Sharon Ernst MSW, LCSW

Professional counseling comes as a second career for me, following decades of being a business owner, and most importantly, a mother. As time freed up with the “nest” getting emptier, I volunteered at non-profit agencies serving vulnerable populations. During that time, I was struck by the level of need I witnessed and wanted to become the best helper that I could be. When the time was right, I began the journey to realizing a life-long dream of pursuing higher education and discovered Social Work as the discipline that best aligned with my personal values. Prior to establishing my private practice, I worked in several human service settings, including residential facilities, corrections, child protective services, and a variety of non-profit agencies.

“Follow your soul. It knows the way.” Author Unknown

My Goal and Values

My goal is to authentically connect with clients, providing unconditional acceptance in a safe, inviting environment. It is truly my passion to come alongside others, offering compassionate support which facilitates new possibilities for nurturing personal and relational wellness.

I regard working with clients as a sacred privilege and an honor. I highly value honesty, trust, respect, and collaboration. I bring to the therapeutic relationship a lifetime of rich experience, which has involved my own healing journey.

More About Me

My Philosophy

At one time or another, everyone encounters challenges that drain available resources and leave us feeling compromised, perhaps overwhelmed. At the very worst, our troubles seem to paralyze, make us feel lost, even struggling to maintain hope of reaching a better place. We realize, “I can’t do this on my own.” It becomes necessary to involve the help of others. And so we should. We’re not built to do life alone. Without a doubt, people need people and professional mental health services should provide that human touch in combination with the clinical skills needed for successful therapy.

Qualifications and Education

The practice of psychotherapy is regulated by the Oregon State Governor’s Office and by the Board of Clinical Social Workers. As a Clinical Social Worker, I am recognized as a qualified mental health care provider in the state of Oregon. My license number is L7866. I am also a member in good standing with the National Association of Social Workers and am subject to the code of ethics which you can access for your reference by going to I hold a Master’s Degree in Social Work, (MSW) obtained through Portland State University’s School of Social Work and graduated from there in 2012.

Therapeutic Approach

I practice from a strength-based, person-centered, culturally sensitive, Christian orientation. These elements make up the person I strive to be:

Strength-based – seeing the innate strengths and abilities in others and encouraging their vital role in the therapeutic work.

Person-centered – a person who sees clients as unique, one-of-a-kind individuals; knowing that they are so much more than a diagnosis; recognizing the need to tailor interventions to fit their specific needs.

Culturally sensitive –  a person who believes everyone has intrinsic value and is worthy of respect; coming from a place of respectful curiosity and wanting to learn from those who aren’t like me.

Christian orientation – having a deep desire to demonstrate the love and acceptance that I have received, without judgment, condemnation, or manipulation.

(Regardless of  belief system, background, or orientation, the topic of faith and sharing a biblical perspective is only done at the request of the client.)