Pam Vandenaker, CMHC
Specializing in Young
Adults, Couples/Relationship, Trauma, Codependency & Infidelity
Level Three Trained in Gottman Couples Therapy; Basic, Advanced, and Enhanced Levels ART Training*
EDUCATION AND TRAINING
Pam graduated from California State University, Hayward, in 1993, receiving her master’s degree in Marriage, Family and Child Counseling. Upon completion of her degree she moved to Utah, and became a Licensed Professional Counselor, which was later renamed to Clinical Mental Health Counselor. She also has a BS in English, minoring in Family Life, and has always been a lover of books, literature, fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.
Pam worked with doctors, psychiatrists, and other therapists for more than 16 years in treatment centers, hospitals, ERs, and psychiatric facilities. She worked for 10 of those years in the field of addiction recovery, which is where she learned and came to love the field of recovery and the concepts of the Twelve Steps. She was the clinical director at Willow Tree Recovery for six years before entering private practice. While still in graduate school at CSU Pam took outside courses in addiction, self-development, and art therapy at both UC Berkeley and St. Mary’s College in California, and has continued pursuing these interests throughout her nearly 30 year career.
Pam has been passionate about being up to date as a therapist, and has continued to pursue her counseling education with some of the leaders in the field. Some of these include couples experts John and Julie Gottman (Pam is Level Three trained), Terry Real (Relational Life Therapy), Steven B. Hayes, (ACT–Acceptance and Commitment Therapy), Tian Dayton, (Psychodrama and Relationship Trauma Repair)), and Laney Rosenzweig, *(Acceleration Resolution Therapy (ART). Pam enjoys using ART because of the benefits she has witnessed in the clients who use it. ART is an eye movement therapy that works directly to reprogram the way in which distressing memories and images are stored in the brain so that they no longer trigger strong physical and emotional reactions. The use of rapid eye movements is similar to eye movements that occur during dreaming. ART does not use hypnotherapy and can be utilized with other therapies and medical treatments.
Pam genuinely cares about families, and the major impact of family life in both healthy and unhealthy families, having done her own work in large workshops with one of the early experts in the field of recovery, John Bradshaw. This fueled her desire to help others with recovery from dysfunctional families, codependency, addiction, and boundary problems within a family system. Pam loves to support parents, adult children, old and new couples, and family members, and help them understand what works and what doesn’t in the family system. She generally uses a gentle approach but can go straight to the heart of a family issue as well.
Pam believes in the healing power of art, is what you might call a “creative,” and has always pursued interests in writing, painting, and art, and even won a few ribbons in local art contests in 2023. When possible and appropriate, she likes to offer paper on a clipboard to her clients and allow them to write or draw to explore their feelings, needs, or circumstances. She likes to work with her clients as part of a team, helping them uncover and discover their own power and problem solving skills, and begin to move down their own path to healing. She is also a writer, a nature lover, a walker, and a mother of five grown children. She loves spending time with family and travelling to anywhere there is a beautiful view or a beach