Mara McGraw, MSW - Relational Mindfulness for individuals, couples & moresomes

I am a quirky, unstoppable, disruptive, creative force of nature and nurture. 

From an early age I thought I'd become a teacher. In 1996 I relocated to Portland from Minnesota to pursue my Bachelor's degree in Child and Family Studies and intended to continue at Portland State University in the graduate teaching program, however, during my internship at a youth shelter I discovered the wisdom in teaching people life skills to transform dysfunctional behaviors through awareness, acceptance and action.I completed my Masters in Social Work from PSU in 2002 and worked in a variety of mental health agencies providing DBT skills and counseling until I opened my private practice in 2012 specializing in relational mindfulness. Today I work primarily with couples and moresomes of all composites, and individuals seeking to deepen their understanding of the self inside relationships with a special focus on managing multiple relationships and ethical non-monogamy. 

My clients appreciate my sense of humor, enthusiasm, straightforward approach, nonjudgmental stance and “out-of-the-box” perspective. We utilize the therapeutic relationship as a tool to address current ideas of self and others, relational issues and how the past distorts our perceptions of the present moment, and emotional distractions such as fear, worry and shame that block us from accessing our authentic selves . In session we use a variety of strategies to identify patterns and triggers, increase awareness of short and long-term outcomes, and evoke courage and self compassion to act on solutions. Interventions focus on skills in the areas of mindfulness, effective communication, relational consequences, values clarification, distress tolerance, emotion exploration and regulation; with an emphasis on the context versus the symptom and striving to identify the root of the issue and generating agreements versis rules. Through this in-vivo process we engage in "real-plays" versus role plays, giving you experiential access to rehearsing new ways of thinking and relating that are more closely aligned with your authentic self, and then we create a plan to practice this new way of being in your daily life. 

My approach is founded in mindfulness and behaviorism, including evidence based practices. I am a counselor with advanced and intensive training with the creator of Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Marsha Linehan, PhD and her research and training affiliate Behavioral Tech, LLC. I have extensive experiential training in Functional Analytic Psychotherapy created by Mavis Tsai and Bob Kohlenberg at the University of Washington, and I'm trained in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy through the Association of Contextual Behaviorism.  

Member, leader and organizer for local sex positive and kink education communities:
Living Love Revolution
Portland Ecosex Community

A.A.S. in Child Development from Minneapolis Community & Technical College 1996
B.S. in Child & Family Studies from Portland State University 1998
M.S.W. from Portland State University 2002

License, Certificates and Awards

In September 2016 I voluntarily place my license into in-active status to increase my therapeutic flexibility
LCSW# 4308 with the Oregon State Board of Licensed Clinical Social Workers (verify) from 2008-20016
PSU President's Award for Outstanding Community Service in 2002