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Colette Gordon's approach to therapy in



The heart of my work is providing politically informed relational talk therapy.


Therapy is all about connection.

The kind of connection where I work to see you, hear you, understand you and generally be someone who gets you. We’re just two people in a room talking so it takes us both showing up and being real people together to help turn that into effective therapy. This kind of work requires a lot of vulnerability on your part.
I might be a good fit if you are interested in opening up to your therapist and letting yourself be seen, even if it scares you. And if you’re down for a counselor who is warm, empathetic, expressive, and earnest.


I believe in talk therapy.

It can really help to talk about things. Processing verbally often helps to process emotionally and increase understanding. I believe some of the most therapeutic benefit comes from talking about the things that are hardest to say while being deeply heard and supported. I’m here to go there with you.
I might be a good fit if you want to say what you’re thinking, if you find it helpful to say things out loud, if you’re open to sitting with hard things, and if you’re up for a counselor who both listens a lot and talks a lot.

Disconnection, suffering, and mental health are political.

I draw on anti-oppressive critiques of social, political, and economic power in order to better understand how the world around you affects you, your relationships, and your problems.
I might be a good fit if you want to talk about how systems of oppression (targeting things like race, gender, class, sexuality, ability, body size and religion) and things happening in our world (like state violence, fascist organizing and the climate crisis) affect you and your struggles. I might be a good fit if you’re willing to look at hard truths about our world and still keep trying to find a way to live in it, maybe even disrupt it.

I take a collaborative approach.

Therapy is something we do together. It takes each of us showing up, sharing our takes and ideas, and negotiating so we can build deeper and clearer understandings of your struggles, your goals, and the work we need to do.
I might be a good fit if you’re interested in thinking out loud together, if you’re open to being challenged, and if you’re willing to give feedback about what is and isn’t working.


I’m committed to harm reduction.

I want to be realistic about what it looks like to live in this world. This includes things like drug and alcohol use, self-injury, and dieting. I’m not here to judge you against an unhelpful standard of health or functioning. I also take seriously the harm that coping can do. It’s not about judgement, it’s about looking at things clearly and realistically together.
I might be a good fit if you’re ready to talk about the things you do that could hurt you, even if the risk isn’t high right now and even if you’re not ready to change.

I believe in exposure therapy and trauma processing.

The more I do this work, the more I believe in exposure therapy. This is especially true when anxiety and avoidance are making life harder. Exposure therapy isn’t throwing you into the deep end; it’s therapeutic work done with a lot of intention, negotiation, support, and consent. Exposure therapy can help you really learn (not just know) when scary doesn’t mean dangerous and it can help you be more rooted in the now and less swept away by the past or the future. When that difference gets clearer, things tend to feel less scary and more of life can feel possible. It’s really cool shit.
Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET) is a specific treatment I use to process trauma and other formative experiences that may haunt you. The exposure is to specific memories (don’t worry, I help you narrow them down a lot). We work with your story until the memory feels a lot less scary/shameful/overwhelming/confusing and until it feels a lot more like it happened then and not now. I also use the specific memories to help you uncover and challenge beliefs about yourself and relationships that aren’t serving you (often a lot of the shame stuff). All of this happens while reckoning with how our most painful experiences also teach us hard truths. It’s some of the most impactful work I do.
If you've got a good feeling about this, let's talk.
I know it can be really hard to find a therapist. That doesn’t change the fact that for therapy to be effective, you need a good therapeutic fit, not just “a therapist.” It can be really discouraging to invest the time and emotional vulnerability with a therapist who can’t get in sync with you. Please don’t settle for me *just* cause I’m queer and trans and can bill your insurance. That matters but you need more! What I offer isn’t for everyone and it isn’t the right thing for all times and situations. If it doesn't seem like I'm the right fit for you, keep looking. You can try searching through Portland Therapy Center's therapist directory or ask your insurance company to help (they generally have staff who do that, but you might have to push for it).
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