I was born in Atlanta, Georgia, however spent most of my childhood and early adult years living in Charlotte, North Carolina. I received my undergraduate degree from Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina majoring in psychology with a minor in Business. After graduating, I spent the next several years working in various business oriented positions until I made the decision to finally finish what I started many years before and pursue my doctorate in clinical psychology. Less than a month after making that decision, I found myself loading a U-haul with my few belongings (and dog) in sunny and warm North Carolina and moving north to the not so warm city of Schaumburg, Illinois.
I received my Masters of Arts and Doctoral Degrees in Clinical Psychology at The Illinois School of Professional Psychology at Argosy. My training in graduate school and over 10 years working in the behavioral health field in both private practice and hospital settings has provided me with a wealth of knowledge working with clients struggling with a wide range of life issues and presenting disorders. I have worked in a clinical capacity in nearly all of the hospital’s general and specialized outpatient program day programs, developed and acted as clinical supervisor of an Adult Intensive Outpatient Evening Program, and finally as a Hospital/School Clinical liaison helping school aged patients integrate back into school after their hospitalization.
My Approach to Therapy
My approach to therapy is really two-fold. I work collaboratively with my clients to increase the level of insight they have into all the relevant factors and/or influences that are likely affecting their ability to function to their full potential. These factors often include, but are not limited to, the identified stressor(s) that brought them into therapy; the effectiveness (or lack of effectiveness) of their current coping strategies; the influence past experiences and physical discomfort can have on our decision making and behavior; and increasing the clients awareness of their individual strengths and weakness. Clients can then utilize the insight gained throughout treatment to systematically make the appropriate changes needed to meet their identified treatment goals.
Increasing ones understanding of their current patterns also allows clients to identify and implement more solution-focused coping strategies that more often result in more long-term improvements. Change is not always a behavioral process as it is traditionally viewed. Sometimes life presents us with situations where we have little, if any, control over the outcome. These situations often require us to learn the very difficult skill of acceptance as the most effective way to minimize the impact of stressors on our overall functioning. I utilize Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Exposure-based intervention.
Areas of Specialty
Children and Adolescents
I have worked extensively with children and adolescents in both a private practice and inpatient/partial hospitalization settings. I have worked primarily with clients’ ages 10 to 18 providing individual therapy, family therapy, and group therapy. In my current position as a clinical hospital/school liaison in a behavioral health hospital, I work directly with the school-aged patients and families, their treatment team, and the support staff at their school to develop a comprehensive plan that will allow them to successfully integrate back into school after an extended hospitalization. This position also allows me to help families navigate through the often complicated and frustrating task of pursuing increased accommodation and/or special education services for their child who may be struggling academically and/or emotionally in their current school environment.
My clinical focus with children and adolescents includes, but is not limited to, Major Depression (and related mood disorders); Anxiety Disorders, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (and related disorders); Behavior Disorders, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder; self-esteem; and a wide range of situational stressors that children and adolescent may be struggling to effectively manage at home or at school.
I have also worked extensively with adults aged 18 to 65+ in both private practice and hospital settings providing individual therapy, family therapy, and group therapy. For nearly 3 years, I acted as clinical supervisor for an evening adult intensive outpatient program that I developed to treat adults struggling with a wide range of presenting issues including Major Depression (and related mood disorders); Anxiety Disorders, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (and related disorders), and the wide range of situational stressors we all face at various times in our life.
I have several years of extensive training and experience in neuropsychological and personality assessment that has primarily focused on the diagnosis and treatment of childhood/adolescent, adult, and geriatric disorders. The following is a list of evaluations and assessments that I provide:
– Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
– Development Delays or Disabilities (e.g., social, emotional, achievement, intellectual, etc.)
– Learning Disorders (i.e., dyslexia, mathematics, writing)
– Autism Spectrum Disorder
– Psychodiagnostic (e.g., to clarify or confirm a diagnosis of other mental health disorders such as Depression, Anxiety Disorders, etc.)
– Cognitive Disorders (memory issues)