Being raised in a diverse neighborhood from the Midwest fostered my curiosity and appreciation for the rich narratives that shaped my community. My passion for discovering what connects families and society stayed with me as I pursued my undergraduate degree at Northern Illinois University, where I majored in Sociology. As I found myself working in a criminal justice setting, I noticed people spoke often of their family networks, and the direct impact it had on their recovery. I wanted people to feel confident and knowledgeable when navigating their relationships, and later pursued my Master’s in Applied Family & Child Studies, with a Specialization in Marriage and Family Therapy from Northern Illinois University.
I have been able to apply my clinical skills in partial hospitalization programs, community mental health, as well as within a private practice setting. I enjoyed tailoring services which were specific to the needs expressed by my clients, and did so through facilitating individual, group, and family therapy. As a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (LMFT), I aim to assist my clients in becoming aware of their role in the surrounding environment, as well as identifying ways to positively impact their school/peer/work/family relationships. I have been fortunate to provide a welcoming space for my clients where they can gain insight about themselves and access information and techniques that are relevant and practical for their day-to-day lives.
Areas of Speciality
Being an MFT means I have specialized education and experience in working not only with individuals, but also with the relationships that affect them. I have used my MFT training to welcome a wide range of people, including: individuals, children (5 y.o. & up), adolescents, parents, couples, and families. My past work history has been built by routinely addressing concerns of: anxiety, ADHD, depression, behavioral disorders, relational conflict, identity formation, life transitions, blended families, spirituality, assertiveness, parenting, grief, codependency, self-esteem, involvement in the criminal justice system, and stress. I employ a variety of therapeutic approaches, which include: Systemic Approaches, CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), Gottman Couples Therapy, PMT (Parent Management Training), Motivational Interviewing, Prepare/Enrich, Solution Focused, and many others.
Certificates and Supplemental Training
I have pursued trainings in working with LGBTQ individuals, Mood Disorders in African American Families with Chronic Illness, Parent Management Training, and Gottman Couple’s Therapy. I am also a clinical member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapists, which allows me to access and stay current on new research and methods in my field.
*Did you know that “premarital counseling has been shown to reduce the chance of divorce by 30%”?
Prepare/Enrich is a couple’s assessment tool that can be used in premarital counseling or for sustained relationship enrichment. The goal of the P/E program is to “identify strengths and areas of growth for the couple, strengthen communication skills, resolve conflict, and use personality differences to maximize a “teamwork” approach.” As a Certified P/E Facilitator, I can use this assessment to provide a comprehensive overview of your couple relationship and guide you in a productive conversation with your significant other of how to continue relationship success. It can be used as a stand-alone enrichment tool, or as a building block for continued couple’s therapy.
Gottman Method Couples Therapy
For couples looking to further address relationship concerns past the initial “pre-marital phase”, I routinely employ the research based interventions outlined in the Gottman’s Method of Couple’s Therapy. Having completed my Level 2 training in this method, I am motivated by it’s effectiveness to pragmatically impart the vocabulary and skills to calmly discuss ongoing issues that have plagued their relationship. The ultimate goals are partners that are empathetic, “in tune”, and responsive to one another’s needs.
*Stanley, S.M. (2001) Making a case for premarital education. Family Relations, 50, 272- 280. U.S. Census Bureau. (2011) Statistical abstracts of the United States.