My main approach to counseling is establishing a collaborative, strength-based, and goal-focused relationship. I believe we all have the capacity within ourselves to address roadblocks in our lives, heal from emotional wounds, and move towards growth and contentment. We also all feel stuck at times along the way and can use a little help. I work alongside my clients on identifying clear goals to strive for and by which to measure success. I highlight my clients’ strengths and areas of progress during this work, as a large part of that feeling stuck is the harsh perceptions we tend to have about ourselves. While I may challenge my client to shift certain perceptions of self or of what is achievable, I focus on providing the empathy that all deserve when struggling with life’s challenges, and also work to dispel the guilt and self-criticism we tend to give ourselves for not meeting our unreasonable expectations. I find self-acceptance and self-compassion critical to self-growth.
I have spent the bulk of my time as a mental health professional working in community mental health for adults with severe mental illness and addiction. I have provided outpatient counseling services within a community wellness center, and intensive mental health and substance abuse treatment in a residential setting for those with dual diagnosis. In addition I have served children and adolescents suffering from anxiety, depression, conduct problems, and complex trauma as a school counselor and in the home as a behavioral specialist. Within my private practice I have predominantly worked with twenty somethings feeling lost and defeated, adults with longterm mental illness who do not wish to slip back into crisis, and caregivers who need help prioritizing their own self-care. In all settings I have found three main factors critical in my work; challenging problem-centered narratives, establishing concrete, positive goals and expectations for my clients, and connecting them to the powerful healing that healthy family and community relationships provide.