What it’s like to be in therapy with me
I believe everyone is worthy of love and capable of fostering kindness for themselves; however, sometimes we get stuck, or simply feel too overwhelmed to tap into our highest potential on our own. For me, therapy is for anyone who feels they may benefit from additional support, or who wants to create healthy change in their life. While providing a safe and non-judgmental space, I promote healthy thinking skills and offer opportunities to explore triggers, strengths, and relationship patterns. While striving to relate to you on an authentic and warm level, I will also help you explore coping skills, relationship patterns, and approaches to mindfulness.
How I approach therapy
Since every individual is truly beautiful and unique, I don’t practice a one-size fits all approach to therapy. Instead, I use compassion, humor, art, play and curiosity to get to know you: your goals, your fears, and everything in-between. I use that compassionate understanding as a platform to help you grow greater awareness of yourself, which often creates space in your life for more effective coping skills.
As a registered art therapist, I often integrate creative interventions into my work. I am client-centered, which means I am passionate about working collaboratively with you from a place of personal strength. I say work because therapy is challenging and I feel it is my job to make sure you feel supported as we dig deeper into your emotional world. I find art can be useful to express feelings, or to bring about insights that we didn’t previously have the words for.
I find the therapeutic relationship to be one of the most critical components to treatment. As your therapist, I will be your advocate, cheerleader, and coach, and am committed to helping you figure out what you feel is most helpful for you in reaching your best self.
Educational Background and Other Things That Could Be Considered Noteworthy
Since high school, I knew that working in mental health was my calling. I obtained undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Art Therapy from Edgewood College while receiving the Rath Distinguished Scholarship during my senior year. I started my graduate journey as the honored recipient of the Competitive Graduate Award, which allowed me to pursue my dual Master degrees in Clinical Counseling and Art Therapy from University Illinois of Edwardsville, 2014.
For the past three years and currently, I volunteer as the Secretary and Governmental Affairs Committee (GAC) Chair of the Southern California Art Therapy Chapter, which promotes the field of art therapy though advocacy and community. Before that, I served as the GAC chair for the Missouri Art Therapy Chapter.
Clinical Training and Experience
My clinical training has been diverse and rewarding, and has included a variety of settings and populations: inpatient psychiatric care with adults struggling with chronic mental health diagnoses; individual therapy for children, adolescents and their caregivers in residential and in-home settings; preschool-age children in the Head Start setting, and many others.
Immediately after graduate school, I served children and their parents in residential care and in their homes as they navigated a variety of crises. This time was both humbling and intense as my clients opened themselves up, their homes, and trust to me during their most vulnerable moments.
Throughout the years, I have provided counseling and art therapy services to individuals and groups in order to support adults in crisis and recovery who were navigating co-morbid issues (i.e., substance abuse and mental health challenges). My clinical experiences, art therapy expertise, and therapeutic skills have been forged by years of treatment planning, tears, and tissues, and I’m forever grateful for all of the clients I’ve had the privilege to work with.
A bit more about me
I love what I do and it is always my hope to help others express themselves via various art media within a professional and trusting therapeutic relationship. I believe this passion “took root” as the oldest sibling of four (i.e. being the built-in babysitter and caretaker). Out of necessity, I learned early on the power of listening, observation, and creativity. As I grew up and into my teenage years, art became another integral tool for me, as it allowed me to navigate the struggles of sexism, feelings of inadequacy, and other adversities (i.e., feelings of hopelessness and thoughts such as Am I good enough?, Is everything all my fault?, etc.). Another tool that helped me on my journey was (and still is), using movement and the body. Increased body awareness has helped me realize where I store stress and other various emotions in the body (which is different for everyone!). As a result, I often incorporate body awareness into my work. A related fun fact is that I recently completed my second marathon in March 2019, and I love running, yoga, and hiking.
I have advanced training in:
And I specialize in working with: