green and brown

Reconnect with your openness, wisdom and kindness.

What do you most need?

  • Improved Relationships 
  • Alignment with the Challenges of Aging
  • Support Navigating a Life Threatening or Chronic Illness 
  • Repaired Relationship with Self
  • Relief from Depression and Anxiety. 

Schedule a free 20 minute consultation

(503) 922-6330

Mornings at Blackwater

by Mary Oliver

For years, every morning, I drank

from Blackwater Pond

It was flavored with oak leaves and also, no doubt,

the feet of ducks.


And always it assuaged me

from the dry bowl of the very far past.


What I want to say is

that the past is the past,

and the present is what your life is,

and you are capable

of choosing what that will be,

darling citizen.


So come to the pond,

or the river of your imagination,

or the harbor of your longing,


and put your lips to the world.

And live

your life.


image of EH

This is a favorite poem and photo of me. My version of "Blackwater Pond" is wild berries. In this photo I'm three days into a hike. I've been picking and eating blueberries on remote Alaskan tundra. I'm feeling connected to an intrinsic healthiness and sense of belonging - one I sometimes struggle to recognize in myself. But, with support and practice, it has become easier.


My training and experience have prepared me to help people in many kinds of pain and difficulty but I’m most effective with people feeling alienated or misplaced. Perhaps you make unconventional choices in your career path, relationships, or life interests. You are thoughtful and curious. You may struggle to know yourself, to like yourself, to feel good in relationships or to have a secure sense  of purpose and meaning.


I also specialize in concerns related to long-term care giving, chronic illness, changes of aging, spiritual inquiry and end-of-life preparation. Much of my clinical experience has been with people 65 and older. I've provided in-home direct care for people with dementia, stroke paralysis, and other complex presentations. Recently, I provided care for a friend in the final stages of ALS.


Communities that I care for and directly relate to include: LGBTQIA, spiritual seekers, activists, artists, people with unconventional relationships and careers.



Contemplative Psychotherapy

The foundation of my training is a contemplative approach rooted in Buddhist psychology. This view holds that our fundamental nature is open, wise and kind and that in each of us there is basic healthiness that is always accessible. When we lose touch with this innate health we can become depressed, anxious and angry.

This way of working together supports a non-judgemental, non-pathologizing environment full of curiosity and discovery.

Relating openly to the whole of our lives, the difficult parts included, develops greater flexibility, connection, and compassion for self and others.

Formal Education and Training

I hold a master’s degree in Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology from Naropa University. This is my foundation. I find wisdom in attachment theory, Existential Humanism, Internal Family Systems, Motivational Interviewing, and liberation psychology, as well as fiction, music, and poetry. My earlier education includes a bachelor’s degree in religious ethics and a master’s degree in arts administration. My background includes work in social justice and arts organizations with a focus on using creativity to confront economic and racial oppression.  My path to becoming a counselor has not been direct. This diversity of experience broadened my perspective and fuels my avoidance of psychobabble. As an Intern registered with the Oregon Board of Licensed Professional Counselors and Therapists, I abide by its Code of Ethics. I am supervised by Barbara Segal, LPC, CHT (license C4422) a licensed professional counselor, and Tever Nickerson, LPC (license  C3163) a licensed professional counselor.


I offer counseling to adults. Primarily, I’m meeting with people by videocalls, sometimes referred to as telehealth. I use a secure platform called SimplePractice. With your laptop or smartphone, we can see and hear each other and share time together. Beginning in September, I will have limited in-person sessions in downtown Portland. If your situation calls for it, we can discuss options like sessions in your home or in a park. Fees for a typical 50 minute session range between $80 - $150. Currently, I am accepting only private pay clients.

Email to schedule a free 20 min phone conversation.

You can get a first impression to help you decide if you’d like start a therapeutic relationship. I’ll also ask some questions about why you are seeking a therapist. It will likely be clear to us if we should continue with intake and schedule a first session. If I’m not the right support for you, if requested, I’ll do my best to offer a referral to a different therapist who knows a lot about what you are experiencing. I am able to respond to most email within two business days.

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If you could use immediate support,

please call the Multnomah Crisis Line at 503-988-4888.

Erin Harrell Counseling
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