About Joanne

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Let me introduce myself to you. My name is Dr. Joanne Dorpat Halverson. I have a Doctorate degree in clinical psychology and I am a licensed mental health counselor with over 25 years of experience. I am a native from the northwest who has lived with my family in both the city and in wilder places. I am a nature and animal lover. I am a wife and a mother, a grandmother, a friend, a teacher and a spiritual mentor. I have been fortunate to study with several extraordinary healers and spiritual leaders, several of them traditional indigenous medicine people. In my time away from doing therapy or teaching, I adventure in nature, study, write, do artwork, dance, swim and continue to participate in a deep spiritual community practice.

As a young woman, I lived on an island in a cabin we built in the woods. It was not an easy way of life but we were surrounded by the beauty and magic of nature.  My daughters were born and raised there. On the island I was a volunteer at a wildlife clinic, an artist and also a hospice volunteer. It was then that I began working in the mental health field at the local mental health agency. After a major change, I returned to Seattle to complete my education. I have lived in the city for a long time.  I  regularly return to the cabin to restore and center myself.

As to my journey as a therapist, after I left the island, I worked for many years in community mental health as a therapist, group leader, administrator, community educator and supervisor.  I have always had a passion for expanding my understanding of life and getting to know people from other cultures and backgrounds. Our differences are fascinating, surprising and rich soil for learning.  At that agency (Compass Health) I became involved in the committees that fostered diversity and the vision of the agency. I also learned to be a political advocate and traveled to our capital in Olympia to advocate for laws that would help people and families grappling with mental illness. There, with others from various agencies who served the mentally ill, we met with people in the legislature and some worthy laws were passed.

When serving veterans and their families, I assisted in psycho-spiritual workshops with Soldiers Heart, an international organization devoted to healing and helping veterans and their families. Working intensely with veterans gave me further psychological and spiritual strength to face up to and work through the darker side of human nature we all face.  I can accompany and support you when you have shadowy places to uncover. Opening to joy and illumination is equally important. Our lives have that rhythm of light and shadow, day and night, winter and summer.

Life is full of gifts and real, sometimes huge, challenges. Along with great joy and many surprises, I too have suffered traumas and losses and found healing and strength. I bring my life experience, proven therapy methods as well as my knowledge of ancient indigenous healing ways to help you in my therapy practice.  Along the way, the specialties I have earned in dispute resolution, addictions, trauma treatment (including somatic experiencing), aging, creativity, custody disputes, Somatic Experiencing and grief, have brought me tools with which to offer you a wealth of help.

With enthusiasm for sharing wisdom and encouragement, I have given workshops and presentations on grief, loss and resilience, communication skills as well as spiritual growth, attachment, and ancient wisdom.  I have supervised masters and bachelor level interns for over 13 years. It is a pleasure and honor to guide new therapists into this worthy work. Also, I helped design and administrate a college counseling program. To pass on what one has learned is a joy. I have taught at several colleges including Seattle University and Bastyr University. Recently, I taught Ecopsychology. Ecopsychology delves into and explores our innate connection to nature and natural rhythms.

I have always wanted to understand and shed light on the forces that most affect our lives. It is not only our families and our personalities that shape who we are and how we deal with life but also the society, culture and even the region where we were raised profoundly impact us. I have been studying how our culture affects us psychologically, spiritually and in our lifestyle choices for many years. Over time, wisdom, aesthetics, ethics, culture and Indigenous wisdom have been some of the topics I have researched and presented at several conferences, including the International Human Sciences conference.  Recently, several articles I have written on these topics have been published. The journey of learning and passing on knowledge continues.