to inside passage Counseling

We believe we are stronger together. But often, smooth navigation requires expert guidance.

Whether you are in search of individual therapy, counseling for your teen or child, or a deeper connection with yourself or your partner, we are so glad you are here. 

Licensed Mental Health Therapists in Bellingham, Washington.

Now accepting new clients for both in-person and telehealth sessions.

About Inside Passage Counseling?

James Hamblin aptly said, “Life is a constant tension between the need to be close to others and the need to protect ourselves from others.”

At Inside Passage Relationship Counseling, we know that all humans have parts of them that long to connect, and parts that want to protect. Our specialty is helping clients create safety within themselves, and among their most important relationships, so that they can spend more time at ease connecting, and less time alone and protecting.

Whether you are experiencing problems in your personal, professional or intimate life, Inside Passage Counseling can help you learn to mindfully explore the inner paths of your heart so that you can live a more authentically connected, healthy life. 

Our Mission

At Inside Passage Counseling, we believe in the power of compassion, curiosity, connection, clarity and courage to heal the internal relationship to oneself and the primary relationships in one’s life. It is our mission to help clients build secure bonds through empirically and clinically validated therapy methods so that they can experience the warmth and well-being that comes with deep, authentic connection. 

Inside Passage Counseling Services

Inside Passage Relationship Counseling is a group practice focused on providing the highest quality counseling services to individuals, couples, children, teens, and families. Our specialty focus is supporting healthy, healing relationships with one’s self (emotions, thoughts, behaviors, and body), and with one’s most important primary relationships (partner, spouse, child, parents, and family).

Therapy for:


  • Low self-esteem
  • Anxiety and Depression
  • Mood disorders
  • Trauma resolution
  • Grief
  • Internal conflict
  • Life transitions
  • Sexuality
  • Self-identity
  • Relationship issues
  • Boundaries
  • Self-empowerment
  • Emotional Regulation

Couples and

  • Communication
  • Emotional connection
  • Sexual connection
  • Infidelity and betrayal
  • Trust issues
  • Pre-marital counseling
  • Fertility, preparing for childbirth, and the post-partum period
  • Life transitions

Children, Teens And Family

  • Trauma
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depression and mood disorders
  • ADHD
  • Transitions
  • Adjusting to divorce
  • Social challenges
  • Gender identity
  • Attachment issues
  • Behavior challenges
Meet The Inside Passage Counseling Team

Our professional team of licensed counselors and therapists boast a wide variety of training in evidence-based therapies such as Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT), Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS), Gottman Method Couples Therapy, and trauma therapies such as EMDR, Brainspotting, and Trauma Release Therapy.

Our therapists are hand-selected by our founder Heather Varnau, LMHC for their quality of character and dedication to  mindfulness-based, attachment-oriented, trauma-informed approaches to working with individuals, couples, children, and families.

Heather Varnau, founder and therapist at Inside Passage Counseling

Heather Varnau, MA, LMHC (she/her)

Founder, Supervisor, Therapist

Specializing in: Adult Individuals and Couples Therapy

Heather is passionate about helping individuals and couples reconnect with themselves and each other. She is a Certified Internal Family Systems (IFS) Therapist and Approved IFS Clinical Consultant, and a Certified EFT Couples Therapist and Supervisor-in-Training. Heather has had the honor of helping hundreds of individuals and couples in private practice for the past 16 years and has spent over 15,000 hours training and practicing her craft.

headshot of Laura Gambrel PhD therapist at Inside Passage Counseling

Laura Gambrel, PhD, LMHC (she/her)

Supervisor, Therapist

Specializing in: Couples and Marriage Therapy

Laura is an experienced therapist and an AAMFT Approved Supervisor, specializing in couples therapy. Bringing a holistic and systemic approach to working with clients, she supports them in transforming communication patterns  through  Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT), Gottman Method Couples Therapy, and PREPARE/ENRICH, and Mindfulness.

Available by telehealth only.

Headshot of Jeni Quigg, mindfulness therapist

Jeni Quigg, MA, MHCA (She/Her)


Specializing in: Kids, Teens, Families, Adult Individuals

Jeni brings 20 years of experience and specializes in helping individual adults, children, and teens with self-soothing techniques, deep trauma release work, mind-body collaboration in healing for autoimmune disease, and mindfulness instruction. She is passionate about helping clients learn how to connect to their most wise and compassionate self.

Carla Mullins, MA, LMHC (she/her)


Specializing in: Individual Adult Therapy & Couples Therapy

Carla has 25 combined years’ experience in the human services, counseling, and education sectors. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Washington State and trained in a number of different methods, including DBT, Trauma-Focused CBT, Gottman Method Couples Therapy, and Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT). Carla draws from her experience as a member of the LGBTQ+ community and specializes in trauma, attachment, and life transitions. She also has an extensive understanding of topics related to addiction recovery, codependency, relationship issues, and parenting. 

headshot of Stephanie Bracamonte, therapist at Inside Passage Counseling

Stephanie Bracamonte, LMFT (she/her)


Specializing in: Couples and Marriage 

Stephanie has 20 years of experience as a professional therapist and takes a systematic approach to improving family dynamics, communication and relationships. She works with couples, families and individuals to promote self-awareness and personal growth using a variety of models including Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT) and Gottman Method Therapy.

Headshot of Emily Patterson, Therapist at Inside Passage Counseling

Emily Patterson, LICSW, LMSW (She/her)


Specializing in: Adult Individuals and Teens

Emily is dedicated to supporting her clients in their desire to find more wholeness, aliveness, acceptance, and peace within themselves. Utilizing multiple modalities including CBT, Internal Family Systems (IFS) Therapy, EMDR, AEDP, and mindfulness techniques, Emily works with individual adult and teen clients navigating life transitions, doubt, grief, anxiety, overwhelm, and fear.

Megan Rhea is a talented counselor at Inside Passage Counseling

Megan Rhea, MS, LMHC (She/Her)


Specializing in: Couples and Marriage 

Coming from a background in education, Megan has a Master’s degree in Marital and Family therapy, and specializes in Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT). Using attachment informed methods, she is passionate about helping individuals and couples reach their full potential, both within themselves and within their most important relationships

Merry Capozzolo, MS, LMHCA (she/her)


Specializing in: Couples, Families, and Individuals

As a Licensed Mental Health Counselor Associate in Washington state with advanced training in Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT) Merry specializes in guiding couples, families and individuals through the challenges that come with transitions, loss and trauma. Using attachment-based, trauma-informed approaches, she will walk alongside you, helping you to regulate strong emotions, strengthen your most important relationships, and grow your personal confidence.

Inside Passage Therapists vow to:

Diversity and Inclusion

We aim to cultivate a climate of inclusion, an environment where all can feel safe, valued, cared for, and given an opportunity to form meaningful connections with each other. In all facets of our work we strive to embody what we hope to see in the world — a just, loving humanity and community in which people are free to be themselves fully — where people can embrace their most basic universal human connection needs without fear of persecution or marginalization as a result of religion, race, ethnic or national origin, sexual orientation, gender expression, age, class, mental health, physical character or disability.

Getting Started

Often the most important step you will ever take is the first one. We want to make it as easy as possible for you to get the assistance you need. Here is a step-by-step process to guide you in knowing what to expect.

Step 1

Reaching out

When you reach out to Inside Passage Relationship Counseling you will receive a prompt response from our scheduling and intake coordinator, Chris (he/him).

Chris will gather information from you about your desired counseling service, your scheduling availability, and desired treatment format (telehealth or in-person) and work with you to schedule an initial session with your therapist of choice.

Step 2

Initial Sessions

We believe that therapy is most successful when the match between therapist and client is an optimal fit. We will schedule you for an initial session with a therapist that we believe will be a good fit for you, and the initial session is a way of meeting with your therapist to see if you feel comfortable with him/her, and whether your therapist’s skills and style will be the most successful approach to help you meet your goals. If your therapist and you believe working together will be a good fit, then Chris will work with you to schedule ongoing therapy sessions on a weekly or every other week basis. If working together is not the right fit, we can work with you to find a better match with another therapist at Inside Passage or outside of our practice.

Step 3

Ongoing Treatment

Our therapists are trained in highly effective treatment methods to help clients meet their goals. The length of treatment depends on your needs and can range from short-term (a few sessions) to longer-term (multiple months). Your therapist will work with you to tailor your treatment to your unique situation and goals. The majority of our clients are highly satisfied with the care they receive at Inside Passage and a high number of clients describe their therapy experience as “very helpful” or “life-changing.”

Professional Endorsements

“Heather is a dynamite clinician. She is that wonderful blend of very smart and deeply intuitive. I refer people to Inside Passage Counseling frequently and with the utmost confidence.”

Connie Feutz, MA, LMHC

“I often need to refer my patients to a qualified couples counselor and for over 10 years it has been an absolute relief to recommend Inside Passage Counseling."

Charlotte Underwood, MA, LMHC
    Combined Education and Training

    Rates and Insurance

    The fees for 50-minute sessions range from $150-$225, depending on the service type and therapist. We are not contracted with health insurance companies and do not bill health insurance directly. However, most of our services are eligible for reimbursement from health insurance companies, and we offer insurance receipts after every session.

    Are you ready for lasting change?

    Schedule an initial session today.