I have lived in the Midwest my whole life, being born and raised in Sycamore, IL, and living in both Iowa City, IA, and Oak Park, IL during my undergrad and graduate years. My interest in psychology sparked when I first started school at the University of Iowa and was enrolled in an “Introduction to Psychology” course. I found it fascinating not only to be learning about our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors as human beings, but also how our life experiences and relationships can have tremendous impact on how we perceive ourselves, the world and others.
In my work in the field, I find it important to keep up with the most current education and effective techniques to best help my clients. Through the use of these, and conscious effort together, we can make the changes desired and reach the goals that may have once seemed unattainable.
My clinical experiences range from being part of community mental health facilities to adolescent psychiatric hospitals to private practices. I work with all ages, and have experience with children as young as 4. I especially have experience in working with perinatal-related issues including Postpartum Depression, Postpartum Anxiety, and experiences around pregnancy and infant loss. I also work with a lesser known but very important issue, Postpartum OCD.
Areas of Clinical Specialty
Anxiety has many different feelings associated with it: uneasiness, angst, panic, restlessness, distrust, worry, fear, obsessiveness, desire to control things or people, and nervousness. We all experience some of these things from time to time, but when the signs of anxiety are more often present than not, it can get in the way of a healthy life. I have a special interest in Generalized Anxiety Disorder, which can be described as worrying more often than not to the point that it impacts your life on a daily basis. In addition to G.A.D., other anxiety-related concerns and disorders that I work with are phobias, panic attacks, Social Anxiety, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I utilize Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, as well as other therapeutic techniques in order to assist people in confronting and managing anxiety.
Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders
There are so many changes going on for a woman during and after pregnancy. These changes include but are not limited to: body changes, relationship changes, financial changes, job/school changes, changes in sleep and appetite, and changes of expectations and roles. Despite the abundance of changes and difficulty of this life transition, it can feel scary to get help. Sometimes there is so much going on that we have difficulty adjusting, or find ourselves experiencing mood swings, an increase in stress, irritability, or anger, and feelings of isolation and loneliness at a time when we already feel very vulnerable. I am here to help and together we can work through this. I’ve had training through Postpartum Support International to help moms and their loved ones cope with the many changes going on, and manage symptoms that may be occuring because of “Baby Blues,” Postpartum Depression, Anxiety, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. I am currently the Women’s Health Specialty Team Lead.
I work with children of all ages with struggles in mood, anxiety, school performance and behavior. When working with a child, I utilize Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to teach them how their thoughts, feelings and behaviors relate to one another. Because children are often unable to verbally express their emotional needs, I use an interactive-learning approach with them on how to recognize certain feelings; how they can express their needs in healthy ways; and how they can cope with different feelings and situations. I also encourage the parent(s)/guardian(s) to take an active role in fostering the change desired in their child by providing education in parenting skills, creating and enforcing behavioral modification, utilizing positive reinforcement and involving the school or community,
if desired, in a collective systems approach.
It is an honor to me to work with people in the LGBTQ+ community. I am a proud NIU Ally and find it very important to provide a space that is safe, secure, and supportive for those identifying in the LGBTQ+ community to work on mental health experiences and issues such as anxiety, life transitions, relationship struggles, isolation, depression, loss & grief, gender dysphoria and trauma.
Other Areas of Clinical Focus
In addition to the concerns and populations listed above, I work with people of all ages who may be experiencing difficulties such as depression, non-romantic relationship stress/discord, low self-esteem, anger and trouble with life transitions.