Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings
infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow,
if they succeed in loving the distance between them
which makes it possible for each to see the other
whole against the sky.
Rainer Maria Rilke.
If you’ve ever wondered how things could be better between you and someone else, then welcome to this community.
My work, web site and writings are dedicated to exploring and improving how we get along with one another.
After twelve plus years working as a Marriage & Family Therapist in youth-service-bureau and community mental health settings in Washington State, and a decade enjoying a change of pace as a Life Coach / facilitator / teacher in Idaho and Mexico, and most recently two years as a Relationship Therapist with couples & families in New Zealand, I’m excited to bring these skills together as a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist here in Boise, Idaho.
You’ll find in me a warm, discerning and skilled professional dedicated to helping you to become the person you want to be, so you can cultivate the relationships you want to have.
If you treat an individual as he is, he will remain how he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
- To learn more about me as a person, click HERE
- To learn more about my new Pre-Marital Preparation Program, click HERE
- To read, follow or search topics on my Blog, click HERE
- To see how to reach me, and learn about fees and forms, click HERE
- To read what some clients have kindly said about me, click HERE
- To see who has influenced my work, and to discover some great resources, click HERE
Credentials and Affiliations
- Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Idaho LMFT 5704
- Clinical Fellow, American Association of Marriage & Family Therapists (AAMFT)
- Past Chair, Idaho Association for Marriage & Family Therapists (a geographic interest network component program of AAMFT)
- Past President, Idaho Association for Marriage & Family Therapy (IDAMFT)
- Past Chair, IDAMFT Committee for Public Policy and Legislation
- Certified Life Coach, Levels I, II & III, Coach for Life
- 2014 Internal Family Systems (IFS) Level I as a student (2013) and again as a Program Assistant (2014).
- 2015 Intimacy From the Inside Out, an IFS Level II Training for deepening this work with couples.
- 2015 Prepare/Enrich Facilitator for exploring & enriching relationships.
- 2015 Gottman Certified Trainer with The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work
- 1989-91 Two years Post Masters Marriage & Family Therapy Training, Presbyterian Counseling Services, Accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education 5/1986 – 7/2001. Now the Samaritan Center of Puget Sound.
- 1989 MA, Existential Psychology, Seattle University, USA
- 1979 BA, Cross Cultural Anthropology, University of Sussex, UK
I still have a sweet spot for anything that connects me with other cultures and in that spirit, here’s a wonderful international musical collaboration for you to enjoy.
On-going Training & Interests
- 2018 Initiated and Chair the new Idaho Geographic Interest Network – as a program component of AAMFT.
- 2016 Expanding my NEW Pre-Marital Preparation Program
- 2016 On-going promotion of the profession of Marriage and Family Therapy.
About My Work
There’s never been a better time to master the art and science of great relationships. There are some wonderfully effective, respectful, compassionate and well-researched methods for how to get relationships right, and how to mend them when they’re vulnerable. The key to both cultivating and maintaining great relationships is the same thing, and it is this focus which lies at the heart of all I do.
- Question: What IS the key to cultivating & maintaining great relationships?
- Answer: Cultivating awareness and compassion.
AWARENESS: because there is so much going on in any given moment within you and between you and other people. Most of us slip along reacting and on auto-pilot. Have you ever noticed this? Maybe your partner does or says what he/she always does or says and it drives you instantly crazy. It’s as if they have access to a switch inside of you. They do X and BOOM! You feel / say / think Y. That’s reactivity at work. For relationships to be great at least one partner needs to stop reacting, and respond thoughtfully. So, step one is learning how to become aware of what is happening in the moment right as you are living that moment. And this isn’t easy!
COMPASSION: because we’re all flawed and wounded bumblers and it helps when we are loving and kind far far more than when we are angry and judgmental. Towards ourselves and our inner family of Parts first, and then toward other people.
One of the most innovative and well-researched new models of therapy is INTERNAL FAMILY SYSTEMS (IFS). Developed by Richard Schwartz, PhD, this model recognizes and validates what you may have noticed all along: That you can feel and behave very differently depending upon the context. With one person you may feel assertive and with another, meek; in one context you’re consumed by self-criticism and in another you’re loud and obnoxious; with this person you feel guarded and unsure while with that one, you feel safe enough to pour out your soul. And then – sometimes – like a beam of sun breaking through the clouds, you experience a place of inner calm and compassion in which all is right with the world.
Using IFS is for me, the Royal Road into compassionate awareness as it help you listen to your internal chatter in a way that introduces you to your rich inner family of parts – discrete inner ways of being. This new knowledge about yourself empowers you to recognize your fears, judgments and beliefs more clearly. When you understand why you can be reactive and ineffective at times, you can make genuine changes, from the inside out. And that makes all the difference.
The place in history of Richard Schwartz’s IFS Model and the Multiplicity of the Mind Theory which it validates, is not unlike that of biology before publication of “On The Origin of Species’
John B. Livingstone, M.D., Harvard Medical School, Department of Psychiatry.
And in his own words,
IFS is more than a therapeutic technique. It is a conceptual framework and practice for developing love for ourselves and each other.
Dr. Richard Schwartz
While the heart-beat of my work uses IFS, I am also a fan of Dr. John Gottman’s scientific exploration of what makes marriages work, and of his follow-up research on the connection between emotions and behavior in child-rearing, based upon Dr. Haim Guinott’s wonderful book “Between Parent and Child.”
I have also been deeply influenced by reading the works of, and personally consulting with, Dan Wile, who created Collaborative Couples Therapy. Considered by John Gottman to be the best living couples therapist, he’s a joy to hear from and read. Here‘s a fun exchange I had with Dr. Wile in his blog.
Therapists are exposed to so many great thinkers, tools, modeling and techniques, they all rub off to some extent. Working with me you may find I’m nipping into narrative, solution-focused and / or existentialism and more. But, so far my clients report variations on these two testimonials :
I’m finally the person I’ve always wanted to be. I can’t thank you enough for helping me to become the person I’ve known all along I wanted to become. [AW, Auckland, NZ]
Gemma gave us our individual strength back without blaming one another. We are very happy now and have learned to love ourselves. [LR, Auckland, NZ]
So WELCOME again.
- Photo Image – Gemma Utting. Near Paradise, Mount Rainier, Washington State.
- Poem Image: www.gettyimages.com/