“I just believe healing is possible for anyone, even if they don’t believe it themselves.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
I grew up in a small town in Mississippi. Everyone there knew everyone else’s business and I remember, early on, becoming aware of the ravages of poverty, substance misuse, inequality, trauma, and you name it in the lives of people I knew and loved. This was at a time when mental health care was not only greatly stigmatized but also nearly impossible to access. I graduated with my master’s in social work in 1992 and have worked in public health, child protection, a large university research hospital, home health, hospice, and public schools. My work in such a wide variety of settings led to many experiences with people who were struggling to cope with grief and loss, major life transitions, and trauma. I took time out to raise my children and returned to the field around 2010 with a passion for catching up on all the latest therapy approaches. I just believe healing is possible for anyone, even if they don’t believe it themselves.
What should someone know about working with you?
I believe the best therapy happens in a relaxed space of trust and compassion and that collaboration on goals is key. In our first meeting, I will spend time getting to know you and asking for information for an initial intake about where you are in life and what brings you to therapy. I always want my client to feel comfortable and free to bring up whatever is on their mind. We will approach your challenges as a team. Sometimes there is homework to help with the process of learning which tools might be useful to help you in your journey of healing. I rely a lot on feedback from my clients to monitor the progress of therapy and amend any goals as they see fit. I also have a big, fluffy, furry feline coworker who likes to occasionally nose around during sessions…..but she doesn’t talk much.
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
As a licensed clinician, I am required to maintain a certain level of continuing education and there are so many opportunities out there for in-depth training. I’m a total geek about learning what is new in the world of mental health. I believe in tailoring therapy to fit each individual so I train on as many therapeutic modalities as I can and still keep a list of areas where I want more training. I’m currently enrolled in a course on innovations in trauma treatment and really want to move next to intensive training in accelerated resolution therapy (ART). There is so much more attention on our field now and that is reflected in the research and options for learning.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
There is SO much to be excited about in mental health these days! The decrease in stigma is really something to celebrate thanks in large part to education on the topic and the sharing of stories on social media. Then there is the advent of teletherapy, ushering in the availability of therapy to clients who otherwise might have to take time off from work or make a long commute. Teletherapy is also ideal for those who would just rather engage in the process from the comfort of their own space. The new thing we are hearing about most right now in therapy is incorporating psychedelics, which have been shown to be effective for many people struggling with issues like treatment-resistant depression and PTSD.
“I believe the best therapy happens in a relaxed space of trust and compassion and that collaboration on goals is key.”