Bellingham Physical Therapy employs skilled clinicians whose primary interest is giving each client the best possible physical therapy experience. We love our work and are interesting individuals too.
Physical therapists are licensed through the state of Washington. They must have a degree in physical therapy from an accredited school, the majority of which are entry level doctorate programs, and pass a national board exam to meet licensure requirements. They must complete 32 hours of continuing education every two years to retain licensure, a requirement that our therapists usually far exceed. All of our physical therapists are members of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and the Physical Therapy Association of Washington (PTWA). Physical therapists are responsible for performing evaluations and working with patients identify treatment goals, develop and manage their plan of care.
Physical therapist assistants (PTA) graduate with an associate’s degree from an accredited 1 ½ to 2 year program. Physical therapists are licensed in Washington State, and must complete 24 hours of continuing education every two years. They assist in carrying out the plan of care that is established by the physical therapist. Our physical therapist assistants provide unique and valuable skills and insights, working closely with your therapist to help you meet your goals.
Personal Trainers are certified through a certifying agency that is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). They must complete a self-paced course and pass a certifying exam in order to become a Certified Personal Trainer (CPT). Every 2 years they must complete a minimum of 20 hours of continuing education to ensure they are staying current with best practice guidelines, and to expand their skills and knowledge. Personal Trainers create and deliver individualized exercise programs that are safe and effective for their clients. At Bellingham Physical Therapy we offer the unique opportunity for our personal trainers to work in conjunction with our physical therapy clinicians in order to deliver fitness programming that is personalized to the needs of each individual.
We also employ physical therapy aides that are trained on the job to assist with application of modalities, and keep our treatment rooms and clinic clean. They work under the direction of the physical therapist.
MEET OUR STAFF
Kris Carlson, PT
Kris graduated from the University of Montana in 1989 with a Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy. Prior to this, she attended Montana State University from 1983 to 1987, where she was majoring in physical education with a sports medicine option.
Kris began her physical therapy career in Bellingham at St. Joseph Hospital, rotating through all rehab settings, working with both neurologic and orthopedic patients. After working for a home health agency and an orthopedic clinic, Kris joined the team at Bellingham Physical Therapy in 1998. She has been a member of the American Physical Therapy Association since 1987. She earned a clinical specialization certification in orthopedic physical therapy (OCS) from the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties in 2009.
Variety is the spice of work for Kris, and she enjoys treating a wide range of patients with orthopedic issues. She uses an integrated, holistic approach to create a course of treatment that addresses the needs of each individual. She combines manual therapy techniques with therapeutic exercise and works with optimizing movement patterns. She loves helping a person find the tools for self-management of symptoms, enabling them to play an active role in their rehab process.
Kris’ continuing education includes a variety of specialized manual therapy techniques; osteopathic muscle energy technique, Jones Strain Counterstrain, Maitland spinal and peripheral joint mobilization, and Manual Ligament Therapy. Her coursework encompasses Sahrmann muscle imbalances and movement disorders, classes with Diane Lee and L.J. Lee on the lumbo-pelvic-hip and the thorax-shoulder complexes, geriatric orthopedics, courses specific to the spine and pelvic girdle, running mechanics and injury rehabilitation, and KinesioTaping. Most recently, she completed The Barral Institute’s Visceral Mobilization series. Kris is a student of Iyengar Yoga, and delights in integrating the “gems of yoga wisdom” into her physical therapy practice.
Growing up in Alaska, Kris developed a love for outdoor activity in all seasons. She now finds happiness sharing outdoor pursuits with her husband Dean and son Devon in this beautiful corner of the PNW, from the mountains to the saltwater. Her passions include gardening, running, cross-country skiing, sea kayaking, hiking, and backpacking. Motherhood is a bright spark in her life.
Clare M Jones, PT, OCS, COMT, CFMT, FAAOMPT
Clare graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Physiotherapy from LaTrobe University, Melbourne Australia in 1991. She joined the team at Bellingham Physical Therapy in September 2003.
Clare is a Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist (OCS) with the American Physical Therapy Association. She is also a Fellow with the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy (FAAOMPT).
Clare has pursued advanced training in manual therapy skills, achieving certifications from Maitland Australian Physiotherapy seminars -Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist (COMT), and a Certified Functional Manual Therapist (CFMT) with the Institute of Physical Art. She has just completed a year-long course with LJ Lee in Canada and has become a graduate of the Connect Therapy Approach, furthering her goal to look at the patients system as a whole and find the best/most appropriate area to treat.
Clare’s approach to treatment is to use movement and palpation to analyze imbalances that people may have developed in their systems. She attempts to find the root cause of the presenting problem as well as relieve the symptoms currently causing a person to seek help from a therapist. Hers is a patient-centered approach, with the patient taking an active role in his or her care. She uses a blend of manual, hands-on techniques to restore balanced symmetrical motions. Exercise and neuromuscular education is incorporated to restore the control of mobility, and in doing so, potentially prevent future issues. Her goal is to reduce the strains and stresses in the human system as a whole and improve overall efficiency of motion. Clare has a particular interest in pain science and the close relationship of the body and mind. No issue happens in isolation.
Clare is an educator, and senior faculty member with Maitland Australian Physiotherapy Seminars since 1998. She mentors fellows in training- therapists seeking to become Fellows of the American Academy of Orthopedic Physical Therapy. She has presented at physical therapy conferences around the USA. She attends manual therapy conferences and courses regularly to stay current and involved.
On weekends you will find Clare and her husband Steve exploring the trails of the beautiful Pacific Northwest whether it be day hiking, backpacking, skiing, snowshoeing or mountaineering.
Life is an adventure, not a guided tour.
Heather Kreizenbeck, PT, MPT
Heather graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology with minors in Chemistry & Psychology from the University of Denver in 1998. She earned a Master of Physical Therapy from Idaho State University in 2001. She then moved from Idaho to Washington and joined the team at Bellingham Physical Therapy in 2001. In 2008, Heather earned clinical specialist certification in Orthopedics from the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties.
Heather enjoys helping patients with all types of orthopedic complaints improve their health and function through individualized treatment. She thrives on discovering and addressing the root cause of each patient’s symptoms, educating and empowering them to create change in their own bodies, and facilitating change through therapeutic touch. She has taken a variety of continuing education courses including joint, soft tissue, neural system and visceral mobilization techniques, analysis and restoration of movement systems, and running rehabilitation. Her most recent focus in training is Diane Lee’s Integrated Systems Model.
In addition to her clinical practice, Heather has instructed in the Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Whatcom Community College. She is an American Physical Therapy Association certified clinical instructor for physical therapy and physical therapist assistant students. Heather has also performed injury prevention screenings for runners and walkers at Fairhaven Runners. She is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association, and presented research at their Combined Sections meeting in San Antonio, Texas in 2001.
Heather’s first love is being outdoors. She is happiest skiing down snowy slopes, riding her bike, or playing with her dog Charlie. She enjoys hiking, sailing, camping, swimming, reading, and spending time with her husband, friends and family.
John McWilliams, PT
I graduated in 1975 with a masters degree in physical therapy from Stanford University. Marcia and I opened Bellingham Physical Therapy in 1981. This is a great practice and I am very fortunate to work with other very talented therapists.
I volunteer twice a week in the Squalicum High School Training room and have done so since it opened. Prior to this, I assisted at Bellingham High School. I volunteer at Bellingham’s youth soccer tournaments in the summer helping out in the medical services tent. I also help at our local rugby tournaments. It is important to support the community in which we live. I am indeed fortunate to have these opportunities.
In my 40 plus years as a therapist, I direct myself to listening to my clients. My courses of study tend to focus on the whole system and its responses to life (and whatever life throws at you). I study movement based on dynamic stability (Yoga, Tai Chi, Feldenkrais), fascia systems, lymph mobility, joint and neural mobility. I am a proponent of finding the cause not merely treating the symptoms. Recognizing that each of us arrives at our current point, with a variety of experiences which shapes our individual responses, treatment is person specific.
Outside of Bellingham Physical Therapy, which my lovely wife Marcia and I run, my life is filled with reading, camping, grand kids, gardening, ambling and enjoying the journey. Often times, we are accompanied by our two grown children (Brittany and Mark) in this journey.
Find your passion and enjoy life. Become involved.
Darryl Michelson, PT
Darryl received a BS in physical therapy from Hogeschool van Amsterdam, NL in 2000. Afterwards, he spent 4 years in a home health practice and then switched to outpatient.
He has completed certification of Orthopedic Movement Specialist with Gordon Brown’s Therapeutic Movement Seminars in 2014. He is attending the Neural Manipulation series from the Barrallnstitute and Chikly Health Institute curricula of lymphatic drainage therapy.
Darryl began working at Bellingham Physical Therapy in 2010. Darryl has used SCENAR therapy protocols for pain and movement for 7 years after training with RITM SCENAR Institute, SCENAR Health USA, and SCENAR USA. He incorporates Tai Chi for fall prevention and balance improvement with static and dynamic movements.
Prior to a career in PT, Darryl worked for over 25 years in film production and commercial photography. He enjoys cross-country skiing and hiking with his wife Lori. He is finding challenge in riding the Slackline.
Laura Rich, PT, DPT
Laura was raised on Lummi Island and returned to Whatcom County after attaining her doctoral degree in physical therapy from the University of Puget Sound. She recently joined Bellingham Physical Therapy and is interested in pursuing specialty certifications in orthopedics and manual therapy. Prior to Bellingham Physical Therapy, Laura worked in Skagit county focusing on outpatient orthopedics and sports rehabilitation. Laura is certified in the Otago Exercise Program, which is an evidence-based strength and exercise program focusing on fall prevention.
When not in the clinic, Laura enjoys spending time outside exploring the PNW with her partner and Labradoodle, Daisy and a Goldendoodle, Buddy.
Lane Williams, PT, DPT
Lane earned her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Pacific University in Hillsborough, Oregon. Born, raised and running through the Pacific Northwest, Lane came to physical therapy as a means to bridge her love of movement with her desire to share it with others. She enjoys treating a wide variety of patients with particular interest in runners and dancers, although her favorite patients are those who are passionate about their goals, whatever they may be.
In her free time, Lane can be found running or hiking through the North Cascades, skiing down Baker or snuggling with her her 10lb chi mix Dr. Bo Bailey.
Eric Eschelbach, PT, DPT, QMHA
Eric graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Portland State University in 2016. He worked in the Psychology field as a Residential Treatment Specialist, serving to assist in the rehabilitation of adults living with severe mental illness transitioning from the state hospital to semi-independent living. In 2021, Eric received his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Pacific University in Oregon. After graduation, Eric worked as a travel physical therapist in Oregon, Arizona, and California at outpatient orthopedic clinics.
He now joins Bellingham Physical Therapy to combine his passion for rehabilitation in both mind and body to treat each patient holistically while addressing their musculoskeletal concerns. Eric was trained in the Maitland Approach of Orthopedic Manual Therapy which utilizes joint mobilization and manipulation of the extremities and spine, neurodynamic techniques, stretching, stabilizing exercises, and functional exercises specific to each individual. In addition to all orthopedic conditions, Eric works with chronic pain, vestibular rehabilitation, and some neurologic conditions including but not limited to concussion, Parkinson’s, and Multiple Sclerosis.
Eric was born and raised in Bend, Oregon and grew up in a family of outdoor enthusiasts, spending time skiing, hiking, and biking throughout the Central Cascades. His love for the outdoors continues and you may find him on the trails or in the water with his wife and dog exploring all that Bellingham has to offer.
Rene Wendt, PTA
Rene’ has been a part of the BPT team since 2006. She has a BA degree from the University of Montana in Elementary Education. After moving to Bellingham, Rene’ earned her PTA degree in 2003 at Whatcom Community College.
She has a great passion for manual therapy and has 16 years of concentrated training,including Maitland Joint and Spinal Mobilization, soft tissue release and visceral mobilization. Her extensive Barral coursework includes treatment for the abdomen, pelvis, and thorax. As an avid runner, she has studied running form. She is also a certified Pilates instructor and has taught strength classes for runners.
Rene’ thrives on assisting people to understand their bodies. She uses manual skills to provide pain relief and guides clients toward restoration of optimal movement patterns.
She loves spending time with her grandchildren, running trails everywhere, and hiking with her husband and friends.
Jen Ward-Morgan , PTA
Jen rejoins the Bellingham Physical Therapy team in 2021 as a Physical Therapist Assistant. She graduated with an Exercise Science degree, emphasis on Exercise Physiology, from Pacific University in Forest Grove, OR in 2007. She graduated from Whatcom Community College Physical Therapist Assistant program in 2011 and started working in the Skagit Valley developing her Craniosacral and Myofascial Release manual skills. Jen completed her Orthopedic Movement Specialist certification through Gordon Browne’s Therapeutic Movement Seminars in 2016.
Jen as a passion for combining her manual skills with her ability to help others rediscover movement patterns or postures they may have thought weren’t possible again. She quickly fell in love with teaching and supporting patients learn about how their bodies moved, to better manage their own dysfunctions. Nothing in the body works in isolation so treatment needs to have a holistic approach and a patient must be involved in caring for their own being. She loves to listen to a person’s body guide a treatment session to unlock the next stage of healing and restoration of movement. Jen believes that no movement is impossible at any age, it just hasn’t been unlocked yet. Whatever activities you enjoy she wants to help you get back those and not be focused on pain or limitations that made you seek care in the first place.
In her free time you can find Jen exploring new activities and enjoying time with her husband, son, and dog. She loves to travel and experience new foods.
Nathan Wright, PTA
Nathan earned a BA from the Evergreen State College in 2003 before deciding to continue his education at Whatcom Community College where he graduated with honors from the Physical Therapist Assistant program in 2020. After working in an orthopedic clinic in the Skagit Valley, Nathan is very excited to be working at Bellingham Physical Therapy in the community him and his wife have called home for 18 years.
Nathan brings a love of motivating others to achieve their goals of reestablishing and increasing their quality of life through healthy movement. He enjoys working with everyone in our community and believes meeting people with respect, empathy, and enthusiasm can lift anyone to meet their therapy goals.
Nathan is a lifelong Northwestrian and when he’s not at work you can find him skateboarding, snowboarding, golfing, and digging around in the garden. When the weather isn’t conducive to outdoor recreation Nathan and his wife enjoying relaxing with a book or good movie and his two cats Raymond and Murphy.
Jessica Wilcox, NASM-CPT
Jessica has been a member of the BPT team since 2016. She attended Western Washington University where she studied Kinesiology with a focus in Sport Psychology. She became a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine in November of 2022. She plans to continue studying and earning certifications through NASM in nutrition and wellness.
Jessica’s fitness philosophy is that movement in a key ingredient in living a happy and healthy life. She hopes to take this philosophy along with her knowledge and skills to help individuals find enjoyment in movement and living a healthy lifestyle. She is excited to work with a variety of people and help them achieve all of their wellness goals no matter how big or small.
Jessica was born and raised in northern California but has called Bellingham and the PNW home since 2011. She loves being outside, and can often be found mountain biking, cycling, cross country and downhill skiing, climbing, hiking, and swimming. When she wants a mellow day, she enjoys reading, watching movies, board games and enjoying community events.