I was always a sensitive child. I enjoyed learning about and interacting with others, and I was naturally drawn to studying social work and psychology in college. Working as a sexual assault counselor in domestic violence shelters, juvenile detention facilities and, even more so as a Child Protective Services Worker, I realized that I really should know much more than I did to be doing work that had such a strong, powerful effect on the lives of others. I was teaching parenting skills and making recommendations to the Courts regarding issues such as whether children should remain in the care of their parents or whether their rights should be severed. I had never changed a diaper or taken care of a single child, yet the Courts were following my recommendations and parents were to be doing what I taught them. These were much too large and life changing of decisions to be left to someone who didn’t really have the knowledge or understanding that was really needed.
Unfortunately, graduate school did not give any better understanding, knowledge or skills than I had before. I worked as a Mobile Therapist and Behavioral Consultant, as well as a School Social Worker, quickly realizing that the behavioral interventions predominantly taught while growing up and in school did not work very well. Trying to get kids to have the behaviors we all wanted by giving them rewards for behaviors we liked and consequences for those we did not did not seem to create what I thought of as an emotionally healthy child. And some children, I noticed, become even more oppositional and exhibited even more severe behaviors. These interventions certainly did not create the kind of connection between parents and children that provided a secure base or a parent's ability to guide their child.
It was only when I was expecting my own child that I became really invested in independently learning everything I could about what creates an emotionally healthy human being. I knew from working with children and families as a Children and Youth Worker what could happen if things didn’t go well. But, I wasn’t sure what was actually needed for kids to become the secure, self-confident, flexible and motivated people who become adults who lead happy, content motivated, meaningful and productive lives. I did know that wanted to have a really good relationship with my children. I wanted to have the kind of relationship with them in which I could support and guide them through life. I felt like relationships didn’t have to be so contentious between kids and parents.
I immersed myself—as a detective would—to really understand these issues, and I found that creating secure attachment was the key and foundation of one’s emotional health and well-being. I learned everything I could about how to create that secure base from in-utero on. I was feeling confident until my baby turned into a toddler and started having a will of her own. I reverted to what I knew: Time Out - 1 minute for every year old that the child was. I found I had to practically wrestle with my child to get her to do this. It was a disaster. It didn’t work and left me feeling very disconnected from my child. Fortunately, soon after that I began attending conferences and reading book after book on child development, attachment, trauma, severe behaviors and the brain, which gave me a whole new understanding from which to be with and respond to both my child and in my work as a therapist. Many helping agencies, I have found, are not often providing services based on actual scientific knowledge, but practicing based on doing what has always been done. They mostly work with families based on a behavioral model, which I found very ineffective and, in fact, disconnecting. And as I have said, made things even worse in some situations. I decided that I would start my own private practice so that I could work with families in the way I wanted, based on everything I was learning.
I feel excited and proud to be providing my clients with relationally-based, trauma informed and evidence-based services that produce the change and growth that empowers them to create the life that they really want!
Trauma impacts one’s life in such a detrimental manner, derails our security in the world and is often the root cause of fear, depression and anxiety. I have spent the last 15 plus years researching, training, learning about, gaining understanding and using the most effective models of treatment for both adults and children struggling with trauma of every sort including:
Early and/or unresolved attachment (relational trauma)
One time and shock trauma throughout the lifespan
Most recently, I have delved into learning about and understanding the issues that arise from high conflict divorce by attending trainings and avidly reading on the subject. I have researched the most effective treatment models to address these issues, as well as develop my own models. Having a strong background in attachment, trauma and child development, as well as an understanding of personality disorders is a huge asset in working with families who are struggling through divorce.
I provide treatment and consultation to support and augment healthy, secure attachment and bonding within the family, as well as the treatment of children and adults who have developed attachment challenges and/or who’s relationships are being impacted and challenged by the effects of trauma. My specialized treatment services assist families of children with the most severe behaviors, including those related to attachment, anxiety and trauma; couples who seek to repair or restore their relationships and; adults who seek to heal early attachment, trauma and loss related issues that interfere with their current relationships, happiness and satisfaction in their lives; and, most recently, with high conflict divorce issues that impact children’s relationship with their parents, including reunification, when appropriate.
I specialize in providing attachment and trauma-informed treatments. I work with individuals, couples and families to create healing so that relationships can grow and flourish. I empower my clients to fully give and receive love and experience all the joy that life has to offer. I especially enjoy working with parents to uncover their authentic selves so that they can be the parent they want to be and move from parenting for obedience to parenting for the long-term goal of emotional health. I have extensive training and experience in using EMDR, attachment narrative therapy and other body-mind therapies.
Pam is a Licensed Social Worker (LSW) specializing in attachment and bonding, parent-child relationships and the treatment of stress, trauma and severe behavioral disorders. Pam has over 20 years experience working within the mental health, child welfare and school systems, as well as in the field of pre and peri-natal psychology. She has received intensive and extensive training in trauma and attachment informed therapies. Pam is also EMDR trained. Pam is using a “Conscious Parenting” paradigm in raising beautiful daughter, Makaela, 13-years-old and son, Tyson, 7, both born at home.