I was born and raised in Belvidere, IL, and I obtained my Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology with a minor in Sociology from Northern Illinois University. My passion for psychology began in high school because I was fascinated with the processes of the human mind, and I wanted to learn more about the causes and symptoms of the various psychological disorders. During college, I had the opportunity to work as a research assistant in two separate labs: one that focused on OCD and anxiety and the other on trauma. These experiences strengthened my interest in psychology and inspired me to pursue a graduate degree where I could gain more knowledge about the treatments for these disorders.
I earned my Master of Arts Degree in Clinical Psychology from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 2021. Through my graduate program, I trained in an intensive outpatient setting at a behavioral health center in St. Louis, MO. This opportunity allowed me to help individuals with severe anxiety-related disorders regain functioning and develop more adaptive coping methods, and it also solidified my commitment to help individuals facilitate change and live a more meaningful life.
Areas of Specialty
Through my work with adolescents and adults, I believe it is important to first establish an environment that is warm, accepting, and hopeful. I also serve as a guide and provide my clients with necessary information to help inform their decisions regarding treatment. Therefore, treatment is individualized and collaborative, and the client and I work together to identify therapeutic goals that align with their values.
My training with anxiety-related disorders emphasized evidence-based clinical care, so my treatment approach tends to rely on cognitive behavioral therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy. I also incorporate mindfulness, self-compassion, and strategies from dialectical behavior therapy into treatment. Based on the client’s presenting problems and preferences, we decide which interventions will be most beneficial and proceed at their desired pace.
I have experience working with a variety of anxiety-related disorders including generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and specific phobias. When treating these disorders, I use cognitive behavioral therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy, with specific techniques varying based on the disorder. Exposure and response prevention is one of the main methods used and is characterized by facing feared stimuli and situations at a manageable pace (“exposure”) and by learning healthy coping habits (“response prevention”).
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive compulsive disorder is characterized by persistent thoughts, urges, or images of various themes. In response to these thoughts, urges, and images, individuals are often driven to perform repetitive behaviors or mental acts to reduce distress or to prevent an undesired situation from occurring. OCD is often debilitating for clients and can negatively affect their overall functioning. I use exposure and response prevention to help clients manage their obsessions and compulsions, as this is one of the most established psychological treatments for the disorder. Additionally, I tend to include acceptance and mindfulness strategies as well.
There are various symptoms associated with depression, such as sadness, low motivation, fatigue, sleep problems, and feelings of worthlessness and guilt. Clients who experience depression may also lose interest in regular activities and hobbies. In treatment, I apply techniques from behavior therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy to help clients address and challenge self-critical thoughts, as well as increase their engagement with routine, valuable, and enjoyable activities.
Other Areas of Clinical Focus
In addition to the specializations listed above, I also provide services for adolescents and adults who may be experiencing difficulties with emotion regulation, posttraumatic stress, life transitions, work stress, and anxiety/perfectionism related to academic performance.