This has been a very difficult year, difficult enough to shake the spirits of even the sunniest of optimists. For those who care deeply about the state of humanity and the state of our natural world, the fronts that we are struggling on can seem too numerous to count. So how do we maintain hope against a backdrop of crisis and loss?

Photo by Brodie Vissers

Thinking back over history to a time when we seemed to be teetering on the brink of collapse calls to mind the Great Depression. This was a decade where (in America) a quarter of the labor market were…


The Covid-19 pandemic has so far impacted every aspect of modern life. The economic, social, political and moral structures that we interact with and that guide us in day to day life are all being disrupted in these extraordinary times. In times of crisis, we are thrown into a situation that has catastrophic impacts but these situations also reveal to us things about ourselves that might ordinarily be operating just below the surface of awareness.

As we are faced with this evolving state of emergency and brace ourselves for impact, many people are noticing heightened feelings of anxiety and dread…


We have entered the age of the Anthropocene and are already bearing witness to the catastrophic effects of climate change that Earth scientists have been warning us about for decades. Against the backdrop of dramatic shifts in the Earth’s functioning, the hypothetical becomes realized, and kicks up our sense of urgency to understand what is taking shape and to respond effectively.

Direct experience of flooding and fires of biblical proportions help humans begin to get a sense of the magnitude of this phenomenon. Yet the inability for us to wholly take in what is happening to us and to the…


As the climate crisis continues to unfold, we must find ways to stay informed while trying not to become immobilized by the grief and fear that are natural responses to loss and existential threat. Additionally, as concerned and responsible citizens there is an imperative to meaningfully engage and act both individually and collectively to protect our common home and the lives of those who are most at risk.

Waking Up to What Is Happening

In the Summer of 2018, Seattle was blanketed in smoke from wildfires in Eastern Washington and British Columbia. The sun was turned a dramatic shade of…


According to a substantial body of research, we humans are a lonely bunch. Politicians decree that loneliness is a epidemic and researchers theorize about the ways that modern life has negatively impacted our sense of connectedness and health. To understand this phenomenon and determine whether we are indeed facing a loneliness crisis, we must consider the difficulties in measuring such a complex experience, explore the socio-cultural context in which loneliness is apparently increasing and finally, consider whether loneliness is something that we should — or could — guard against.

Photo by Alex Iby

As a psychotherapist living in a city made up of more…


Depression is a common and highly complex phenomenon. Understanding means listening to both the subjective experience of an individual as well as weaving together the threads that are common to those experiences. It also means looking both within the mind and body of the individual and at the social systems (past and present) they are embedded in —thereby integrating theoretical and research contributions of psychoanalysis and neuropsychology.

Photo: Ryan Bruce ‘Oregon Bridge’

Threads of experience:

The two essential elements of the depressive experience relate to a person’s self view/self representation and their mood (Milrod, 1988). When a person is depressed, they are not simply in…


When I listen closely — to patients, friends, colleagues and others I encounter in my day — I notice that productivity has been a regular theme in conversations lately. No doubt it has always been there in the background but now more than ever I am noticing how people relate to this construct, the extent that it is culturally embedded and what happens in our relentless pursuit of it. …


Our cognitive, affective and behavioral patterns and experiences are shaped by the relationships both past and present, and the social worlds we interact with. As a person working in the field of mental health, I pay close attention to the ways that people’s difficulties and distress are maintained and expressed in their relationships — and to how the experience of secure, supportive and empathic relationships can help people develop ways of living more stably, authentically and meaningfully. …


Seattle can be a haven for introverted people. Those seeking quiet feel belonging in a place where people are more socially reserved and respectful of others’ personal space and they enjoy recharging over the slow winters which allow time for solitude and introspection. More broadly though, being an introvert in our society is not easy.

Defining Introversion

What exactly does it mean to be an introvert, and why is this trait under-valued? Like many psychological constructs, it is helpful to see introvert and extrovert characteristics as existing on a spectrum. Some people identify themselves as “ambivert”, in that they embody…


How do you cope with emotions that are difficult to bear? Highly sensitive people endure a range of strong emotions, including those that stir up deep psychic pain like sadness, loss or grief. These states are very much a part of the human experience however for highly sensitive people, their depth of feeling and processing can intensify emotions and bring them closer to the surface.

In understanding the root and meaning of emotional experience, it is important to look at how it is shaped culturally and socially. In social interactions, highly sensitive people are more susceptible to absorbing the moods…

Alexandra Woollacott

Psychotherapy for HSPs and people living with Depression, Seattle, WA. http://alexandrawoollacott.com/

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