About Val

/Do we "click"?/


Above all, client and counselor have got to click if therapy is to be of any value. That's why I always answer my own phone, so we can get start getting to know each other right away. 


If we feel like we're a good fit, that's great! Let's check our calendars to schedule your next session. But if I sense that I'm not the right therapist for your particular situation, I will be straight with you. And if you don't feel comfortable for any reason, I want to know that too. I promise: no hard feelings. Either way, I have your best interests at heart.


/Muscle Memory: Re-discovering your personal power/


I believe each of us has strengths that we either forgot about, never realized we had, or maybe even misuse. My goal is to help you identify those strengths and use them effectively to cope with whatever challenges brought you to me in the first place.


/That's why we say "working with a therapist"/


It might not feel true for you right now in the midst of your suffering, but discovering those hidden strengths is the easy part. The challenging part is learning to choose to use  those strengths -- instead of doing whatever it is you've been doing that isn't working so great anymore. That's where I come in.


/Therapy doesn't always have to be "no pain, no gain"/


You are the expert and the authority in your own life. I'm the guide and the coach and the cheerleader. Yes, in some sessions there will be tears and rumpled Kleenex, an occasional angry rant, or maybe some uncomfortable moments of silence and numbness. 


At the same time I believe that humor is an important part of the process too. We will chuckle. We will laugh. We will have in-jokes. Believe it or not, learning healthy coping skills doesn't always have to be a painful experience. Yes, I will say it: Sometimes, Personal Growth can be pain-free, even exhilarating.


/What's my story?/


After several years and lots of experience working in agency settings, I decided to go into private practice. 


In addition to my credentials as a licensed mental health counselor, I am a certified clinical hypnotherapist with advanced training in the process. Click HERE for more info on hypno. Hypnotherapy uses deep relaxation to tap into subconscious memory and emotion, leading us to the "source" of thought patterns and behavioral habits that have been disrupting your life. Of course traditional "talk therapy" plays a major role in how I practice. My expertise in hypnotherapy is another tool that, used appropriately, helps you feel better, faster.


I also am certified as a Transgender Care Therapist by the International Transgender Certification Association. I have completed extensive training in working with members of the trans community, and have experience in my private practice with transgender clients and their families. For more information on transgender care (including the process of providing evaluation and "Letters" for individuals who require mental health clearance to undergo gender affirming medical procedure), click HERE.


Fun Fact: Before I became a licensed mental health counselor, I was a journalist. I enjoy writing, which is why I have a blog. The posts are mostly personal stories of lessons learned. Sometimes I write about topics of interest that have something to do with the type of clients I serve. Check out my Psychobabble Blog HERE.


During my two decades as a journalist, I was a reporter for daily newspapers, as well as a freelancer contributing to various lifestyle and trade publications. As a newbie in the field of psychology, I was a columnist for the monthly magazine of the American Counseling Association. The column detailed my trials, tribulations and triumphs as an emerging professional. This column has been used by a number of graduate school professors across the country as a teaching tool.  

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