Michelle (pronouns: she/hers) is a somatically-trained mental health counselor working in private practice in Tokyo, Japan. She spent the last three years at the U.S Naval Hospital in Okinawa in the Department of Mental Health where she worked with active duty military members and their families in addressing distress and trauma through the means of body-based practices that promote embodiment and resiliency. There she also developed specific clinical programming combining yoga and psychology to help compliment treatments within the substance abuse programs and inpatient units. Michelle also worked for one year with the mental health unit on Kadena Air Base in Okinawa as a graduate student counselor supporting airmen/women and their families.
Michelle has an extensive 15 year background in yoga and mindfulness teaching in which she has worked with those living with spinal cord injury, brain injury, chronic and life threatening disease, and grief and loss.
Currently in her advanced year of Somatic Experiencing (SE) training, Michelle incorporates in her work principles of Peter Levine's SE modality combined with Polyvagal Theory, Sensory Awareness, Attachment Theory, mindfulness and trauma-informed yoga concepts.
Michelle specializes in complex childhood trauma in both individuals and couples. She has special interest in supporting individuals and families who are a part of the adoption triad: adoptees, adopting parents, and relinquishing parents at any stage in their process. With her years of experience in working with trauma and loss Michelle is able to support individuals dealing with grief (loss of loved one, job, pet, home) as well as chronic illnesses. Her approach to counseling is trauma-informed and emphasizes a person-centered approach to treatment providing space for the client to choose their own pace for exploring and healing.
Michelle currently resides in western Tokyo with her husband of 27 years and their cat, Junebug. In her time away from therapy work Michelle enjoys watercolor painting, knitting, exploring nature, tea travels, and a variety of mindful movement styles from dance, yoga, qigong, and tai chi.