About Gillian

your nervous system focuses on defending you

My approach is to get you access to as much of your brain as we possibly can.  When agitation, uncertainty, anxiety or fear are present, your brain focuses on defending you and blocks access to functions like learning, perspective-taking, curiosity and resourcefulness.  I think of these as the luxurious brain functions which we know you need to thrive, but which you can’t access if feeling a lot of worry, shame, grief, or despair. 

My aim in therapy is to help you access a grounded, nourishing connection to yourself, the world and others to free up your brain’s bandwidth.  From this place mood tends to lift, thinking tends to clear, and it becomes much easier to choose and change the patterns of life. 

sessions may include laughter

Humor has always been central to how I see and move through the world.  I am a certified silly goose and have years of experience tormenting audiences with improv and standup comedy attempts. Honestly, humor is probably my number one therapeutic strategy! So that may be helpful to know before we get started, as while I do intend to temper jokes with depth and care, this approach still may not be a fit for everyone.

Private Clinical Therapy Practice

I am a therapist in private practice based in Portland, Oregon. This work allows me to use modalities including individual therapy, IFS (internal family systems), play therapy, family therapy, meditation and mindfulness-based approaches to help adults, children and families experiencing autism, ADHD, anxiety, mood disorders, and trauma. In my private therapy practice I help kids and teens, adults, couples and families, and creative thinkers and performers. 

Kids & Teens

It has never been easy to get through childhood or adolescence.  The world we live in today presents particular challenges and I seek to help kids and teens understand and express their emotional needs in healthy ways.  Symptoms young people develop can look or feel alarming however they usually boil down to seeking belonging, comfort or autonomy in ways that may not be working.  Click here (children) and here (teens)  to read more about my approach to treating children and teens. 


I tend to work well with adults who have already done a lot of therapy and have hit a new roadblock, as well as with folks who are new to therapy and wondering how it can help them.  I pay particular attention to systemic and societal factors and the chronic stress and fear these create, including those impacting neurodivergent, queer and BIPOC individuals.  Wherever you are at, my job will be to help you find and shift some of the patterns that may hold you back from the fullest expression of yourself. Click here (individual therapy) to read more about my approach to treating adults individually.

Couples And Families

I work with all kinds of couples and families to help uncover and move toward the truest and most beautiful expression of the relationships between people, whether the form and structure of that relationship changes or stays the same.  My job when in the room with multiple clients at once is to balance my attention and attunement evenly, helping everyone to feel safe and understood while also helping to bring central questions and challenges in the relationship to the forefront to be worked with. Click here (couples counseling) and here (family counseling) to read more about my approach to treating relationships.

Creative Thinkers & Performers

If you are drawn to creating or performing but struggle with the mundane tasks of daily living, I may be the therapist for you!  I have lived much of my own life in creative or performance spaces, and I love helping deep thinking and feeling folks clear blocks to their goals, work with sensitivity, and change anxious or shame-based patterns.  Click here (artists and performers) to read more.

Clinical Experience

I have worked with children, adults and families across the country for over 15 years, with the mission of understanding and addressing our human need for attachment, connection, and effective communication.  This is how I seek to help individuals, family systems, school systems, and larger organizations function with authenticity and joy.

Over the course of my career I have practiced in a wide range of settings including counseling centers, research hospitals, public and therapeutic schools and psychiatric inpatient facilities.  Clinical areas of focus started with child psychology, autism and eating disorders, ultimately broadening to include anxiety, trauma and identity across the lifespan.  I did my dissertation on mindfulness and have a special interest in mindfulness practices. 

Educational Consulting & Teacher Retention

If you are looking for deep yet accessible professional development to help with programming and staff retention in your school system, I can help!  I provide targeted consultation, intervention and training to help to solve your toughest school challenges, be they at the level of administration, staff or students.   I am a national speaker and offer frequent workshops and training on the impact of fear on school systems, social and emotional learning, psychologically safe work cultures, and emotional intelligence. 

I teach multiple graduate courses tailored to individuals in the education field to develop their skills in the areas of trauma and resiliency, mindfulness-based approaches, and the development of increasingly socially-just community cultures.  

I am often hired by school districts and other large organizations to enact systems-change in the direction of sustainable school culture, trauma-responsiveness, fostering resiliency and equity.  I run extensive Reflective Practice groups to help educators stay rooted in inspiration and meaning to lift the burden of burnout.  Click here (school consulting) for more information.

Outside of Work

I love to spend time with my family (I have one young kiddo) and friends in Portland, Oregon looking for the best donuts and the best waterfalls. I usually have some new creative pursuit.  I was once a semifinalist in a very small standup comedy contest, and years before that performed all over NYC singing and tambourining my heart out with a four-piece rock band.  I am currently learning the drum set much to the dismay of those around me!

Areas of Interest



Mindfulness and Somatic




Artists and Performers

Family and Couples Therapy

Internal Family Systems Therapy

Systemic and Societal Causes of Mental Illness

Social Model of Disability

Dignity and Justice for All

LGBTQ affirming counselor

Please Reach Out

I’d love to learn how I can support you! I’m available for in-person and virtual events.