that exist and following their lead on whatever their own path to self understanding might be. This looks different for each child and their family. In working with children, I know that I’m also providing support to the families they live in and it’s important to me to share resources and any appropriate referrals as well.

Anxiety Management: 

There are so many real and valid reasons to feel anxious today. Whether it’s climate change anxiety, fear of being targeted based on identity, anxiety in social settings, or general intrusive thoughts and worries, it can really affect our day to day quality of life. I have tools that can help with reducing anxiety so that you feel more able to cope and manage life with it. 

Trauma and Grief Therapy:

My approach is trauma and grief informed. Most of us will have to process trauma or grief or both at various times in life. It can be so hard to figure out how to do that in a society that doesn’t honor those experiences or the healing process much of the time. I use a harm reduction approach to any coping mechanisms that have been causing you difficulty and seek to be alongside you as you find ways to work through your experiences. 

Anti-racist Therapy:

Through my own ongoing process of unlearning racism and working to support Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in liberation movements, I have realized the need for therapy to be a place where white folks can openly discuss where they’re at in their own unlearning process and ask for accountability, as well as folks of color to have a space to be openly honest about their experiences and what limitations might exist when working with a white therapist. In the past, these topics were supposed to “off limits” in therapy settings, but I believe they are important to holistic healing. 

Couples and Relationship Therapy

Relationships are hard and yet many of us are relational beings who desire romantic or sexual partnerships. Not only is it normal to need assistance with stuck places or patterns in relationships, it’s usually necessary to develop further deepness or longevity that may be a goal. We’ll consider attachment styles and histories, emotional awareness and expression, and communication skills together. You and your relationships are worth it!

She/Her
Administrative Manager

Nhi Chau

I love all things organization, and helping the practice run as smoothly as possible.

She/Her
Client Care Coordinator

Shai-Ann Karyo

Shai-Ann is dedicated to ensuring a warm and welcoming experience for each and every client. In her spare time, she enjoys sci-fi thrillers, meditating, hiking, and traveling to new places. She’s looking forward to connecting with you!

They/She
Counselor in training

Soha Ashraf

I prioritize resting, reading, crafting, sewing, baking, and connecting with nature through hiking, gardening, and natural dyeing.

As a Brown, South Asian, Femme with a Muslim upbringing, I am deeply and somatically aware of how harmful systems of oppression are to marginalized peoples and communities. I believe in fighting for liberation through community care, mutual aid, direct action and international solidarity which is reflective in my previous work as a community organizer primarily concerning immigrant rights and around sexual violence.

As a person with Abolitionist politics, my therapy practice centers providing care to folks using trauma-informed, anti-oppressive, anti-racist, and anti-carceral frameworks. Other worlds are possible where we are all free from oppressive structures and my hopes are that I am building a therapy practice that contribute to this future.

I hold a Bachelors degree in Gender Studies with minors in Race and Resistance Studies and Queer Ethnic Studies which influences my therapy practice. I am drawn to modalities of care that considers the sociopolitical and environmental influences on our lives that acknowledge how systems of oppression cause harm.

I am drawn to Feminist therapy because it considers structures of power and emphasizes empowerment, a powerful feeling that can guide thought and behavior. I am also interested in Relational Cultural Therapy as it underscores the importance of connection, fulfilling relationships, and multiculturalism. However, I believe that everyone needs approaches that fit with their goals which we will collaborate on uncovering together. I believe that you are your own expert and I will follow your lead which creates a therapy space that is dictated by your needs and prioritizes your agency. I would describe my therapeutic style as warm, genuine, client centered, and empathetic. One of my main goals is that my clients feel deeply seen, safe, held, witnessed, and understood. I believe the therapeutic space has the potential to be a site of self reflection, healing, relearning, and care.

Carlyn Maia Dale-Miller

She/Her
Therapist Intern

Carlyn Maia Green

I spend my free time with my partners and friends, enjoying their company and a good board game or cooking night every now and then. I also love to read, write poetry, and lie in the grass listening to music as much as possible.

I am currently working towards my master’s degree in Clinical Professional Counseling at Loyola University Maryland and my expected graduation date is December 2023.

My approach: I approach clients with a strength-based and person-centered focus while using the DBT framework to inform strategies to use in and out of session. In our society we often focus on weaknesses, and while I see the importance in bringing about change, I also believe that acceptance is equally if not more important in one’s therapeutic journey. I utilize the DBT framework because I find it is a powerful tool in working towards acceptance and change. I take a trauma focused approach to my work as i recognize many people are facing or have faced traumatic experiences and oppression that may have caused significant distress and oftentimes there are not outlets for support in our daily lives. I want to provide a space for that difficult and crucial work.

I am committed to providing multiculturally competent care and meeting my clients where they are at based on their individual, unique experiences, identity factors, and life stories. I believe that a person needs agency, autonomy, and control to feel safe participating in the therapeutic process. This is especially true as safety is not always accessible to those who are oppressed in our society and may be facing systemic harm. I have a special focus on the 2SLGBTQIA+ population and I commit myself to providing safety, inclusion, and therapeutic rest. I also provide polyamory-affirming care, including relationship therapy. As a queer, polyamorous woman myself, I know how difficult it can be to find providers who affirm these identities. I want to make sure all my clients feel safe and encouraged bringing these parts of themselves to the work we do together.

She/Her
Diversity Trainer and Consultant

Alyssa Fenix

Alyssa is a Black, queer, neurodivergent artist, diversity trainer/consultant, and founder of the “If I Knew Then..” Letters project living in Baltimore with her partner, kids, dog, and plants. Her artistic expression includes photography, wood burning, collage art, and creative writing.

Using her personal and professional experience working in education and mental health settings, Alyssa provides a quality framework for clinicians and educators in supporting LGBTQ+ and neurodivergent youth and young adults through professional development training, policy/climate revisions, and coaching and consultation services.
 
She provides a variety of professional development and training opportunities to health systems, academic institutions, and non-profit organizations about creating safe and supportive spaces and practices for marginalized communities, as well as educational consultative services for families and individuals exploring intersectional identity, with a particular emphasis on LGBTQ+ and disabilities.

They/Them
Transgender Therapist, Founder

Tavi (Tah-vee) Hawn

I’m a Southern lover of books, music, a baby named Waya (Wolf) and a spirit dog named Scully. I’m a co-founder of QORDS, a nonprofit summer camp for queer and transgender youth and youth of LGBTQ+ families. I’m a non-binary, trans, and Two Spirit person with Tsalagi (Cherokee), English, Irish, and West African roots. I experience and express my gender in different ways at different times. My pronouns are gender neutral (they/them). Whenever possible, I like to read, dance, hike in the woods, grow food and medicines, travel, play my drum kit and my hand drum, hug my elders, and eat.

I hold a Master’s Degree in Theological Studies and a Master’s of Social Work from University of Washington in Seattle. Currently, in addition to guiding this practice, I also serve as faculty for the Indian CountryTransgender ECHO project and a consultant with Native American Lifelines. I’m a public speaker on all things related to gender identity and intersectional DEI. I use a framework that affirms gender expansive children, youth, and adults, as well as the Two Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual (LGBTQIA+) communities. The best part of what I do is celebrating growth and witnessing courage as people create the kind of lives and spaces they’ve been hoping for. People say they enjoy laughing with me and that I can be direct in a way that is easy to handle. If you’re looking for a speaker, trainer, or consultant, I’d love to talk with you.

I provide several types of immigration evaluations and offer a short turn-around time to receive your report. Please contact me about pricing and payment plans. People pay me with credit cards, health savings cards, flexible spending cards, and self employed people sometimes write off my expenses as professional services. I have a billing service that handles any insurance issues or claim denials.

If you are of Native descent that can be shown with your family tree, you may be eligible to receive free therapy with me (or other practitioners) through Native American Lifelines. Contact NativeAmerican Lifelines for more information. http://www.nativeamericanlifelines.org.

We are out-of-network with insurance companies for many reasons. You’ll be provided with monthly superbills (special type of receipt) in case you want to submit them to your insurance or FSA account. I’ve listed the billing codes below that you can ask your insurance company about. Most plans with out-of-network benefits pay you back 50%-80% of my rate. Please know that communicating with your insurer and dealing with any reimbursement denials is between you and your insurance company.

Training and Public Speaking: These days, I primarily provide trainings to organizations, businesses, schools, and individual therapists. My goal is to increase access to truly anti-racist, trans-affirming care by providing training, consultation, and supervision to other therapists, educators, and healthcare practitioners. I aim to contribute by improving the quality of care found in a multitude of service locations for Two Spirit, Indigiqueer, and Transgender individuals and families.

He/They
LMSW

Shayne Couch-Murray

I’m a proud Morgan State grad with clinical and macro-level social work. I care deeply about my communities- BIPOC and trans. My experiences working in the public defender’s office, as well as the public school system, inform my training content related to working with LGBTQIA+ individuals involved in the justice system, creating affirming school environments for QTBIPOC children and teens, healing the effects of toxic masculinity in masculine people of color. My clinical experience informs my trainings on writing gender-affirming surgery letters and other trans-related topics. 

LGBTQ+ Teens Ages 16+: Adolescence is not an easy time by any means. There are a lot of aspects of yourself to get to know and understand. Sexuality and gender identity are examples of this. Therapy can be a supportive place to talk about anything without judgment while you’re figuring things out. Maybe you know all parts of yourself well by now and just want to work with somebody who shares some of your identities to process other stuff that’s going on in life.

AFAB Trans Folx: Whether transmasculine, nonbinary, or another gender, trans people who were assigned female at birth have had some similar experiences and can face some specific challenges. I can be part of your care team, your support network, and assist you from a place of firsthand and professional knowledge. Let’s get in and do the work!

She/Her/Hers
Trainer

Selima Jumarali

I am a cisgender, queer, Indo-Caribbean, Muslim femme of color deeply invested in the mental health, healing, and well-being of queer and trans people of color (QTPOC). I use she/her/hers pronouns.

My research focuses on the experiences of therapy when queer people of color have therapists who are also queer people of color. I consider how systems of oppression impact us individually and interpersonally, including in the therapy space. I view therapy as a space for making sense of and coping with an oppressive world while also building resilience and cultivating joy.

I am currently a graduate student in the Clinical-Community Psychology PhD program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. I am passionate about working toward liberation and furthering radical, revolutionary love. In my free time, I love eating Thai food, listening to Bollywood music, and hosting game nights!

They/Them/Theirs
LCSW-C, Trainer

Randall Leonard

Randall Leonard (They/Them/Theirs) is only available for presentations, trainings, workshops, keynotes, and webinars. They are a warm, engaging trainer and public speaker.

Topics that Randall gives trainings and presentations on are: Gender and Sexuality (LGBTQ+, Transgender and Gender Diverse Individuals), Cultural Diversity and Intersectionality, Intimate Subcultures, Under-served Populations, Black Mental Health.

Some of the settings that might want bring one of our trainings in are: schools, faith groups, medical facilities, group therapy practices, community mental health centers, and more.

Randall is a passionate and warm speaker, who has also been featured in a Sephora commercial highlighting gender non-conforming people.

They’ve provided clinical services in various settings such as treatment for people with severe, persistent mental illness, therapy for people living with HIV, Emergency Room crisis care, and LGBTQ+ healthcare.

Please call (443) 843-0360 to inquire about retaining Randall for a speaking engagement.

He/They
Ph.D.

Parker T. Hurley

Parker T. Hurley, Ph.D., is a queer, Black, non-binary, Trans activist and healer justice practitioner based in Durham, NC. Dr. Hurley is available for virtual trainings, presentations, and consultation through Hawn Therapy and Consulting. In the future, he may be available for in person trainings through travel costs will be factored into pricing.

Upon graduating with a Master’s from Hunter College School of Social Work with a concentration of community organizing in May 2006, he has provided advocacy and support within LGBTQQ communities to individuals living with major mental illness, people of color, youth and seniors. Prior to enrolling at University of North Carolina-Greensboro to pursue a doctorate degree in Educational Studies with a concentration in Higher Education in 2009, Parker spent three years as the Member Services/Outreach and Education Coordinator of the Rainbow Heights Club (RHC). Located in Brooklyn, New York, RHC is the only government funded psychosocial and advocacy organization specifically meeting the needs of LGBTQ individuals living with severe mental illness.

He continued this work in North Carolina as the LGBTQ Coordinator at Guilford College and directed The Bayard Rustin Center for LGBTQA Education, Activism and Reconciliation. In addition to being the co-advisor for the local LGBT Youth Group in Greensboro, NC (Youth Safe), Dr. Hurley also had the opportunity to serve nationally as the Deputy Director of the Trans People of Color Coalition, and locally as the co-founder of Queer People of Color Collective based in Greensboro, NC; as well as NC Trans Pride in Action, an annual event lifting up the histories, lives and experiences of trans and gender non-conforming black, indigenous people of color (BIPOC).

Parker currently works at The Radical Healing Center located in Durham, NC as a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) providing therapy, support and psycho education groups that center queer and trans BIPOC. Parker’s work is trauma-informed, person-centered and ever evolving as he trains to incorporate techniques and skills in the tradition of Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Horticultural Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (and eventually Somatic Healing) into his work. Parker’s passions lie within the healing and transformation of our homes, schools and communities through self-care, radical love, building deep connections to nature and working exhaustively at the intersections of all social justice movements.

They/Them/Theirs
Finance Manager

Mara Thomas

Mara (they/them/theirs) is an all-around nerd who loves writing, swimming, gardening, and bookkeeping (honestly). On any given day, their creative, queer Cancerian-ness may take the form of cooking comfort food from scratch, deciding that everything is a precious memento, and writing plays that envision a world free of hierarchy. Mara crunches numbers, pays taxes, and pays staff. 

She/Her or They/Them
LCPC

Kendra Smith

I have over 20 years of experience being a therapist and counselor educator. I have a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling and a PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies. Additionally, I have specialized training and experience in Multichannel Eye Movement Integration, mindfulness, clinical supervision, and distance-based counseling. I am licensed in both DC and Maryland so can see people who live in either of these locations.

When not working, I fill my time with fiber arts, exploring thrift stores, reading, and hanging with my cat and dog. I’m white and non-binary. My pronouns are she/her or they/them.

Culturally Affirmative Therapy with Deaf and Hard of Hearing People: I have extensive experience working with Deaf community and am familiar with Deaf culture. I’m bilingual in English and American Sign Language and one of my joys is assisting Deaf and hard of hearing individuals with life transitions, trauma recovery, and relationship challenges.

Healthy Relationships: One area of interest for me is in assisting people who want to improve their relationships. Whether you want support in parenting, building friendships, improving romantic partnerships, or finding connection with, and as, elders, I’m here to provide encouragement, feedback and support in understanding relationship patterns and styles. We can work on this individually, or in couples or family configurations.

Anxiety and Trauma: Anxiety can show up as worry, repetitive thoughts, irritability, tension, stomach pain or nausea, and a number of other ways. Trauma can manifest as having nightmares, staying alert and on edge, reliving past events, chronic illness or pain, dissociation or numbing, difficulty in various types of relationships, along with other symptoms. It can sometimes feel like there’s no hope for changing these things or living without them. I believe you can find relief from anxiety or trauma responses and am here to offer possibility of a new way of being and concrete healing strategies.

Parents of Trans and Gender Expansive Individuals: Parents usually want to be supportive and affirming but sometimes aren’t sure how. They may want information, resources, or a place to process their own emotions as changes take place. I’m here to help parents adjust and maintain a close relationship with their child.

She/Her/Hers
LMSW

Jennifer Blue

I am a transgender, mostly gay, white woman who is passionate about mental health care for the queer, trans, polyamorous/ENM, and kinky communities.

I’m a graduate of the MSW program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. My hobbies include writing, cooking, nerding out about animation, tabletop roleplaying games, and video games.

What it’s like to work with me: I firmly believe that a caring and supportive therapeutic relationship is the most important part of healing. I prefer an eclectic approach, drawing tools from different sources depending on the needs you express instead of sticking to one theoretical approach, because you are the expert on you.

Trauma Informed Therapy: My primary background is in trauma-informed approaches to cognitive-behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing, as well as some work in parts therapy/IFS, DBT, hypnotherapy, and narrative therapy. I also have experience in crisis counseling. We can discuss which approaches might work best for you and use informed consent in choosing modalities. If you’re especially interested in any IFS, DBT, hypnotherapy, etc please let me know.

Couples and Relationship Therapy: My approach to working with couples and polycules is based on moving past blame and being “right” to responsibility and cooperation. I believe that we heal the world by healing each other and heal each other by healing the world, and view therapy as a tool to accomplish that healing and build the resilience and strength to find and grow the good in this world.

Therapeutic D&D and Gaming: I am also a certified Therapeutic Game Master, and proud to be able to offer therapeutic D&D groups that use gameplay and roleplaying to work on a variety of issues, including social functioning/anxiety, exploring identity, trauma, and phobias. I am also able to bring elements of this approach into individual therapy for interested clients. I am also working to provide groups using other tabletop roleplaying games in the future.

Gender Identity: Whether you’re considering and exploring your own gender identity or expression, or are comfortably situated as gender expansive, trans, nonbinary, or another gender and just want a therapist who has some shared lived experience there, I’d love to work with you.

Ages: Teens and Adults
Supervisor: Tavi Hawn

She/They
LCPC, Gender Therapist

Caroline Hippler

Whenever possible, I spend my time playing with my cats, reading a good book, cooking a new recipe, facilitating plant growth or exploring a found object art project.

As a therapist serving Nonbinary and Transgender clients, as well as 2SLGBTQIA+ populations broadly, I am acutely aware of the systemic, institutional barriers that continue to cause harm in people’s lives and am deeply committed to using my time in this life to improve the lived experiences of queer and transgender people.

I provide empathic client-centered counseling for anyone looking to align their lived experience more closely with their values and identities. Of all the beliefs and commitments that motivate my work, none is more important than the calling to imagine and work toward more just and equitable futures. My work is rooted in an anti-racist, intersectional, anti-oppressive frameworks. I am passionate about empowering people to listen to their own voices and live the lives they want to live. I love talking to people about gender, their identities and how the process of meaning-making impacts their lives. I provide affirming therapy for transgender and gender diverse children, adolescents and adults.

I have 8+ years of experience serving the 2SLGBTQIA+ community as a therapist and have provided training for emerging therapists and other professionals. I am a Nationally Certified Counselor, have a Master’s Degree and Education Specialist degree in Mental Health Counseling with a minor in Human Development and an undergraduate degree in Gender Studies. I have specialized training in mindfulness therapy and distance therapy.

My approach to therapy is eclectic. Every therapeutic relationship is unique and tailored to the needs of the individual. First and foremost I believe that each person is the expert in themselves. I am here to provide guidance on your journey to greater self-knowledge and self-acceptance. Together, we will decide how sessions should look for you. We will work to understand the roots of what you are experiencing and craft skillful approaches for you to take. To do this, we may borrow from several theories including: EMDR, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Existential Theory, Radical Acceptance, and Internal Family Systems Therapy. We will determine together which pieces of these, if any, will help us. Together we will work to achieve two seemingly contradictory tasks: to accept yourself as you are and to work to become more skillful and self-aware.

EMDR: We believe that trauma resides in our bodies. It can manifest in various ways through addictive behaviors, emotional upheaval, even phobias or obsessive thoughts and compulsions. Talk therapy alone is often ineffective to help us move trauma out of our bodies. EMDR is one method that can transform our responses to memories, even those from before we could talk. Caroline is trained in EMDR therapy.