Counselor Kristen Arntzen

About Me

My life is an adventure. I have gone where the wind takes me, and kept my heart open to receive knowledge and grace.

I was born and grew up in Eastern Washington. My older brother was disabled and my mother ran a daycare in our home – so I was always around other kids, and started life helping others. I learned to always look out for others, include the outsider, and have love for the person – not the package.

Education

I did well through school – where I ran cross-country, track and field, and played trumpet – and swam the hot summers away. After high school I went to college in Bellingham where I received a BA in Psychology. I also worked in Early Childhood Education and Assisted Living Facilities. No matter the age, I learned a lot from others, and received as much as I gave.
After college I moved to Tacoma. Always up for an adventure, I jumped into the real estate game for a while. I spent several years remodeling and restoring old houses. I got dirty and sore, and loved the hard work. A person can practice a lot of Mindfulness while peeling years of paint off of century old wood. I could also see the scars of time on the wood and wall. Most of all I saw the strength that a house with these scars can hold. It taught me a lot about patience and showed me how love and dedication can transform these scars into beauty – into works of pride and accomplishment.

Following the wind, and the suggestion of a dear friend, I moved to Portland/Vancouver area in 2008 – where my focus got back to helping people. I knew I wanted to do more, and have more reach to serve others, so I went back to school. Through many long nights after work, I received my Masters In Social Work in 2012.

Experience

Since then, I have worked in Child Welfare, Medical Social Work, and providing Therapy. I like to say, “You can’t scare me, and you can’t offend me.” I have worked with people who are incarcerated, involved in the child welfare system, and people struggling with addiction – in addition to mental health concerns. When people come to work with me it is an awesome opportunity – and responsibility – to trust one another. This work with young and old has strengthened my love of helping and learning from others.

I work with all ages. I enjoy my time with Toddlers, and relish the time with Octogenarians. I provide Individual, Couples and Family therapy. I love my Gender-fluid and Non-Binary friends and clients. It is an honor to walk alongside another person in their story, and witness in the choices towards a better path. I believe each of us have the skills to do better, merely lacking the support. I use an eclectic blend of theories – Solution-Focused, Person-Centered, and Cognitive Behavioral Theory. I use the Person-In-Environment: Help the person to fit the environment, and help the environment better fit the needs of the person.

Most of all: I believe in you.

My Specialties Include

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