What made you decide to become a therapist?
For as long as I can remember I have loved working with children, helping others, learning and teaching. As I grew older I was the one that classmates turned to when they needed help or a listening ear. I became sure that counseling was my calling in the 7th grade when a classmate confided in me about a personal trauma. Counseling provides me with the opportunity to do all the things I loved even as a child. I have chosen to specialize in treatment for adoptions, foster care and child trauma due to my experience working with these populations in a personal capacity and as a volunteer, social worker and through my graduate program.
How would you describe what therapy looks like in your office?
My desire is that people feel comfortable and relaxed while they are in my office by creating an environment of trust, collaboration, and acceptance. There is mutual respect of the therapist as the mental health expert and the patient as the expert on their life experiences. My goal in therapy is to help people reach the goals that they have for themselves by increasing the skills they already have, developing new skills, and exploring their point of view. For me the therapist-patient relationship is similar to a teacher-student relationship; it works best when the patient is invested and motivated to make the changes necessary with the assistance and guidance of the therapist.
Do you have a particular theory or type of treatment you use?
I primarily utilize the cognitive behavioral therapy framework which focuses on exploring the way a person behaves, thinks, and feels about themselves, other people, and their environment. Together the patient and therapist work to create healthier thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that help the patient move forward with their life and achieve their personal and relational goals.
Tell us a little about your life away from work.
I have many roles including a wife, mother, sister, daughter, aunt, and friend. During my time off I enjoy being able to support my family in their opportunities. I also love watching my favorite tv shows, listening to music, hanging out with my friends, swimming, or traveling to local areas of interest. I thrive on being engaged in the lives of family, friends, and my community.
If you could be any animal what would it be and why?
If I could be an animal I would most like to be a lion. I find the female role intriguing since they are the caretaker of the pride, showing love, caring, and nurturing to fellow lions. However, they are also the hunter’s displaying courage, fierceness, and strength. The pride exhibits a great sense of loyalty to one another and working together for the good of the whole group. The lion is also a significant creature throughout Scripture; the Lion of Judah, representing the son of God as symbolized in movies like Chronicles of Narnia, the lion Aslan.
It is significant to note that I love elephants and the sense of unity and wisdom they display by surrounding the young and protecting one another. If you enter my office, this interest is evident as I collect elephants. I also love dolphins due to their intelligence, playfulness, and ability to move gracefully in the water.
What is your favorite movie and why?
My favorite movie is Beauty and the Beast. I fell in love with the character of Belle the first time I saw the movie because she was a simple girl with brown hair, brown eyes and a ponytail who enjoyed spending time reading and helping her dad. Belle wasn’t afraid to make a sacrifice for her family, explore new territory, or befriend the unlikely. She was brave, kind, and full of creativity. Belle looked past the physical appearance of Gaston and the beast to get to know the person within. She persisted to have an optimistic point of view even in the light of struggles and eventually became a beautiful princess because of her ability to love others.