About Duncan Counseling Services – Mental Health Counseling
About Duncan Counseling Services
My core belief is that all human beings are magnificent, and have amazing gifts, regardless of disability, past traumas, or mental health challenges. I believe that all people have the right to a satisfying life, and I take this belief into the therapy session. All those with whom I have the privilege to work are treated gently and respectfully, with a focus on strengths rather than weaknesses.
My love of psychology began early in life, and I earned my Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Washington in 1980. My counseling career follows a twenty-year career in human resources, during which I honed my people-skills and intuition as I recruited candidates for positions and matched them with hiring managers and open positions. This work involved, in addition to a refined knowledge of the jobs and skills required, the ability to understand subtle nuances of managers candidates needs. Relocating new hires and their families required working with them to orient them into their new positions, as well as a new city, schools for the children, opportunities for recreation and other ways to help with the families manage the stress of leaving friends, homes, and cities. During this time, I was raising two daughters of my own, and well-understood the needs of children and their parents.
In 2002, I decided to listen to the voice of my heart and use my counseling and people skills as a mental health counselor. I began working on my Master’s degree in Psychology at Antioch University Seattle. In early 2003, I began my mental health counseling career as a vocational counselor in a private psychology practice which specializes in developmental disabilities. There, I worked with many individuals on the autism spectrum. Other professional positions while I attended graduate school included addiction counseling for a smoking-cessation program, and grief counseling as a volunteer for four years at Evergreen Hospice in Kirkland, WA.
Soon after graduating from Antioch University Seattle with my Master’s degree in Psychology/Mental Health Counseling in 2005, I opened my private practice. I continued in my work with individuals on the autism spectrum, and also included working with people with mood disorders, grief and loss, anxiety, and career counseling. I also worked part-time in a nursing home, counseling the geriatric population. My elderly clients were dealing with many issues, ranging from anxiety, depression and other mood disorders, to grieving losses.
With continued training and supervision, I earned the designation of a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in 2007. Seeing how often clients were suffering from the effects of traumatic memories and PTSD, I took training in 2010 in EMDR, an effective, evidence-based treatment for healing traumatic memories. In 2011, I underwent an intensive, week-long training with Dr.Laurel Parnell, a well-known expert in the theory and use of EMDR. A follow-up five-day training with Dr. Parnell, as well as consulting and work with clients resulted in completing my “Level I and II” training. I continued with my training and consulting to earn my “Certified EMDR Therapist” designation.I am now using EMDR on a regular basis to treat clients with a variety of issues, including PTSD, chronic pain, anxiety, phobias, depression, eating disorders, addictions and cravings, and more.
I have been involved in EMDRIA, the international EMDR association. I took on the role of NW Regional Coordinator for three years, to help my local EMDR therapists have local trainings, and for me to continue with my own EMDR training. Through EMDRIA, I have continued to take trainings which has enhanced my skill and ability to apply EMDR therapy to a wide variety of issues. This has allowed me to use the therapy to help a broad range of people, from those with classic recent trauma, to complex trauma, to complex trauma, as well as addictions and cravings, dysfuctional beliefs, desire to stop bad habits, phobias and so much more.
Today, I continue in my practice on a full-time basis. Working with, and helping, my clients is a great joy to me. I know what it feels like to be doing one’s “right” work.