Karlaina Brooke, PsyD
Karlaina Brooke received her doctorate in clinical psychology from Baylor University. She completed an APA-approved clinical internship at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, where she studied under two of the foremost psychologists in the field of sexual functioning, Sandra Leiblum, Ph.D. and Raymond Rosen, Ph.D. She is licensed to practice psychology in Oregon and Washington.
As part of her specialty in female and male sexual functioning and women's health, Dr. Brooke regularly conducts individual and couple therapy, consults with medical and mental health providers regarding the care of their patients, and has assisted in the training of medical students. In addition to her clinical practice, she speaks to a variety of audiences throughout the year on topics related to sexual health, intimacy, and relationships. From 2002 to 2004, Dr. Brooke was a member of a research team funded by the National Institutes of Health studying treatment options for vulvodynia, a sexual pain condition.
Dr. Brooke also enjoys working with adults and adolescents with a variety of mental health concerns, including depression, anxiety, and trauma.
Michael Brooke, PsyD
"Personally I found Michael to be a pleasure to work with. He related easily and well and has a style that allows for open and honest exchanges" -Stuart Tuckman, PhD
An explorer is born…
I grew up in the Big Sky Country of Montana. Outdoor exploration was right at my fingertips. Hiking in the Rocky Mountains, rafting down the Big Hole River, and camping in the Deerlodge National Forest are some of my favorite memories. My dad taught me how to fish and took me into the forest, and my teenage friends taught me all about rafting.
During my childhood, I thought that exploring new places was the only way to travel into the great unknown. I had some grueling adventures, such as camping in 25 degrees below freezing temperatures for four cold, cold days. However, my outdoor adventures were easy in comparison to the perils of honest self-reflection and interpersonal exploration.
Will I survive uncharted territory?
Along with my sense of adventure, I enjoyed learning and did well in school. Soon I was a high school sophomore. There was a high school senior who I admired because he was smart, likable, a talented writer, and a good talker. His dad was a surgeon, and they all lived in a nice house and seemed like a very happy family. I admired him and wanted to be like him.
One Monday when I went to school, I was informed that he had committed suicide. I was emotionally crushed. How could someone with so much to offer the world do something like that? What did that mean for my future since I was smart, likeable, and had wanted to follow in his academic footsteps? I didn’t want to end my life, but I also didn’t know how to pick up the pieces of my shattered sense of self.
I was ashamed of how badly I felt and didn’t want my friends and family to know. Even though I was only fifteen, I wanted to be a “big man” and deal with this on my own (what was I thinking??). However, I was lost. School no longer mattered, my friends and family no longer mattered, and daily life seemed painful and lonely. I was grieving and depressed but didn’t know it.
Unexpected guidance through uncharted terrain
Somehow, I had the sense to go see a therapist. He recognized how much I was hurting because of this loss. He didn’t look down on me for reaching out for help. He helped me heal my heart and rebuild my self-esteem. He helped me to reach out to my family and friends for support.
This experience greatly increased my compassion for humanity because I realized that personal or relationship problems can overwhelm any of us at any time in our lives. It helped me see how valuable a psychologist can be in helping a person who is going through troubling terrain.
When it came to choosing a profession, this difficult and life-enriching experience made me realize that being a clinical psychologist would be a rewarding profession.
Should I pursue this psychology adventure?
I now realized that personal and relationship dynamics were as ripe an area of exploration as any outdoor adventure. I dove into my training by getting my bachelor's degree in psychology at the University of Oregon and graduating magna cum laude. I took two years off from academics to work in a residential facility for children and spend time living with my favorite grandma. She was a woman who survived the Great Depression with her sense of humor and joy for life intact. She taught me to speak honestly, care deeply, and pursue my dreams.
Then I earned my doctorate in clinical psychology at Rutgers University. This program emphasized hands-on experience with people, people, people from day one. I’ve had the privilege to help children, adults, and couples in emergency rooms, hospital settings, schools, clinics, and in private practice. After twenty years of mental health experience, I still enjoy my work immensely.
Why journey into couples therapy?
Our most intimate relationships are as essential to our well-being as eating and breathing. I’m able to enjoy my relationship with my wife more, and give more as a parent to our three children when we can manage relationship stress well.
When there is tension for a couple that keeps leading to hurt feelings and fighting, then both parties are being poisoned by the tension. Soon each person feels worse about him/herself and each person’s ability to be a parent, a working professional, and a friend is negatively impacted.
I enjoy helping couples repair emotional hurts and relationship damage. I like seeing the positive impact of couple therapy on all aspects of the couple’s personal and professional journey.
Why wade into the field of sex therapy?
Our society focuses on sexuality and body image to sell everything from clothes to cars. Sex and “sexy bodies” are constantly in our faces, yet there are virtually no healthy venues where we can learn about our own personal needs for intimacy and sensuality. All the sexist messages we hear growing up and misinformation the media touts can make true intimacy difficult for any couple.
I have had good teachers, training, and interpersonal relationships that have helped me learn to talk about sexual intimacy in a direct, clear, and compassionate manner. I find that helping couples learn some new skills, along with clarifying misconceptions about intimacy, rewards couples with renewed passion and self-respect.
My experience and passion is your guide.
I’ve seen hundreds upon hundreds of men, women, and couples as a mental health professional. What I’ve learned from their experiences and what I know from my training becomes your wise guide through the “rocky patch” that you are walking through. My experience means that you don’t have to walk alone in uncharted territory. You don’t have to stumble into dangerous terrain. You can let me guide you to a the clear and fruitful path.