Why “Brackenfern” Psychotherapy”? The bracken fern is a hardy perennial that can be found all around the globe in environments as diverse as dry grasslands and mossy forests. It represents both resilience and rootedness. The bracken fern grows where the land has been troubled—where roads have been cut or fires have raged. Because it is a rhizome (a complex, subterranean network of stems and roots), bracken fern can survive harsh conditions and grow back even stronger than before. It is both alive and ancient, poisonous and medicinal. It’s considered a weed but can also play an important role in ecological succession. Where are you in your own process of living, dying, rejoicing, and grieving? How have you descended, ripened, and grown again?
For a little bit about my own journey, please read on!
My name is Claire. I live in Port Townsend, WA, the ancestral home of the Coast Salish people, including the S’Klallam and the Chimacum. My ancestors were immigrants from Scandinavia and Europe who settled in and around the Olympic Peninsula, specifically Lake Ozette and Port Angeles, where I grew up. I feel deeply connected to this land and its inhabitants, past and present. On my daily walks and bike rides, I greet bald eagles, deer, hummingbirds, crows, seals, and perhaps a pod of orcas if I am lucky! I look up into the dense canopies of cedar, fir, and madrona festooned with ferns, moss and lichen, and across the Strait of Juan de Fuca or Puget Sound to Mount Baker and Mount Rainier. I believe that who I am is where I am from and with whom I make my home. The people in my community speak English, Spanish, Cantonese, Korean, and Japanese (to name a few!). I live in an extended family network with my daughter, my partner, our sisters and brothers, my parents and my partner’s parents, and the animal companions who are also part of our family. I was raised to love reading, music, and art, so another home of mine is in books and in learning.
Becoming both an existential therapist and a drama therapist was like coming back home for me, because it synthesizes my two main interests: performance and philosophy. I began my formal education with a passion for theatre, but also for literature and research. I forged a path for myself that culminated in a PhD in performance studies from the University of California at Davis, which launched my first career in teaching college drama. I spent seven years as a professor of dramatic literature at Sogang University in Seoul, South Korea. But work in counseling and therapy had been calling to me from early on. When I decided to begin a new career outside of academia, training with the Existential Phenomenological program with Seattle University’s department of psychology was a very natural fit. Currently, I am a full-time clinician at Discovery Behavioral Healthcare, a community clinic, in Port Townsend. Please visit my scholarly website at www.clairemariachambers.com to learn more about my research and writing.
My interests as a therapist are the same interests I have as a person and a scholar. Those interests are fundamental questions: what does it mean to be an individual with others in society, across and through time? How do we perform ourselves spiritually and politically, individually and communally? What is freedom? What is responsibility? It is a great blessing to be able to grapple with the questions that call to me deeply while at the same time serving others. One primary aim of therapy is to discover the fundamental questions that shape your life. A fulfilling life is the ongoing, genuine attempt to answer these questions. Therapy is the co-creation of such response.