What are your areas of expertise?
I am a certified grief counselor so I frequently work with clients dealing with grief, loss, PTSD and trauma. I also enjoy working with depression, anxiety, relationship issues, and spiritual issues. I recently completed the highest level of training for Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) and am now considered a Master Clinician for this therapy. For more information about ART please click here.
What is your main goal when working with a client?
Their main goal.
What is your approach and what methods do you employ?
It has been my experience that clients do not come to counseling looking for a specific methodology. I believe they are more drawn to the counselor/client relationship…the connection. A strong therapeutic relationship is foundational in order for the theories and techniques to be effective and long lasting.
That being said, I describe my methodology/approach as eclectic. Depending on the client’s needs, my approach may include exploring their childhood experiences (Psychoanalytical), understanding their family dynamics (Adlerian), and/or connecting the dots of their thoughts, emotions and behaviors (Cognitive Behavioral). The constants with my approach are that I engage the client with empathy and authenticity (Client-Centered), and I am aware of the immediacy of the client’s needs (Gestalt). The best thing I can give my client is my presence.
One specific approach I use is when working with trauma and PTSD I utilize Accelerated Resolution Therapy.
What age group do you most often work with?
I have worked with all age groups, literally from age 4-80. I think because of my age and life experiences I connect best with clients who are 30 or older.
Are you passive or active in the session? What can a client typically expect sessions to be like while working with you?
Clients can expect acceptance, openness, encouragement and accountability. Being active or passive in the session is determined on a session by session basis. One of my favorite authors, Henri Nouwen says it well: “Just as we cannot force a plant to grow but can take away the weeds and stones which prevent it’s development, so we cannot force anyone to such a personal and intimate change of heart, but we can offer the space where such a change can take place “.
I like to spend the first session collecting information about his/her background, family of origin, current relationships and various other data that gives me a picture of where they have been, where they are currently and where they want to go from here. Sometimes it is helpful and appropriate to use specific techniques and other times it is more about listening to the client’s story and helping the client see good/bad patterns in their life. Having this insight is helpful regarding their struggles and ultimately their solutions.
What is your background and what are your credentials?
I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the State of Florida. I am also a certified Grief Counselor with the American Academy of Grief Counseling. In addition, I am a certified Accelerated Resolution Therapist.
There is a tripod of experiences in my life that ground me. Firstly, there is nothing more important to me than my relationship with God. I could write volumes about that! Secondly, I was raised in the Midwest, on a working farm; and, thirdly, I was married for over 30 years before my husband unexpectedly died five years ago. Each of these foundational experiences is where I learned about life’s patterns, seasons, patience, resilience, perseverance, integrity and the strong connection between action and consequences (good and bad).
Other events that have added to my background of experiences include having an internship at the Chaplain’s office at Florida Hospital; serving on the Board of Directors of LifeLine of Central Florida and volunteering in my local church at various times over the past 35 years as a leader, teacher, speaker, and governing board member.
What is the reason you decided to get into counseling?
Becoming a counselor was always part of my life plan. It was not a straight path to get here, but the twists and turns were a necessary part of the growing and preparation process.
Tell us about your education.
I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Central Florida and a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Palm Beach Atlantic University. Post graduate work includes certifications as a Grief Counselor as well as an Accelerated Resolution Therapist.