Trauma Therapy

You are not broken, in need of fixing.

Rather, you are deeply hurt, in need of care.

– Arielle Schwartz, PhD (SHE/HER)
Nonbinary colors in nature

When you don’t have access to the resources you need to be protected, or when a negative event is too overwhelming, you can experience intrusive thoughts, images, feelings and a pattern of avoidance to protect yourself. When these symptoms persist, these symptoms are called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Building trust and creating safety is essential before we get curious about how trauma has affected your thoughts about yourself and other people. This can be challenging when lack of trust has been a coping strategy, but we walk this together, at your own pace. I will teach you skills that help you deal with powerful emotions that can arise before we talk about hard things. Together, we start to build self-compassion as we gather history. We piece together how you have built defenses in order to make it through, and notice patterns that are not serving you anymore. We start to build skills through CBT and brain science that help with emotional regulation and insight. When you are resourced and ready, we may use EMDRLifespan Integration or Flash Technique to process what has happened and help you move forward.


Trauma & Dissociation

Experiencing multiple traumatic events over time, like when having an unpredictable, inconsistent parent you can’t rely on, or an abusive or neglectful caregiver, you can experience Complex PTSD and dissociation. Within our safe relationship, we slowly help you distinguish between the emotional flashbacks of the past, and your present experience. We will take time to understand parts of you that react in an angry way, parts of you that feel shame, and parts of you that feel young, for example.  Memory difficulties are common with Complex PTSD. In some situations, dissociation and memory difficulty may include loss of time, and parts of you may have their own memories and personalities. We work on increasing communication within your own self system to increase functioning and safety. Slowly. Together.

The simplest way of defining trauma is that it’s an experience

we have that overwhelms our capacity to cope.

– Daniel Siegel, MD  (He/Him)

I have deep respect for all backgrounds, genders, races, perspectives, orientations, religious and nonreligious beliefs.


Education & Training

B.S. in Psychology, the University of California, San Diego, 1990

M.S.W., the University of Washington, 1994, with a focus on mental health

Advanced Mentorship and Consultation with Lisette Lahana, LICSW, and WPATH GEI foundation and advanced mental health courses toward WPATH certification anticipated 2022

Advanced Training in Affirmative Therapy for Transgender Communities, Widener University -A year long post graduate certificate program of 27 credit hours of training and consultation.

Professional and Family portions of Gender Odyssey Conference from 2016 to 2019

WPATH member since 2018 with Global Education Institute (GEI) courses completed. 2022 Montreal Conference attended with focus on SOC 8.

EMDR certification, 2021

Lifespan Integration Trauma Protocol Levels I, II, III, 2018

Washington State Licensed Independent Social Worker (LICSW)



I have worked with adults and adolescents for over 25 years.  My clinical internship was completed at Harborview Sexual Assault Center.  I have worked in research, school based therapeutic treatment programs, community mental health,  and hospital settings with a focus on crisis intervention, mental health evaluations, pregnancy, miscarriage, post partum depression, and chronic illness.  As a hospice social worker, I supported patients and their families through end of life and bereavement.  It has been my absolute privilege to have a private practice dedicated to gender expansive and questioning people and their families since 2017, with a subspecialty in trauma.



You need a safe environment to build trust, and share sensitive issues.  I use a compassionate, strength based approach, and think in terms of life development while working together.  I use evidence based practice, including CBT and Mindfulness, to look at how your thoughts, feelings and behavior are related, when helping you solve problems.  I use EMDR and lifespan integration to treat trauma and improve mental health. To engage people in life changing therapy, I also help explore how survival strategies and relationship patterns learned early in life cause current stress, emotional pain and “stuck points”.  I hope to empower you to find your voice, experience meaningful relationships and create a life where you feel supported and at your best.


Contact Cheryl