When we are caring for others, it’s often hard to find the time to care for ourselves. Are you caring for elderly family members, children, or both? Are you feeling overwhelmed, pulled in too many directions, anxious or depressed because of everything piled on your plate? Do you need support with coping with a loved one with dementia or how to make difficult decisions about the end of life? Do you worry about not being a “good enough” caretaker or find yourself wracked with guilt when wrestling with tough choices? Are your relationships under strain because of your caretaking responsibilities?
Caring for others can take a heavy toll across all domains of life. What I want you to hear is this:
Self-care is not selfish.
Not only are you as important as the people you are caring for and worthy of having your needs met, but research also shows that when you take care of yourself, you are better able to take care of others. If the well has run dry, there’s nothing left to give. You must make sure you are filling that well as fast as you are drawing from it.
I am not only trained as a clinical geropsychologist with years of experience in nursing homes, assisted living settings, hospitals, dementia clinics, and hospice, but having been through the pain and drain of caregiver burnout myself, I understand what it is to give and give to someone you love until you feel as though you have nothing left, and to go through the process of refilling the well.
Dr. Baker has been a lifesaver. Our father has bipolar disorder and early dementia, and had become very difficult for us to manage, abusive towards our mother, and we needed guidance. Dr. Baker was able to have conference calls with all of us, including my mother, when we had specific questions about what to do, and was able to shift our perspective on our relationship with our dad and how to communicate with him. As needed, we also had individual sessions with Dr. Baker, and we could not be more grateful for her support and flexibility. No question was too small and it was so helpful to have someone to talk to when we all felt lost.
I lost my father to cancer at 67, and not two years later, my mother was in hospice with kidney failure. My fears and my grief were overwhelming, and I could feel it shutting me down and pulling me away from my mother just when she needed me most. Dr. Baker's compassion and understanding helped me to give myself permission to feel what I was feeling, while also staying connected to my mother through the end of her life.
My grandfather moved in with us when I still had two kids under 5 at home, and I felt spread so thin. I spent all day putting out fires. Our conversations became my oasis and a place I could take care of ME. Dr. Baker's insight into my situation has helped me to make changes and for the first time in a while I feel like I can breathe. She challenges the way I see things and gets my mind to view things in a better light. She points out a lot of things that I don't even say. It's been amazing.
Despite my Finnish heritage, I'm a Florida girl through and through, and thrive anywhere there is plentiful sunshine and abundant heat. I'm beyond grateful my Seattle-ite husband has agreed to make Florida home!
It seems that no matter what job I'm drawn to, helping is at its core, and working as a therapist and helping others move towards the life they want is the greatest satisfaction I've known. Certain personal experiences particularly ignite my passion: I've been through the depths of caregiver burnout and the long process of refilling that internal well. I've also lived overseas for four years, primarily in Japan, and understand the unique strain of suddenly finding yourself illiterate and confused most of the time.
If ever there's any down time, there's likely a book in my hand. My favorite place for said book is on the porch with a glass of wine and my husband by my side. With nachos.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Florida license #PY7957
Ph.D., M.A. (clinical psychology) - Fuller Theological Seminary School of Psychology
M.A. (theology) - Fuller Theological Seminary
B.S. (psychology), summa cum laude - University of Miami
I have focused my education and experience on considering the whole person and understanding each individual from their unique worldview. I have worked in a variety of settings, including inpatient mental health, home-based elder care, university counseling centers, dementia clinics, VA hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and private practice. Each person I have encountered has enriched my understanding of what it means to be a person and the many versions of what it looks like to live life well.
Specialties & Issues
Caregiver stress, end of life issues, postpartum depression, aging, elder care, coping with chronic illness, anxiety, depression, trauma/PTSD, self-esteem, relationship issues, family issues, living abroad. It’s a bit of a mixed list, but I’ve found that every possible issue overlaps with caretaking, because life doesn’t stop and we come to our caretaking roles with every part of ourselves.
If you’re not sure if we’re a good fit to work together, please feel free to contact me for a free 20-minute consultation. I want to make sure you are finding the best help for you. It might be me, but if it’s not, I will tell you and give you guidance on how to find someone who will be a good match for you.
- Alzheimer's & Dementia
- Caregiver Support
- Christian Counseling
- Eating Disorders
- Family Life
- Grief & Loss
- Medical Consultation
- Medical Rehabilitation
- Mood Disorders
- Pain Management
- Panic Disorders/Attacks
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Postpartum Depression
- Relationship Issues
- Self Esteem
- Stress Management
- Time Management
- Weight Management
- Women's Health
- Work/Life Balance
My approach to therapy is collaborative: you are the only one that knows what it is like to be you and to live your life, so I will come alongside you and work together with you to move your life in the direction you want to go.
I tailor my approach to each individual and their specific needs, using research-supported modalities. Together we will find the path to wholeness and balance that is most effective for you. For some people it’s about exploring the past and healing deep wounds, for others it’s about finding patterns in relationships, or changing unhealthy thinking, or learning new coping strategies, or strengthening self-esteem, or adding communication and assertiveness skills, or simply having your struggles heard and validated. The treatment is as unique as the individual.
In some cases, we focus specifically on problem-solving and decision-making. Sessions can also center on education and understanding how to relate to a loved one who has changed so much over the course of their illness. Family consultation is frequently a valuable tool, to help the entire system function in a more balanced and productive way.
Services & Rates
It’s important to find a good fit with a therapist, to feel comfortable with the person you will be working with and opening up to, and to know that that person has the skills and expertise to meet your needs. If you’d like to schedule a free 20-minute consultation to determine if we are a good match, please contact me.
$200 for a 75-minute initial intake assessment with comprehensive interview
$175 for a 50-minute therapy session
*A discounted rate is available for sessions purchased in bundles, $1500 for 10 sessions ($150 each)
*Shorter sessions are also available, as well as family sessions and care consultation. Contact me for rates.
I work as an Out-of-Network provider. I am not on any managed care network panels. The fee is paid in full at the end of each session. At the end of each session, I provide my clients with invoices which they are able to submit to their insurance companies for reimbursement.
On the back of your insurance card, there should be a toll free number for questions related to your mental health benefit. When calling, be sure to check your coverage carefully by asking the following questions:
What are my mental health benefits?
Is online therapy covered?
What is my deductible and has it been met?
How many sessions per calendar year does my plan cover?
How much does my plan cover for an out-of-network provider?
Is approval required from my primary care physician?
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