Overcoming anxiety to find balance is creative.

I offer therapy for increased meaning and connection in life, as well as relief from anxiety and depression. Regaining your sense of balance is the dynamic process of connecting to your emotions, self-knowledge, and embodiment.

Tools for growth…

I provide psychotherapy for people who want to clear the obstacles that block them from moving forward with their goals. Frequently, I work with people who want to make peace with a harsh inner critic or to accept and understand experiences of being neuro-divergent. For people who have experiences of trauma, being marginalized, or feeling alone in their struggles, a critical or anxious internal process is a protective defense. Though this protective part may have at one time helped you survive, it currently impedes your growth and ability to relax into the natural ups and downs of life.

To support lasting change, I center your individual needs, strengths, and effective tools for growth. When we work together, we create a plan that is specific to you and brings out your resilience. For the past eight years, I’ve supported adults, children, couples, and families to regain stability. I’ve worked extensively with trauma, mood disorders, ADHD, substance misuse, body dysmorphia, sensory processing issues, and many other challenges.

In sessions, we focus on what supports you to feel at home in your body and to deepen your capacity for compassion for yourself. When you feel grounded in self-acceptance and care for yourself, relationships with others shift. My clients find our work in sessions frees up energy so they can move forward in life.

I have an MA in Counseling with a focus on Expressive Art Therapy from California Institute of Integral Studies. I’ve trained in a range of modalities including: mindfulness, psychodynamic, somatic, and attachment-based therapies. In addition to providing therapy, I’m a painter and facilitate workshops on painting for relaxation, mindfulness, and creative expression. I’m currently based in Portland, OR and offer teletherapy to clients in Oregon and California.

A space to get curious about your process

With mindful attention, painful emotions, thoughts, and sensations can become decipherable signals leading you on your way to  deeper self-knowledge. From this knowledge of yourself, you more easily access compassion, joy, energy, and focus. When you know and trust yourself, the changes you want to make are clearer.

We will explore what feels most pressing to you right now. Past experiences shape our current choices. Becoming curious about your current patterns reveals areas for growth. With a safe, nurturing space to explore your thoughts, feelings, and somatic experience, you connect with your strength and resilience to identify these patterns and shift harmful ones. Implementing new beneficial patterns is an individual process. My work with clients focuses on identifying what works and doesn’t work with specificity and care for your singular experience.

Using tools for increasing awareness like mindfulness and somatics can deepen your understanding of what works and doesn’t work for you. Somatic therapy brings attention to how the body stores stress, emotions, and memory. Getting out of the thinking process and returning to physical presence can reduce anxiety and overwhelm. I support people to find soothing strategies for managing the physical and psychological experiences of nervous system overload.

Chronic nervous system distress (flight, fight, freeze responses) can show up in a range of ways: numbness, disconnect, repetitive negative thoughts, self-criticism, lethargy, fatigue, tight muscles, irritation, mania, compulsive behavior, substance misuse, and more. With effective tools, you can develop practices that enable you to shift your mood and move through challenges more easily. This is empowering.

Respect trauma responses

Trauma and resilience are woven together. When a trauma response develops, you are creating a protective pattern to prevent further harm. Sometimes these protective responses can harden into routines that once protected you but now no longer fit. These habituated trauma responses may be larger than you, passed down from generation to generation. They may be enforced by social norms or experiences with institutions. We will unpack all of that at the pace that feels right for you.

“Trauma response” describes, when, instead of flowing in between nervous system states in response to what you experience, you are stuck in one state and can’t shift your mode. Our bodies naturally move through fight, flight, freeze responses all day long. When you experience the impact of trauma, you may be stuck in one of these states. This could look like the dissociation and numbness of freeze or the hypervigilance of fight mode. The underlying experience is of always, on some level, feeling unsafe. When I work with people on processing trauma, we explore where and when you feel most safe and grounded. From this base, we find what supports you to regulate your nervous system in order to feel more grounded, more often.

Whether or not you’ve experienced trauma, understanding your psychosomatic responses helps with managing all big, overwhelming feelings. My approach to working with struggle celebrates neurodiversity, queerness, and individual choice. I believe each person has within them what they need to grow and heal. It’s my role to support you with removing the obstacles that block you from alignment with your inner resources.

The therapeutic process is generative and enriching when you feel seen and valued. Thank you for taking time to visit my website and for putting energy into caring for yourself.

I work with adults who want support with:

  • Grief
  • Relationship issues/dating
  • Trauma
  • Integrating experiences of neurodiversity, disability, and chronic illness
  • ADHD and sensory processing challenges
  • Life transitions
  • Creative blocks
  • Body dysmorphia
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Substance misuse
  • Increasing enjoyment of life & work/life balance
  • Identity formation
  • Stress management
  • Repetitive intrusive thoughts
  • Compulsive behavior

For all inquiries, contact: Dana

Dana Dart-McLean  LMFT 119512