“I believe in building a trusting relationship in a safe place where you can feel free to express all your thoughts and feelings.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
My path started in high school when I took a psychology class that I liked. I frequently passed by the local university's graduate school of social work and contemplated becoming a social worker. Ultimately, I became a teacher instead. One day, while teaching, a student of mine told me of a difficult situation she was having at home. Although my heart went out to her, I couldn’t help her because it was not part of my job description. She was the impetus of me pursuing a career as a social worker.
What should someone know about working with you?
During the session, my focus is entirely on you. I believe in building a trusting relationship in a safe place where you can feel free to express all your thoughts and feelings. I find it a privilege to be able to work with you on your journey as you learn more about yourself and work towards your goals. I integrate a variety of clinical approaches, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT); I also strongly believe in the mind/body connection. I use homework as a tool for you to better understand yourself and to help you solidify the skills learned in session.
What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant to try therapy?
Asking for help from a stranger isn’t easy! You may feel as though you want the help but are nervous about embarking on a new relationship with someone unknown: a therapist trained to work with the mind. You may find so many thoughts swirling in your brain: will I be able to trust them? will I be judged? This is all normal! But once you decide to be courageous and take that first step, therapy can be a rewarding experience. You’ll be able to articulate your thoughts and feelings without being judged and be able to learn how to live a more balanced and fulfilling life.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
I’m excited about the developments in neuroplasticity, a relatively new treatment for trauma and PTSD. Trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event where you feel that your life is threatened in some way, such as through abuse, a natural disaster, or combat. PTSD is a more severe response to trauma, although not everyone develops it. It’s characterized by varied symptoms including flashbacks, avoidance of reminders of the event, feelings of numbness, and hypervigilance. It can cause difficulties in homelife and work. The brain is wired to help us survive; it adapts and changes to help us cope with daily events. Neuroplasticity allows the brain to heal from trauma with techniques such as mindfulness.
What inspired you to become a licensed clinical alcohol and drug counselor?
While I was attending graduate school, I frequently received mailings for courses offered to substance abuse counselors. I didn’t think too much about it until I received a mailing that listed a degree after my name. Upon further research, I learned this degree would complement my MSW degree. I began taking courses throughout the state and found that I enjoyed the coursework. The MSW and LCADC combined has given me a new perspective on life when working with clients with or without addiction difficulties, as well as those who are dually diagnosed. I feel that even people without an addiction can benefit from the philosophy of a twelve-step program.
“The brain is wired to help us survive; it adapts and changes to help us cope with daily events.”