Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the backbone to my therapeutic style. However, I draw on other theories and techniques when I believe they are beneficial to the client. My goal is to create a safe space for my clients to identify, explore, and replace the maladaptive thoughts and behaviors that lead to their dissatisfaction and lack of fulfillment. My therapy is collaborative and tailored to the client. I listen and validate my client’s concerns while respectfully challenging their distorted beliefs, in order for them to gain new insight and perspective. It is my belief that emotions are not debatable, but beliefs are and can be reflected upon, distinguished, and disputed. Fears are real and I work with my clients to problem solve, or accept and reframe what is out of their control.
I also use humor and self-disclosure when it is helpful to the client. I know therapy can be challenging and sometimes humor can lighten the mood so that deeper exploration to take place. I also think that appropriate self-disclosure can strengthen and create a more authentic therapeutic relationship. My desire is to have my clients feel heard and understood in therapy.
At the University of Georgia, I studied Consumer Journalism. During my last semester, I was required to take a couple of courses in Child and Family Development. One of the classes I enrolled in was The Study of Intimate Relationships. I chose that particular class only because it seemed like a fun, easy class. I had no idea that it would make me reconsider my professional aspirations. On the first day of class, something awakened within me. I was extremely interested in all the professor had to say. I poured through the textbook, as if it were a beloved novel. I noticed the enthusiasm I felt for this class exceeded any that I had ever felt for a class before. Working in this class was not a chore, but something I looked forward to. I began to question if I was graduating with the right degree. With only one semester left to complete my degree in Consumer Journalism, I was torn. I felt like counseling was my passion, but I was scared to pursue something so new to me. I had weekly individual meetings with my professor of The Study of Intimate Relationships, and he advised me to go ahead and graduate with my degree in Consumer Journalism, but then take time to research more about counseling and decide if I wanted to pursue it as a career. After graduation, I moved to Austin and accepted a job as office manager and assistant designer for a real estate investment group, but my dream of working as a licensed professional counselor still lingered in my mind. I researched many different graduate schools and was extremely impressed by the Masters of Arts in Counseling program at St. Edward’s University. I applied and was elated to be accepted into the program. During my time at St. Edward’s, my interest in counseling developed even more. I attending classes and learning about different counseling theories and techniques. My favorite part was putting what I learned into practice my through my pre-grad internship. I was lucky to be accepted as an intern counselor at a respected counseling agency. I had the privilege to work with individuals, couples, families, and groups for the first time professionally. I was nervous at first, but the more I worked with people and saw their progress, the more I knew that helping others through counseling was my passion.
I became trained in the Positive Discipline Association because I was interested in learning more about how people, especially teens and children, interpret and react to different types of discipline. I also participated in this training to learn how to better inform parents about what their child is going through, and how they can better motivate their children through the techniques and tools that I learned in the positive discipline training. I also completed the Gottman Couples Training/ Level 1 because I am interested in romantic relationships and how to build healthy relationships that last. Many of my clients come to me because they are having difficulties with relationships and I wanted to be able to help them by learning more about how healthy, lasting relationships develop. I use the research-based skills from this training to help my clients identify and manage conflicts while learning to open themselves up to deeper intimacy. I also attended a training on the Theory and Practice of Applying DBT Across Clinical Populations in order to help my clients with depression and self-harm. I think that DBT skills are very effective in reducing the intensity of feelings, which I find especially helpful when working with teens and young adults. It also helps with emotional regulation, so that the client can be in a state to problem solve, using the “wise mind,” which is a synthesis between the reasonable and emotional mind.
I recognize that beginning counseling can be a very scary time for people. You might be thinking, “Will the counselor judge me? What if there is nothing to talk about? How truthful can I be? Will this even help? Why would I want to share intimate details with a stranger? I’m a problem because I need help through counseling. This is awkward, etc…”. It’s completely normal to be nervous. It’s also completely normal to be excited and want to go to counseling. My main goal is to create a safe space for you to feel comfortable sharing. I am not here to judge you, I am here to listen and understand. I want to see your point of view, help you explore your thoughts, and challenge the thoughts that aren’t helping you to live to the fullest.
In my free time, I enjoy cuddling with my French Bulldog, even though she snores very loudly. I like to cook. I am not great at plating the food, but as long as it tastes good, that’s enough for me! I love to travel especially with good friends. I am always up for an adventure.