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.
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.