I grew up just outside of Tacoma, WA, in a suburban working-class area called Parkland. I am an Air Force brat with my dad making a 20+ year career serving in the military. My mom was from Scotland, which provided me and my brothers with a rich immigrant family experience.
The block I grew up on was like our own United Nations, having families and kids from all walks of life, world experiences, religious backgrounds, and ethnicities. We played together and had to figure out how to resolve the inevitable conflicts that would arise. I was immersed in a multicultural environment that taught me the value of diversity, the importance of communication, engagement, and empathy for others.
My neighborhood experiences and my natural affinity for deeper reflection and connection to others paved the way for my career in education and counseling. I earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and went on to pursue a master’s degree in counseling. I am in my 24th year as a tenured counselor practicing in higher education. The college where I work has one of the most diverse student populations and I am comfortable working with individuals from all backgrounds. I have made it my life's work in supporting individuals in exploring themselves and achieving their goals. I’d say it’s been a good life for a working-class kid and first-generation college student like me!
Outside of my professional identity, I enjoy hanging out with my family and friends, playing tennis, working out, and gardening. In fact, the photo on this page is of me standing by one of 10 maple trees I care for on my small postage stamp lot in North Tacoma. This lace-leaf maple, and its curved branches, is the inspiration for my business logo.
Tying in my deeper and higher philosophy from my home page, trees are a wonderful example of thriving in some pretty tough circumstances. Their root systems go deeper and their branches go higher to support their growth. But, in some cases, they also need nurturing. Perhaps the canopy needs thinning, or maybe extra watering during the heat of summer. I believe it is the perfect metaphor for people! We naturally have the DNA blueprint for growth, but sometimes we just need some support to really ground ourselves so that we can soar to new heights!
I am happy to connect with you for a free 15-minute discussion to determine whether we could be a good therapeutic fit. Schedule it now here.
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Stephen Coates-White, LMHC #LH61345226