I have worked with children, adolescents, adults and families for 15 years in a variety of mental health and educational settings with a focus on increasing personal strengths and fostering healthy relationships. I specialize in the treatment of anxiety, depression, stress management, trauma, life transitions, relationship issues, parenting, interpersonal struggles and work and career issues.
In working with clients I use cognitive behavioral (CBT), client centered and systems modalities, tailoring treatment to the specific needs of each individual. Therapy is a collaborative effort in which client and therapist work jointly to identify barriers to growth, resolve past traumas and focus on strategies to improve wellness. My approach to counseling is warm, collaborative, supportive and direct. My belief is that every person has the ability to heal, change and grow. A strong therapeutic relationship encourages trust and allows the client and therapist to work equally in a team approach on difficult issues. As part of this process, I work to create tools and coping skills to fit the needs of each unique person using a variety of techniques.
For the past 3 years, I have worked primarily with trauma and substance use. I worked for over a year with probationary teenagers 13-18 years old living in group homes and shelters. Each teenager had a history of trauma and substance use along with a variety of disorders including anxiety, depression, bipolar, anorexia nervosa, bulimia and more. Each teenager provided a unique experience to learn and grow from.
While working with teenagers, I felt the urge to work with a different population and gain experience with adults. From then, I began working with male Veterans in a transitional housing program. These men were aged from 20-80 years old and here I was able to gain more experience with substance abuse and PTSD. Not only was substance abuse and PTSD seen with this population, but also anxiety, depression, bipolar, antisocial personality disorder, and more. I worked with these men for over 2 years and encountered over a hundred homeless Veterans while working to provide stable housing for them.
I hope to work with a variety of ages, disorders and stressors to gain and build on the foundation that my prior work experience and coursework has taught me.
My clinical experience relies heavily in my volunteer work for the past 3 years with a crisis hotline and chat line. In this, I provide direction, empathy, and support needed to overcome their crisis which have included trauma, substance use, emotional struggles, relational and/or mental health needs, and other health and behavioral issues. Often they are experiencing suicidal ideation and my job has been to help them create a healthy safety plan for themselves. I have obtained nationally accredited listening skills training and empirically-validated Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) as part of this process.
As a student of marriage and family therapy, it is my firm belief that without a working marriage, a working family is difficult to maintain. And further, without a functioning family, personal life circumstances also become increasingly more difficult to handle. An MFT helps support growth and communication for each individual family member by using a systemic method of treatment. Issues are looked at on the basis of the family that influences each member and in which they are rooted. I have helped families throughout this navigate parenting issues, relational disagreements, difficult life circumstances, transitions, and more, utilizing this technique.
In addition to my graduate studies and client experience, I have sought out and attended other trainings and workshops to support my knowledge and growth. One in particular is the Strengthening Families Training program that is an internationally recognized parenting and family support program for high-risk and general population families. I have also obtained a Mental Health First Aid Training certificate. This is a national program to teach the skills to respond to the signs of mental illness and substance use.
The experience that I am blessed to have attained has led me to a compelling desire to continue supporting others through challenging life obstacles.
“For the last several years, I have been working with both adolescents and adults with eating disorders. Through my time spent working with eating disorders in various levels of care, I have come to the knowledge that every disorder is a complex and unique struggle. From this work has developed a deep passion for working with individuals struggling with food addictions, emotional eating, body image, and/or self-esteem. In addition to eating disorders, I have experience running art therapy groups with men struggling with substance abuse as well as adults with varying intellectual disabilities. I have also have worked with individuals struggling with depression, anxiety, mood disorders, and PTSD.
I understand that each client has unique struggles and needs, therefore I work to incorporate various aspects of healing into my work. In addition to therapy, I am a yoga/meditation instructor and working artist. Upon discussion with clients, I would love to find creative ways to integrate these outlets into therapeutic work because, first and foremost, my hope is to treat the whole person and not just a diagnosis.
Whatever emotional struggle, stressor, or disorder an individual is struggling with I am certain there is a unique approach that will lead to healing.”
During my time working within the human services field I have developed a strong passion for helping those that are feeling stuck . As an aspiring clinician I have had the pleasure of helping people in transition for several years. A large part of my experience stems from working with youth, adults, and families in regards to marital and family issues, career, school, and life cycle transitions. My career path began while pursuing my bachelor’s in psychology at Indiana University Bloomington where I worked within a volunteer setting providing group services to impoverished families. Upon graduation, I became a residential counselor at Turning Point for Youth and Family services where I was able to help teens and young adults struggling with life style transitions, and substance abuse. During this time, I helped clients with basic life skills, career development, and community reintegration. I then went on to accept a position with the Department of Human Services as a kinship case aide, working alongside children and families in order to find suitable placement options within one’s biological kin. After this I had the privilege of beginning to work alongside the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation as a Career Counselor, helping those with barriers to employment secure jobs and gain independence, while also facilitating behavioral adjustment trainings, and life coaching. Over the years these opportunities have allowed me to discover a true passion of mine, providing insightful healing. During sessions I enjoy taking the time to get to know each of my clients on an individual level and believe emotional support and encouragement are integral parts of the healing process. I also believe that some things are learned best through experiences and therefore try and incorporate experiential elements into our therapeutic time together such as role playing, and hands on activities within session as needed. I also often work with behavioral interventions such as cognitive behavioral therapy, and dialectical therapy in order to further assist clients and bring awareness to coping methods and thought processes. I also work to help clients identify communication patterns, strengths, and promote unconditional positive regard, and open communication patterns within relational systems. Some of my additional certifications include CPR / First Aid, QMAP, CAC I, and registered psychotherapist with the State of Colorado. Overall, I consider it a privilege to walk alongside others in their journey to obtaining peace and congruence.
I am currently completing student teaching as a Kindergarten teacher at Weber Elementary. I have endorsements in special education, as well as, culturally and linguistically diverse education. I have taught in a classroom for children with autism in Westminster Public School district where I received training in emotional and physical support including sensory interventions for children 4-12 years of age.
I have training in curriculum development for WONDERS, PMI, PSI and Zones of Regulation. I also have training in DIBELS testing and running records for children struggling in literacy. In this practice, I look forward to helping children learn self-regulation in social and emotional situations. Social and emotional self-regulation is important in helping children master new challenges, increase self-esteem and improve pro-social interactions.