Growing up, I felt quite lost - I did not know what I wanted to be! So I spent decades working a variety of jobs in a variety of environments. I worked outdoors as a manual laborer, an art teacher, as a florist, a bartender, short order cook, a server in Italian, Creole, Vietnamese, and more restaurants-- in corporate offices, as a graphic designer, and even a short stint as a costumed character entertaining kids at birthday parties. I guess you could say I was searching for my "calling." Deep down inside I always knew that I have always been interested in people, but also so much more. I made a decision to take an atypical job at a wilderness therapy program for teens to combine my interest in people, psychology and the outdoors. I moved to the mountains of West Virginia, where I lived outdoors for 16 days each month, hiked 10 miles per day with everything I needed tied to my back, and slept under a 10'x10' plastic tarp exposed to rain, wind, snow and sun. I learned to live with an embrace the elements, sleeping outdoors in temperatures ranging from 24 - 90 degrees. I wanted to do this work to test my limits, challenge and push myself, and try to make a difference in the life of others.
The teenagers who came to the wilderness program were hurt, humiliated angry, and though they didn't realize it -- quite lost. I could relate to that! But in my efforts to connect and help, these kids typically got defensive and defiant, pushed away, ran away, or got creative in their own efforts to assert themselves and develop a sense of independence. They pushed my buttons, triggered my vulnerabilities and lack of self esteem. I learned that caring and wanting to help wasn't enough. Their behavior towards me taught me more about myself than I ever expected. I had to surrender to the fact that I didn't know very much. I learned that healing can only come from the inside, and is connected to deep longing for real connection. Those years were painful and tough. I realized how much work I needed to do on myself.
I am now a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Prior to entering private practice I worked at other residential treatment centers, hospitals, and non-profit agencies. I have provided evaluations and therapy to individuals, groups, and families, consultation on clients with substance use disorders, advising physicians, psychiatrists, and other health care workers. I do my best to remain honest enough to admit that, no matter how much I learn, I still don't know enough. However, I can now honestly say that I am passionate about what I do, and I will not change careers again!
I know learning and growing is a lifelong process. Psychotherapy is a unique field -- I am not the expert. I have to use the skills I have learned to create a path for the expert in you to find the path through the woods.
I will never know enough. Therefore, I have made a professional commitment to ongoing training, studying the latest research in neuroscience, and consulting with other professionals in the field. I make an investment in the work that I do, so that I can make the best investment in the lives of those who come to do therapy with me.
If you are curious to find out if therapy with me is a good choice for you, you are welcome to call. A consultation is simply a conversation to briefly talk about about what is bringing you to therapy, to ask questions, and to help you make a decision about how to move forward. I also offer referrals to other therapists if you conclude that therapy with me is not the best choice for you at this time. There is no charge for an initial telephone consultation.
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