About Nel
Pronouns: she/they

Identities

  • White, Polyamorous, Pansexual, Gender Fluid/Gender Exploring

Specializations

  • Consensual Non-Monogamy (CNM), including open marriages/relationships, polyamory, and the Lifestyle

  • Gender exploration, expansion, and/or transitions

  • Sexual trauma - I work with survivors of sexual abuse using parts work, mindful self-compassion, and Brainspotting

Personal History

   Before I became a therapist, I …

  • Taught psychology classes at community colleges

  • Lived, studied and worked in different countries

  • Grew up in multiply-blended families

  • Was married monogamously for twenty-five years

  • Raised three now-adult children

  • Was transitioning to polyamory

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I know from personal experience how identity shifts and transitions around gender, sexuality, and relationship style affect everyone in a family, and provide both challenges and exceptional growth opportunities.  

It is my passion to help folks navigate these transitions in empowered and empowering ways.  That is what brought me to this work, and sustains me in it. 

Education

  • San Diego State University (2015-2018)

    • M.S. with Honors in Counseling with a focus on Marriage and Family Therapy

      • Alliant International University, Mexico City Cultural Immersion Program

  • San Diego State University (1995-2001)

    • M.A. with Honors in Psychology with a focus on Lifespan Development
       

  • Sheffield University, Sheffield, U.K. (1990-1991)

    • M.A. Socio-Legal Studies
       

  • Amherst College, Amherst, MA (1983-1987)

    • B.A. in Psychology and English

Presentations and Publications

  • Author of “Chapter 10: Affirming Gender, Sexual, and Relational Diversity"

    • in the textbook Intercultural Counseling: Bridging the Us and Them Divide (Monk, Winslade, Sinclair & polanco, 2020)

 

  • Organizer/Facilitator for Symposium on Counseling and Alt-Sexuality: Kink and Ethical Non-Monogamy (2018)

    • Center for Community Counseling and Engagement, San Diego, CA
       

  • Recurring Presentations on Consensual Non-Monogamy

    • Azusa Pacific University (2017-present)

    • SDSU (2019 & 2020)

  • Practicing Polyamory Podcast with James Sias: E61, “Adding a New Life Partner” (with George Mercer)

Professional Trainings

  • Brainspotting

    • Phase I (2019)

    • Phase II (2020)

    • Phase III with David Grand (2020)

  • Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT)

    • Externship (2016)

    • Core Skills (2018-19)

    • EFT Family Therapy: Restoring Connection & Promoting Resilience (2018)

    • Integrating Sex Therapy and EFT Couples Therapy (2018)

    • Master Class: EFT with Challenging Couples with Sue Johnson (2019)

  • Affirmative Therapy Workshop at Alliant University (2019)

  • Out of Control Sexual Behavior (OCSB) with Doug Harvey (online, 2021)

  • Healing Trauma with Bessel Van der Kolk (online, 2019)

  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (online, 2019)

  • Internal Family Systems (online, 2019)    

  • Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) (online, 2016)

  • Legal and Ethical Concerns [for Mental Health Professionals] (2016)

  • Culturally-Informed Care for LGBTQ  (online, 2016)

  • Introduction to Motivational Interviewing (2015)

Memberships and Affiliations

  • American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT)

  • California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT)

  • International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy (ICEEFT)

  • San Diego California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (SD CAMFT)

  • San Diego Psychological Association (SDPA)

  • Trans and Nonbinary Affirmative Therapist Network