Meet Mika

Why I do what I do:

The brief answer is because someone needed to do it. I have a child who copes and lives with the sorts of issues I work with now with my clients: anxiety, perfectionism, twice-exceptionality, intensity, dysgraphia and more. I’ve been the parent who is called to the principal’s office too many times, the parent who dealt with meltdowns that seemed to come out of nowhere. I’ve been worried about my son, embarrassed by him, angry with him, sad for him and joyful at what others might see as minor accomplishments. I’ve been able to learn to enjoy my life with him, but it’s been a long, crazy trip, and I didn’t have anyone I could go to for support and guidance. I’ve felt alone and misunderstood and crazy for thinking that my son is different from other kids. I’ve felt out of options, out of energy, out of ideas and out of patience – and still do, some of the time. But I also adore my quirky kid – I enjoy his sense of humor, his musicality, his intensity, his love of animals and his good-hearted intentions. He is awesome, and we have come to a pattern of life that works pretty well for the whole family.

What it is that I do:

This is something that has evolved over the 10 years that Gifted Matters has existed. After about 5 years in private practice, it became clear that the need for therapists who were knowledgeable about gifted/2e issues was greater than I, as an individual, could meet. So I began a training program. Now, in addition to working with my own individual clients, I also get to supervise the work of staff therapists. As a therapist, I work with adults, young adults, adolescents and parents who deal with being smart and struggling. I also write, speak, and train others about these issues.

What a client can expect when working with me:

After working with me, parents begin to feel less anxious about the prospects of living with and raising their child. They feel hopeful, and they begin to construct a personal roadmap of the terrain ahead and around them. Their relationship with their child is improved, and they are able to experience all the wonderful aspects of their unique child. They come out from under the pall of focusing only on areas of weakness and problems. They have new skills and strategies to help their child at home and in the world.

Parents also gain a deeper understanding of themselves, for as they learn about their child’s gifted issues, they frequently revisit their own childhood and understand themselves, and their own parents, differently.

The same is true for adults who work with me, or adolescents – we explore their understanding of themselves and the world, identify any areas where improved skills can help, deal with negative self-talk, find new ways of handling stress and develop a way of being in the world that is comfortable and enjoyable for them.

Other (possibly random) information about me:

I hold an IB certificate from my high school, The French-American International School in San Francisco, and I am fluent in French. My undergraduate degree was in music, with a focus on baroque violin performance practice. I’ve been a Bradley natural childbirth instructor, a sign-language for babies instructor, and a teacher of classes for men and women convicted of domestic violence crimes. I’ve co-authored many articles on giftedness, homeschooling and counseling in a variety of print and online venues. I’ve also co-authored two books: Making the Choice: When Typical School Doesn’t Fit Your Atypical Child and Writing your own Script: A Parent’s Role in the Gifted Child’s Social Development, both from GHF Press. I speak at conferences about giftedness, twice-exceptionality, homeschooling and counseling, and I occasionally give talks locally to groups of parents, educators or other providers. I’m a longtime collaborator with GHF: Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, and currently serve as a GHF Ambassador. I have a lot of other interesting projects I’m working on….when I’m not playing with yarn. There’s more detail on my LinkedIn page for those who are interested.