Who Am I?

My name is Renee, those who are close to me call me Ren.  I am a 47-year-old Chicana (part Spaniard, part Native American – often referred to as Mestiza), born and raised in New Mexico, USA; however, I currently live in and absolutely love the Pacific Northwest.  My nationality is the United States. I often tell people (that ask me) that my family has been American citizens since the United States migrated to New Mexico. My family has been in the same area for hundreds, if not thousands of years. I am a cis-gender, heterosexual woman. If I had to pick a religion I suppose you could call me a practicing pagan; although I grew up between Catholic and Baptist values.

I have 2 children; a 23-year-old and an 19-year-old. I’m recently divorced after being with my ex for 22 years. I struggle with severe symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder and high functioning ASD (more specifically Asperger’s). When my symptoms are left unchecked and untreated, I feel lost, vulnerable, and vicious. I grew up within a low SES background, specifically between lower middle-class and low-poverty depending which parent I was with at the time. As an adult I have lived in low-poverty throughout my educational journey (for the last 19 years).

I’m telling you these things in this manner to give you an idea of how we begin what I call the “context” dance. It is my deeply valued belief that we cannot understand someone’s point of view without first understanding, at the very least, the basic content of an individual’s background and upbringing

It is my attempt to show you that although we are all “humans” with many intertwining experiences that connect us, we are also vastly unique and different from each other. My attempt in this site, in this model, in all the work I do, is to honor both the unique perspectives that each individual holds based on their experience, as well as the unifying factors that connects us all to each other.

It is obvious to many that we are in a tumultuous time in history. We are all discovering that although we may have a semblance of unity, we also hold a semblance of uniqueness in each of our experiences. When we are unable to hold on to either of these things in ourselves, or each other, we become absolute. We stretch ourselves into black and white – where we are either in or we are out. We are good or evil, right or wrong, yes or no. In a word, polarized. Polarizing in and of itself is not a bad thing. It tells us where the extreme ends of our humanity are. It becomes a bad thing when we stay there and forget that where the black and white meet, is where all of existence is created, and every single individual aspect that makes you unique becomes an absolutely stunning strand of color in this tapestry we all call life.

We are all in this together as much as we are in this alone.

P. Renee Shimek, PsyD

I completed my doctorate in clinical psychology, September 2020. I have been a psychologist resident for the last two years, practicing within community mental health. My research interests and clinical practice have primarily been around trauma and PTSD, particularly interpersonal trauma. For my dissertation research I developed this model to support others in navigating difficult interpersonal dynamics, particularly when recovering from either acute or lifelong interpersonal trauma. 

As a clinician, I work from an integrative, strengths based approach, often incorporating interventions from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.  I have been supervised by seasoned ACT, Psychodynamic, and Gestalt clinicians. Given my focus on interpersonal dynamics, my approach to therapy is also very client-centered and Psychodynamic (or attachment theory) oriented. 

Because I come from such a diverse background, I am often very acutely aware of factors of diversity that affect mental health. I understand, personally, the struggle of not “fitting in”. I support my clients in finding strength in their differences. 

I am not currently a practicing clinician at this time, but will update my information here when that changes.

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