Common concerns I work with

  • Anxiety
  • Chronic Illness
  • Depression
  • Relationship Issues
  • Transitions
  • Work Issues
  • Life decisions
  • Chronic Stress
  • Grief and Loss

I began my work in mental health by working with people living with chronic illnesses-specifically, folks living with HIV/AIDS. I am interested in the ways that our physical bodies affect our emotional well being and ways of being in the world. We all experience times of health and times where we are not healthy, we can't change that. But, how we interpret these experiences and how we move through these times are within the bounds of what we can change.

I hold both Masters of Social Work and Masters of Public Health degrees from the University of Washington. I have experience working with clients in many different settings-including in international contexts. I also have worked in the field of global health, and have traveled to many countries both researching and implementing health programs. I have lived in Uganda, Swaziland and Kenya, and have traveled to many more countries in Africa and SE Asia for my work. 

My training and experience recognizes not only our own experiences, but also the contexts and environments we live within. When we work together, we will both acknowledge who you are, and what has influenced that over time (our stories), and the systems that currently impact us in the world we live in. 

I grew up in rural Arizona-surrounding by a quilt of many cultures and believe strongly in the intersection of our identities and the questions we ask about our beliefs and worldview inform how we shape the choices we make in our lives, and how we are able to see others. This may mean that we might explore the impacts that racism, sexism, classism, able-ism, homophobia, transphobia, and other experiences of oppression based on social group membership may have had in your life, as well as how social group memberships have provided community and resilience. We may also explore areas of privilege and oppression as they occur in and impact our therapeutic relationship.

Areas of Special Focus

I work with adults, and I'm particularly interested in people living through transitions (work, relationships, life stages, etc.). I enjoy working with people who are transitioning and adjusting to living in the US, either from another country or returning back to this country or identify as bi-cultural.

I also work with people who are living with a chronic illness or adjusting to a new diagnosis. 

Throughout my work,  I also have been interested in attachment theory and the ways we may consider together how our earliest messages informed the way we have relationships and move through the world now. I am a Somatic Experiencing Level 1 trained practioner and often refer to the information our body gives us about emotions and stress responses. 

I also love to work with women who "hustle" to prove themselves, combating social shame and the idea that we can do it all. I find this a very wonderful experience as I have done much of my own work around being an over-doer.


I use a variety of approaches from Psychotherapy, Somatic Experiencing, Attachment Based Psychotherapy, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Mindfulness and Motivational Interviewing.

I am a multi-culturally sensitive, anti-oppressive, anti-racist healer and see clients regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion or disability status (my office is ADA accessible), migration status, and employment . I don't use a one size fits all approach, because everyone has different needs.

[image of therapist]

Michelle Desmond, LICSW, MSW, MPH