A little about my background...
As a California native, I moved to the Pacific Northwest for school and fell in love with it. I earned my bachelor's degree in Counseling Psychology from University of Oregon, and my master’s degree in Marriage and Family Counseling from City University in Bellevue, Washington.
I spent 19 years as a partner at Pransky and Associates, a consulting and coaching practice in La Conner, Washington. There I co-founded the Online Learning Division of the company and co-created a suite of online courses on personal development and relationships that have reached 35 countries around the globe.
I am a frequent webinar presenter and I speak at conferences both nationally and internationally. While I love working with all types of people, I’ve discovered a particular talent and passion for helping teens, young adults, and couples or individuals looking for relationship help.
I've been married for 20 years and have two teenagers, aged 14 and 17. Outside of work I love music, my two dogs (most of the time), taking road trips, day hikes, binge-watching a good tv show, and finding the perfect movie quote for any situation.
On a personal note
One of the reasons I love working with teenagers and young adults so much is that for me, those years are somehow still vivid and fresh in my mind. And they weren't great. I ended up going off the rails when I hit 13, becoming very dark, angry and withdrawn. I was an emotional mess, loathing everyone, myself included, and so easily irritated I could barely be around people, then felt ashamed and misunderstood after exploding.
I had a lot of bad elements around me and became hopeless and detached about my life and my future. But I reached out for help, and once I discovered I could get out from under the grips of my mind and got my life back, it sparked a desire to help other people that are young and struggling to feel a sense of connection, relief, and control again.
I’ve found that I connect easily with teens and young adults and appreciate their honesty and freshness, which makes my work a genuine labor of love for me.
What compels me most about helping people with their relationships is this: everyone’s looking for a connection, yet nobody really knows where to find it. Feeling a connection and a chemistry with someone else is wired into our biology, it’s something we’re supposed to be good at naturally. And we are, sometimes.
Yet people’s minds, their thoughts, get in the way and can make someone feel alone and isolated even though they’re married or sitting right next to someone.
What I’ve found in my experience helping people in their relationships is that once people understand how connection and chemistry work, they’re able to connect with someone else regardless of compatibility, personality type, whether they’ve ever had that kind of connection, or whether they had it and lost it.
Connection is at the heart of all relationships, yours too. The better you understand connection and what it has to do with you, the easier and more fulfilling your relationships will be.
Kara Stamback, M.S.
Kara Stamback, M.S. is the other member of my coaching team. Kara was my business partner for 20 years at Pransky and Associates, where we worked with families and young people as a team regularly. When I couldn't get through to someone, I'd bring her in. We work seamlessly together and her clinical and listening skills are at the level of my own, if not beyond.
But maybe the biggest draw for me in collaborating with Kara is that she's not just my colleague, she's also my sister. Which means that when I went over to the dark side as a teen myself, Kara, 2 years older than me, was my anchor. For almost two years she was the only person I was willing to be open with and talk to.
She wasn't scared of my moods or instability, she didn't react to my storms of crying, rage, intensity, or sullenness. She saw a sane person in me when I looked unhinged to myself and everyone else. And that kept me grounded. She brings that calm and certainty into her work with parents and teens and has pretty much seen it all.
The other element Kara brings is a unique outlook I never had. While I'd given up on life and myself as a teen, Kara was a high-achiever, driven and pressured, with a big dose of perfectionism. She had to find her own way through the anxiety and tension that brought as a young person before she found her well-being in the face of all the setbacks and impossible standards that can often immobilize teens.
As a result, she truly 'gets' the young people and parents that struggle in nearly every area.
Kara earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology at University of California, Riverside and masters in psychology at Western Washington University. She's facilitated programs in organizations including BAE Systems, Navistar International, Chihuly Inc., and University of Washington Counseling Center, Kids4Kids, and the Anacortes Teen Center.
Kara lives in La Conner, Washington with her husband of 21 years have three teenagers, two cats, a few very social chickens, and a gigantic lizard.