Meet Our Therapists

All of the clinical staff at Shepherd's Counseling Services hold a master's degree in psychology, social work or counseling and are Washington State licensed. In addition:

  • They bring to our therapy services special training and extensive continuing education on trauma responses and developmental issues related to the impacts and therapeutic needs of adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
  • We serve clients of all races, colors, sexual orientations, gender identities, religions, ages, ancestries, ethnicities, and national origins.
  • Some of our therapists have the ability to conduct therapy sessions in Spanish, French or English.
  • Shepherd’s Counseling has a long tradition, since 1987, of bringing a passionate commitment to serving the needs of adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse and a relentless commitment to helping our clients heal.

For clinical staff openings, see our employment page.


Brook Avidon

M.A., Psychology, Antioch University
B.A., Philosophy, minor in Education, S.U.N.Y. Binghamton
Specialties: Trauma, abuse, creativity, GBLT issues

Brook_Photograph.JPGBrook came to Shepherd's in 2011 and feels that the long-term approach to healing from childhood trauma is essential. She describes her approach to therapy as 'eclectic, client centered, collaborative and relational.' With a background in body-centered therapy, she focuses not only on understanding experiences with the mind, but also on how those experiences are felt emotionally and in the body. Brook views her work and the world through a lens of curiosity and compassion.

"Therapy is not the only answer. It is, though, a way to heal with a witness, a guide who can help you move through your memories, feelings, and experiences in a safe way, allowing you to grow into a more fulfilling and joyful life," she says.

The focus of Brook's work in agencies, in her private practice and in indigenous communities in the U.S. and Canada, has been on healing from childhood trauma, domestic violence and oppression. She has worked extensively within the GBLT community. She values understanding the cultural context of all healing work. Brook believes that all of these experiences contribute to her view of the human spirit as resilient and amazing.


Pura Betances

M.A., Existential Phenomenological Psychology,Seattle University
Licensee in Psychology, Universidad Autonoma deSanto Domingo,Dominican Republic
Specialties: Trauma, abuse, addictive behaviors, acculturation, transitions, anxiety, depression, and health behaviors


Pura has been a practicing therapist for 25 years, and has worked with all age groups. Outside of Shepherd’s Counseling Services, she works as a behavioral health consultant in primary care, has a private practice and teaches yoga.

"I believe that trauma happens in relationship and that therapy provides a relationship in which to heal. That relationship offers grounding, safety, guidance, and mirroring that facilitate reducing the pain, and moving into freedom to become the person one wants to be."

Pura approaches therapy from a client center focus. To help a client heal and reach the goals s/he has set, she draws from different techniques and theoretical sources, such as cognitive behavioral, mindfulness, phenomenology and existentialism.


Marissa Grasmick

M.A., Transpersonal Counseling Psychology and Art Therapy, Naropa University
B.A., Psychology and Art, Luther College
Specialties: Trauma/PTSD, abuse, creative expression, mindfulness/meditation, existentialism 

Marissa Grasmick.jpgMarissa Grasmick believes that it is the quality of the connection between the therapist and client that fosters authentic healing. She is most interested in co-creating a therapy that works best for each individual. Marissa blends theory and technique from Eastern and Western traditions. She has a deep understanding and appreciation of how mindfulness and meditation, as well as EMDR, help clients manage traumatic symptoms. Marissa is sensitive to the unique and serious effects of trauma/ abuse/ PTSD and how they can show up in a person’s life via emotional dysregulation, impaired cognitive functioning, and neurobiological stress. 

As a dually trained Counselor and Art Therapist, Marissa also uses the creative process as an approach to therapy. All of these tools are only used with a client’s permission and on an individual basis depending on needs and goals. 

Marissa has worked in private practice in Boulder, Colorado and served two years as a therapist at the Southern California Counseling Center in Los Angeles for low-income individuals.


Marcia Herivel
MSW, University of Washington 
B.A., Romance Languages and Literature, University of Washington
Specialties: Women and mental health

MarciaHerivel.jpgMarcia Herivel believes that each client is the real expert on his or her life, making effective therapy a collaborative process between therapist and client. "Therapy is an exploration that can transform past harms and conflicts into future strengths and wisdom," she says.

Marcia was a therapist at Harborview Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress for 16 years, working with children and adults in individual and group therapy. She came to Shepherd's in August of 2005, and is now a Neurology Social Worker at Seattle Children's Hospital. She has recent specialized training in therapy approaches designed to address sexual assault and trauma. That includes prolonged exposure and cognitive processing therapy, as well as grief and loss, attachment disorders, motivational interviewing, and emotion regulation.


Dorothy Lemoult

MA, California Institute of Integral Studies
B.F.A., Theatre, Cornish College of the Arts 
Specialties: Trauma/PTSD, mood disorders, eating disorders, couples and families, bilingual-French

Dorothy_web.jpgDorothy Lemoult believes that every person has the inherent ability to heal and transform their life when given an opportunity to engage in a therapeutic and creative process.

She says: “It takes a lot to survive and heal from childhood trauma. Fear takes deep roots and affects every aspect of a survivor's life. As a result, people try to control and stabilize their environment. But life is unstable so this deprives them from living full and rich lives. In therapy, my goal is to create an environment where people learn to lower their fear of instability. Over time, people are able to heal their past in a way that no longer rules their present. They are able to experience life as an opportunity, rather than a threat. They live more joyful connected lives. It is a rich and rewarding journey that I am honored to be included in.”

Dorothy's clinical experience has been in hospitals and in private practice. She has experience working with adults and adolescents suffering from severe mental illness, trauma, PTSD and eating disorders. Dorothy focuses on the whole person in the context of family and culture. She is a registered drama therapist and has advanced training in trauma-centered developmental transformations, which is a form of embodied drama therapy treatment that focuses on uncovering and shifting patterns of personality and relationship.


Michelle Lifton

MA, Mental Health Counseling, Antioch University
MS, Women's Studies, Mankato State University
Specialties: Trauma, abuse, PTSD

Michelle_web.jpgMichelle strives to help people bring balance and wellness into their lives. She begins with the premise that each individual is whole and has the inherent ability to cope with life’s struggles, no matter how much pain that person may be experiencing. Although trauma has a profound effect on our bodies and our minds, growth and change are always possible.

“I have a compassionate and collaborative approach and will invite you to tap into your inner wisdom, to explore your thoughts and feelings, and to discover new ways of being. Our diverse backgrounds inform who we are, and I will work with you to make changes in your life while honoring your culture and your values.”

Michelle has over 20 years of social service experience, primarily working with adults and children who experienced abuse. She has worked in community mental health settings, helping clients address a wide range of symptoms and issues, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, and grief. Michelle has specialized training in Cognitive Processing Therapy for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.


Dina Maugeri

M.A., Contemplative Psychotherapy, Naropa University
B.A., Psychology, Rutgers University
Specialties: Depression, anxiety, trauma, grief and loss, LGBTQ issues

Dina Maugeri.jpgDina Maugeri has a deep trust that there is always a way out of suffering, and she views effective therapy as a mutual exploration between therapist and client, where a client’s experiences are honored and respected. She believes that a strong therapeutic relationship provides a safe space in which clients can allow themselves to feel the full range of their experience. It is in this space that suffering and trauma can be transformed. 

“I see my work as helping people to connect to their own internal wisdom, which I believe is always present, even when it is temporarily hidden by pain and confusion.” 

Dina has worked in both in-patient and out-patient psychiatric facilities, as well as in private practice and hospice settings. She has received training in mindfulness and compassion practices, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and in body-oriented trauma therapy. 

Janice Palm

M.A., Psychology, Antioch University
B.A., Education, Seattle Pacific College
Specialties: Abuse and trauma, depression, anxiety

Janice.jpgJanice Palm, who is also executive director at Shepherd's, believes that the combination of therapeutic setting and relationship offer a place of safety in which reflection, revelation and healing may occur.

"It is the process of change, rather than the 'solution' to suffering, through which true personal healing and transformation may occur," she says. She believes while pain and confusion are inevitable consequences of living, they may also serve as a powerful catalyst for initiating a healing journey and lasting change.

Janice has been an individual and group therapist at Shepherd's Counseling Services since 2000. She also maintains a private practice in Kirkland. She has specialized training in the areas of abuse, trauma and depression, and in the use of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR).

Brenda Smyk

M.A., Counseling Psychology, Antioch University
B.A., Organizational Behavior, the University of San Francisco
Specialties: Trauma, ADD/ADHD in adults, grief and bereavement, attachment

BrendaSmyk.jpgBrenda Smyk, who has specialized training and expertise in the treatment of trauma and its associated symptoms, views the therapeutic relationship as collaborative in which her role is that of facilitator supporting clients in their healing and individuation processes.

This involves becoming more fully aware of what the psyche is trying to communicate to us by way of psychological, behavioral, and physical symptoms - so the healing work of integrating conscious and unconscious material becomes possible. This integration leads to changes in attitudes and emotional responses.

In addition to her work at Shepherd's, which started in 2004, Brenda is a trained practitioner of EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, a technique used to treat disturbing life events and trauma) and maintains a private practice in Seattle and on the Eastside.