From philosophy to psychotherapy: I have been thinking and writing about human action, motivation, choice, belief, and emotion for over twenty years. I began my working life as a professor of philosophy, teaching primarily in the areas of ethics and the philosophy of religion, and writing about the relation between our values and our beliefs, emotions, choices and actions. However, I became frustrated with the fact that, despite its intricacies and subtleties, philosophical thinking was so far removed from the real emotions and desires that motivate people, especially when they are engaged in irrational and self-defeating patterns.
I realized that my fascination with these issues arose not from pure academic interest, but from compassion for the pain that difficulties with one’s inner life and difficulties with one’s personal relationships can cause us. I found that my quest for understanding was fueled by a desire to help lessen that pain, first in myself, and, later, in others. It is thanks to my own experience of coming to understand the sources and function of my own irrational ways of acting and feeling, and as a consequence, feeling increasingly free to discard the outdated ones, that I feel confident that we can, together, begin to unravel what puzzles and distresses you in your life.
I grew up in Paris, France, and moved to Seattle with my family at the age of 17. I hold a B.A. Magna cum laude in philosophy from Swarthmore College, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy from Cornell University. I taught philosophy (primarily ethics, philosophy of religion, and medieval philosophy) at the University of Toronto for 5 years. In 2002, I moved to Bellingham where my husband’s career took him, and left academic philosophy behind. I have been training for a career in psychotherapy since 2010.
I am fluent in French and English. I also speak and understand some Russian.