I grew up in the Chicago area splitting my time between downtown and the suburbs. Even as a child I was intrigued by how people interacted and what motivated them to do the things they do. This passion has never faded for me. I left Chicago to attend college at Southern Illinois University where I was actively involved in the Psychology Department as a research assistant. At the end of my undergraduate program I was hired by the University to coordinate several research programs in the Psychophysiology Laboratory. My experiences in this environment forever influenced the way I approach information and the critical nature of my thinking in how I plan treatment and seek resources for my clients. There are many different techniques and approaches to use, but it is important to fully assess those approaches to ensure that they are effective and proven to be beneficial. I left Southern Illinois to attend graduate school in Northern New Mexico. At New Mexico Highlands University (in the real Las Vegas!), I expanded my interests from research and teaching to counseling. While I was completing my thesis I began working in the local school district working with children and adolescents with behavioral and emotional issues, eventually coordinating disability services and helping children and families transition into the public school system. While working in these settings I was also involved in community organizing and facilitating resources to area schools and communities for children with disabilities. The experience of working in this environment was instrumental in determining the direction of my work. Living in Northern New Mexico is an education in itself, apart from graduate school. The different cultures, the traditional way of life (in many places barely touched by the outside world), as well as the level of poverty and violence, contributed greatly to how I see the world and how I approach my clients. After returning to the Chicago area I began working in the residential treatment and alternative school environments. This also shifted my focus to more trauma centered care. It solidified my sense that emotional and psychological difficulties are multi-faceted and the result of many experiences and circumstances. Finding ways to build resilience and strength while facing the issues that bring people into counseling is critical to long term changes.
I am a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in the state of Illinois. I work with adults and children with a variety of issues. I enjoy working with adults, as well as children and adolescents, in conjunction with or separately from family therapy/consultation. My focus is on clarifying and addressing the issues that bring each individual into counseling and creating a partnership and treatment plan that will support change and growth.
I believe that the relationship between client and therapist is crucial to creating the environment needed for change. Social and emotional difficulties rarely emerge in isolation, but rather from a variety of experiences and interactions. I feel that everyone deserves to be happy and have an opportunity for fulfillment, but that for many reaching that goal requires support.
Areas of Specialty
I am trained in a variety of techniques to help my clients explore and address the issues that keep them from reaching their goals. I am very eclectic in my approach and what is used is determined as through a partnership with my clients. While I use a great deal of Cognitive Therapy techniques, I also utilize techniques from Schema, Humanistic, Rational Emotive, Behavioral and Client Centered Therapies. I have advanced training in Trauma focused care and EMDR, and am always working to find research backed techniques that will help my clients move forward in reaching their goals. Some of the issues I have worked with in my practice include anxiety, depression, goal clarification, improved listening skills, healthy expression of thoughts and feelings, coping with loss, struggling with identity and providing support as clients go through changes in life circumstances. Individual therapy can often provide the support needed to find healthy ways to cope, make changes needed to live healthier lives or learn to manage mood issues, marital difficulty, or other challenges. I am currently the PTSD and Trauma Specialty Team Lead.