From a young age, I have had a strong interest in the professions that help people. I developed a specific passion for psychology during my undergraduate years at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. After receiving my Bachelors degree, I knew I wanted “real world” experience before pursuing graduate school. I challenged myself to step outside of my comfort zone and moved to Portland, Oregon. During this time, I worked with adolescents who often had significant trauma backgrounds contributing to emotional and behavioral concerns. This experience solidified my passion for counseling and motivated me to pursue graduate school.
I returned to the Midwest to attend The Illinois School of Professional Psychology in order to learn how to support individuals through challenging times and facilitate lasting change. Throughout my training, I worked in a variety of settings including private practice, community mental health, and university counseling. I had the opportunity to learn from accomplished clinicians and internationally recognized scholars in the field. I completed my Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology in 2014 and obtained my Doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology in 2017.
My clinical training and warm, genuine personality allow me to support clients on their journey of exploration and growth. I aim to help people see how distressing past experiences shape the way we feel about ourselves, other people, and the world. Together as we develop a trusting, supportive therapeutic relationship, we can explore vulnerable emotions, create new meaning, and ultimately develop a more secure sense of self. I feel privileged to be a part of the healing that transpires throughout this journey.
Areas of Specialty
In addition to feeling down, depressed individuals often experience low self-worth, exhaustion, a lack of motivation, a loss of interest in things, and sleep problems. They may also feel a sense of helplessness and vulnerability. Depression can feel totally consuming, especially when it begins to trickle into other areas of your life (e.g., relationships, job, school, etc.). By engaging in therapy and developing a trusting, supportive relationship with your counselor, you can begin to explore your concerns and move towards healing.
I have advanced training in Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT) which is an evidence-based treatment for depression. I completed Level One training with Dr. Leslie Greenberg, the primary developer of this therapy, as well as Dr. Rhonda Goldman, a published author, international trainer, and leading expert in the field. EFT aims to help people access and understand their emotions, explore how past experiences may impact current functioning, transform emotional pain, and create new meaning. It also helps people to let go of resentment and gain self-acceptance. Through this process, you can begin to develop a more secure sense of self, improve relationships with others, and reduce symptoms of depression. I can provide support as you navigate through this challenging journey towards growth and lasting change.
Couples Counseling and Pre-Marital Counseling
When couples experience conflict within their relationship, it can be daunting to identify the root of the concerns, communicate about vulnerable emotions, and reconnect as a pair. Relationships can be especially challenging during times of transition (e.g., getting married, having a baby, moving, starting a new job, retiring, etc.). With the help of a trusted therapist, couples can work through their troubles and learn how to navigate conflict more adaptively in the future.
I work with partners to explore their unmet needs and concerns, manage conflict, learn ways to communicate in a healthy manner, and ultimately improve the quality of their relationship. When you can identify the patterns that maintain problems, you can learn to be more accessible and responsive to one another. This experience can help partners learn more about themselves individually and as a pair. In addition to couples counseling, I can also provide pre-marital therapy to help address challenging topics and learn skills to set couples up for success.
I have received specialized training in Gottman Method Couples Therapy as well as Emotion Focused Couples Therapy. I have also attended numerous seminars given by leading experts in the field including Dr. Rhonda Goldman, Dr. Sue Johnson, and Drs. John & Julie Gottman. These experiences have provided me with the tools needed to support couples through these challenging times.
Individuals who identify as sexual and/or gender minorities are at greater risk for social and emotional problems as they report more depression, victimization, suicidality, substance abuse, and lower levels of self-esteem. I aim to help members of the LGBTQ+ community gain acceptance and navigate challenges related to their identity. I strive to provide a safe space for individuals to feel valued and live authentic lives.
I also have a strong interest in supporting parents and other family members to understand and process gender and/or sexual orientation disclosures. As this can be a confusing and distressing experience for family members, I can help to process the range of emotions associated with such an event and provide information about how to best support one another. My passion for this topic manifested into my empirical doctoral dissertation, Support needs and challenges of LGBTQ youth during the “coming out” years.
Other Areas of Clinical Focus
Additionally, I am skilled in helping people with the following concerns: identity exploration/development, women’s issues, anxiety, adjustment/transition, and trauma. As a military spouse, I am also drawn to the needs and concerns of military families, particularly during a deployment.
International Society for Emotion Focused Therapy (ISEFT)
Illinois Psychological Association (IPA)
Society for the Psychology of Women (APA Division 35)
Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues (APA Division 44)