Steven was drawn to the field of psychology initially for personal reasons, but eventually found that he had a knack for holding space for people and allowing them to be present as their truest selves.

Steven graduated with a Bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University in 2009, and a Master’s degree from University of Utah in 2014. He has over 9 years of experience as a licensed CMHC and certified hypnotherapist. His areas of expertise include queer issues, faith transitions, shame, non-monogamous relationships, kink/BDSM, identity concerns, and codependency.

He is a former member of the Queer Therapist’s Guild of Utah, and has worked closely with the kink community in Chicago, teaching one or two classes per year. He has worked in private practices during his career, but has also spent time providing counseling services at a community sexual health clinic, and working with ComPsych, an Employee Assistance Program, both in Chicago.

Steven believes kindness and authenticity are the best ways to connect with other people. Past clients have dubbed him “Mr. Rogers”, because he listens “deeper” than other clinicians and allows space for a person’s humanity rather than getting lost in clinical diagnoses. Most of his clients are also planning to come with him after he wraps up at his other practice.

“The small breakthroughs when a client speaks kindly to themselves, allows themselves to make a mistake, lets go of something heavy or continues in the face of adversity, are all wonderful examples of how hard and beautiful it is to be human. I don’t believe it’s possible for anyone to hate themselves into change. It can only come from love.”

The youngest of three boys, his family is originally from South Africa. He has visited 3 times, and traveled to 22 countries, as well as most of the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii 24 times. Steven originally wanted to be a pilot and loves airplanes. If one is flying overhead, he can probably identify what type it is. A fan of Utah snow, he likes to snowboard in the winter, and enjoys creative reality shows, like cooking, baking, home remodels, and others. He can play the violin and double bass, and has played in orchestras and symphonies, including Carnegie Hall at age 16. He has also seen 4 of the 7 natural wonders of the world.

Steven’s older brother died in a car accident after quitting heroin, a loss that deeply impacted his life. Because of this, he has an acute understanding of the difficulties surrounding grief, loss, addiction and trauma. Also, after growing up in the Mormon faith, being a queer kid in Utah, coming out at BYU, and experiencing religious trauma, Steven began attending therapy himself. He regularly attends a support group to keep his skills sharp, and practices kindness and acceptance around his own difficulties. His experiences make him uniquely qualified to serve his clients and also provide him with a strategic vantage point regarding shame. He is better able to meet people where they are, and create a place of acceptance rather than expectations for change.

He is passionate about queer rights, and that no human being is illegal. Working within the queer community has allowed him to sit with and explore a variety of different identities, and how the stories people tell themselves about who they are, come to reflect their reality.

“I do my best to foster an individual’s sense of self worth. Life isn’t about loving yourself, it’s learning to love ‘being’ yourself!”

The most important lesson Steven wants people to learn is that better mental health is a slow, thoughtful, intentional process. Thinking your way to a better way of living isn’t possible. You have to make choices, and live them, in order to improve things. The purpose of therapy isn’t happiness, but acceptance of the ups and downs of life.