Who I Am

Photo credit Kristy Ryner

Hello! I'm Kelsey. Psychotherapist, doula, writer, musician, reader, yoga practitioner, runner, mother, partner, and fellow traveler on this lifelong journey of learning and growing. I received my undergraduate training in Social Work, followed by a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Minnesota. Read on to learn more about what I do and what influences my work.

Practices: What I Do

  • Psychotherapy: with individuals, couples, and families across life's spectrums

  • Birth Work: Doula and Birthing from Within mentoring

  • The Daring Way: workshops and groups, based on the work of Brene Brown

Influences: How I Do What I Do

My practice is primarily influenced by the following lenses. Click on the links to learn more about each approach.

Philosophy and Values: Why Water of Life

In the ancient tale of the Descent of Innana, it is said that in her hour of great pain, Innana's allies show up to sprinkle her with the food and water of life. She can then arise.

In our hours of great pain, we need both the food and the water of life to get us through. The food of life - the practical matters that keep the body alive - shows up in the meal dropped at your door, the small grant that keeps the heat on, the medicine that keeps your blood sugar or serotonin regulated. The food of life is vital, and we cannot survive without it.

And yet, we do not survive on food alone. Just as important is the water of life - the emotional and spiritual matters that keep the soul alive. The water of life shows up in the friend who can be present with you as you ugly cry, because s/he is not afraid of your dark; the family member who listens intently to your entire birth story, start to finish, no detail spared; the therapist who asks curious questions and believes in your expertise over your own life. The water of life shows up in you showing up for yourself in line with your values, hopes, dreams, and commitments.

In our work together, we address the food of life, because the body and the mind are one; and yet, our area of greatest interest is the water of life - the learning and growth of your mind, heart, and soul.

Elemental to this water of life are the values I hold most precious in my practice: compassion, acceptance, curiosity, nonjudgment, nonattachment to outcomes, personal agency, therapist as influential but decentered, externalizing, mindfulness, social justice, and the fundamental belief that we are all in this together. My ultimate hope is that these values would culminate in your lived experience of a space where you can do the work - eat the food and drink the water - for which you have come here.

Comments: What People Say About Me

Don't just take my word for it! Here are some comments people have shared about our work together:

  • "I always come in here thinking, 'Kelsey will tell me what to do!' But then what happens is you help me find my own voice, and that is so much better.”

  • "I just wanted to drop you a note saying thanks.  In the last year and a half you have helped me work through many obstacles and hurdles in my personal and professional life.  I adore the human approach you take with me and my issues.  I really appreciate your understanding with my schedule and the humor you bring to our sessions.  Also, I really do appreciate your candor.  Without that human element and the candor you bring I may never have stuck with our program."

  • "The spirit of our work together is life changing for me."

  • “I would have detected bullsh*t pretty quickly. The fact that you were honest and I could see it on your face - I knew you weren’t just cold and sterile. I could tell you gave a sh*t, you are a humane person. That built trust, then I started opening up. Then I could actually get to the problems.”

  • "I’m just tearful with how grateful I am for this work. I’ve been in therapy a long, long time, but this is the first time it’s helped me to grow and learn so much. I’m even sharing what I’ve learned with my sponsees and my family, and it’s helping them as well."

  • "I am still pondering our time together and probably always will. I had never felt as present and real with another psychotherapist as I did with you. You communicated a confidence in me that felt genuine and that propelled me to step up and get in there and ask questions and answer them. Your attention to language was powerful too -- asking me what I meant, how I defined terms, helped me to examine beliefs, values, judgments. So thank you, again."

  • “I’m not very accepting of professionals. Being able to distance helps me organize what’s going on, make connections. Traditional therapies were so internal, it didn’t move forward, got stuck in my head. When it’s on the whiteboard, it’s there and taken seriously - you will work on it. Nothing’s missed. It’s making a huge difference. I feel like it’s manageable because it’s been externalized on the board. I remember it because I took a picture. I felt naked walking in here the first time. Now I feel I have a scarf on, but I’m fine with it - no need to cover up, I’m now comfortable being me and inviting the stuff to come with me. I just feel a lot better about things.”

  • "You helped save our daughter's life."

Have feedback or a comment to share? Feel free to send it my way via the Contact tab.

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