“I enjoy helping clients use their strengths to their advantage in ways they may not have thought of.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
From the time I was in high school, I was always the "mother" or "voice of reason" in my friend group. I have always had the innate ability to see a situation from multiple points of view but would often question why those views differed so much. Going to graduate school for counseling finally helped me answer that question and gave me the ability to not only see those points of view but understand them as well. I interned at a domestic violence shelter, a residential substance abuse treatment center, and a family resource center before working in the prison system for several years. When I finally left the prison system, I dedicated myself to providing services to individuals who are traditionally marginalized or overlooked by others.
What should someone know about working with you?
The initial visit with me is typically just conversational, with us getting to know each other's personalities a bit. I take the time to learn how my clients naturally approach situations mentally, what has and hasn’t worked in the past, and how things have progressed. I enjoy helping clients use their strengths to their advantage in ways they may not have thought of. Homework is sporadic and sometimes fun, like making music playlists or watching YouTube videos (it really depends on each individual and what they enjoy!). My biggest strength as a therapist is finding connections and educating my client on how those could be impacting their life.
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
I continuously interact with other mental health professionals and keep up-to-date on new research and therapeutic techniques to help provide the best possible care for my clients.
How do your core values shape your approach to therapy?
I will admit that I was raised by a racist mother. The area I grew up in was so judgmental and biased against anyone "against the norm" (there's still a sundown town nearby), but I never realized any of these things until I became an adult. Since then, I've spent nearly two decades unlearning the tons of tiny automatic thoughts and behaviors that upbringing instilled in me. I will never forget a tidbit I learned along the way: In any situation, your initial reaction is what you have traditionally been taught, but your second thought or action shows how you've grown. Knowing that there are experiences I've not had myself leads me to ask others about their own experiences a lot, because each individual is the expert on themselves.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
I am ecstatic about the move toward telehealth. I’m excited for individuals and also about the push for insurance companies to recognize it as valid, crucial, and reimbursable. It has made services so much more accessible for those who have not always been able to get to traditional face-to-face therapy for whatever reason. I'm also excited that it's becoming increasingly more popular for clinicians to educate themselves on how trauma, physical health, and nutrition affect our mental health, with the push toward more tailored diagnoses (such as chronic PTSD) that often occur as the result of childhood abuse or religious trauma.
“My biggest strength as a therapist is finding connections and educating my client on how those could be impacting their life.”