I was born in Chicago, raised in Sycamore, and have lived in the Midwest my whole life. My interest to become a Social Worker began in Middle School as I observed the role of the social worker and counselors in the school setting. I appreciated the work they did at the individual level as well as on a bigger scale; helping the parents, teachers, and the community in times of crisis. This interest became a reality when I was accepted into the Social Work program through the University of Iowa. Ultimately, I graduated from Aurora University with my Masters in Social Work where I was surrounded by other students with an interest to help empower people to live their best lives in conjunction with professors that provided sound education and vast experience. In an effort to best meet my client’s needs, I attend continued education therapeutic trainings and familiarize myself with the latest treatment models. What continues to motivate me in the field is my passion for empowering others to overcome the obstacles they face in their lives.
My clinical experiences include working as a substance abuse counselor, working as an adult domestic violence counselor, and working in the public school setting as a school social worker for grades 9-12. I enjoy working with both adolescent and adult individuals who need some extra support navigating through life’s obstacles.
I strive to create an environment that is both genuine and collaborative, viewing the therapeutic relationship as an important part of the healing process. In providing a safe environment I strive to empower my clients to face life’s difficulties with my encouragement and guidance. I utilize a variety of therapeutic models in order to best meet the needs of my clients. Some of these models include: Person-Centered Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Techniques, and Expressive Therapies. With every therapeutic model I use, I emphasize the importance of the combined effort between the therapist and client.
Areas of Clinical Specialty
I am a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) which has allowed me to work with individuals, couples, and families addressing issues related to Substance Abuse and other Process Addictions. I understand the various inter-related issues associated with and exacerbated by substance abuse; including past trauma and abuse, relational problems, low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, career problems, and legal problems. Because of this, I find it important to address these issues as well as the addiction in order to maintain long term recovery. I believe people have the capacity to change. Although there is a natural tendency to resist change, with motivation, consistent work, and one-on-one guidance it can happen.
I also enjoy working with adolescence ranging from 13-18 years old struggling with mood disorders, anxiety, school performance, behavior issues, and more. Adolescence can be a confusing time filled with uncertainty and change as they answer the question Who am I? and What can I be?. During this Stage of Development, the adolescent must take all the messages that they’ve received from their parents, peers, teachers, and society to help formulate the answers to these questions. In working with adolescents, I find it important to utilize the Support of the parent(s)/guardian(s) in order to help foster a healthy environment for the adolescent to learn about themselves and the role they play in the world around them.
I have specific interest and experience working with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ) population as they navigate through crossroads unique to the population. Traditionally, these crossroads include but are not limited to self-identification, the pre and post coming out process, and acceptance. More recently in my experience there has been a need to assist clients navigating through issues related to parenting or relationship conflicts as a result of previously heterosexual and gay marriages. Whatever the challenge, I place significant importance in providing a safe and empathic environment in which my clients have the opportunity to learn positive skills that will result in improvements to their emotional well-being. Lastly, I integrate these LGBTQ community crossroads into my approach when combining these with a mental health diagnosis such as depression, anxiety, bipolar, or substance abuse.
Other Areas of Clinical Focus
In addition to the concerns and populations listed above, I also enjoy working with those experiencing a variety of difficulties including but not limited to: co-dependency, domestic violence, relational problems, anxiety, mood disorders, low self-esteem, life transitions, and grief.