“I believe in hope, love, equality, equity, inclusion, and kindness.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
I think I'm like a lot of people and had no clue what I was going to major in while I was in undergrad. In my junior year, I received a letter stating that my credits showed I was working toward a psychology degree so I went with that. In my last semester, I took a forensic psychology class and read the textbook from front to back. I figured I should take that as a sign and went on to receive my graduate degree in forensic mental health counseling with a specialization in victim counseling. I have worked in a wide range of settings, including home-based counseling with juvenile justice youth, post-adoption and foster care counseling, school-based mental health clinics, and community-based mental health clinics. I also have experience working with adult adoptees who struggle to find their place in this world and within their families.
What should someone know about working with you?
When working with adolescents, I'll complete the intake with both the teen and parents/guardians together. Trust is the most important part of treatment and I like to begin establishing that from the very beginning. For adults, the first few sessions will focus on establishing a therapeutic relationship with one another while gathering information about the client’s symptoms, needs, and overall functioning. In regards to monitoring progress, there are a few standardized measures I use but observing any changes in functioning and ways of thinking is most important. Each improvement, no matter how small, is celebrated and acknowledged.
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
I've found that the more experienced I become, the more I crave information on how to better help my clients and become a better clinician for them. Prior to March 2020, I was working toward my certification in play therapy. It amazed me to see the impact that a child's natural language had on their overall functioning and ability to manage traumas and stressors. Then COVID-19 happened and I realized I needed to adjust my focus for the needs I saw coming. Since that time, I have completed basic training in EMDR, levels 1 and 2, and continue to receive consultation with the goal of becoming EMDR-certified. I still use play interventions, specifically sandtray during my sessions with teens and adults, and hope to incorporate it with EMDR treatment in the future.
How do your core values shape your approach to therapy?
I believe in hope, love, equality, equity, inclusion, and kindness. I also believe in science, accountability, and the impact that trauma has on our functioning. In my practice, I feel comfortable addressing any differences in gender, race, and ethnicity with my clients and the impact that these might have on the therapeutic relationship and overall treatment.
“I also believe in science, accountability, and the impact that trauma has on our functioning.”