Licensed Psychologist & Owner
Licensed Professional Counselor/
Certified Alcohol Drug Counselor
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist
I began my career as a dispatcher/call-taker for police, fire, & ambulance service. I became a police officer, a member of the Critical Incident Stress Management and Peer Support Team. There, I gained valuable experience helping fellow first responders with their reactions to traumatic events, as well as the day-to-day wear and tear of the job.
My dad was an officer for almost 40 years so I grew up a policeman's daughter. This experience helps me understand what it's like to be affected by the police member's work.
I've also been happily married to an officer for 20 years (and counting!). Again, this gives me another perspective, another source of understanding.
I believe experience as a first responder and my work with them has been my greatest teacher. But I have also formally prepared to assist first responders to be mentally healthy. I earned a PhD in Counseling Psychology and an M.S. in Criminal Justice. I trained in EMDR, the recommended treatment for trauma. I studied factors that influenced officers' ability to cope with traumatic stress, factors that helped officers maintain work-life balance, and the decision-making processes of seasoned first responders regarding leaving the job. I've studied the work of others to better my understanding of the impact of the work to prepare compelling arguments for better services and coverage for mental injuries from the job.
My heart is in my work. When I was an officer and peer support team member, I found a shortage of mental health providers who understood the unique nature of the work. I realized my greatest contribution would be to fill this gap. I've taught other providers what I know about the first responder culture but there's no substitute for experience. I get it. I've had many roles in the last 20+ years in the profession: dispatcher/call-taker, victim services, police officer, and clinician. I've also had the benefit of decades of personal roles: daughter, wife, and friend of officers. All of these experiences have given me a well-rounded understanding of the impact of the work.
I grew up on military bases in North Carolina and New Jersey until I was 9 years old. We moved to Wisconsin where my stepfather became a deputy sheriff. My father retired from the Air Force after 20 years as a detective with the military police and became a police officer with the St. Louis Police Department. My experience growing up as the daughter of officers has helped me understand the impact the demanding work and culture has, not only on the individual as a first responder, but also on the family that loves them.
I received my Master’s in Professional Counseling and
am a Certified Alcohol Drug Counselor. I am trained
in EMDR which has been proven effective in treating trauma and PTSD symptoms. I continue to increase
my knowledge by reading books, attending trainings,
and consulting. I love hearing people’s stories, and I
learn through those connections.
My training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy has helped me understand that, by learning and using skills, we can continuously develop ourselves and our abilities to manage our lives. I also take a cognitive behavioral approach by looking at the way we think, feel, and behave are interconnected, and by looking deeper at where those thoughts came from and by challenging them, we can
come to a place of acceptance and change.
My philosophy is that there is no such thing as normal or perfect. We live in a world that is messy, unpredictable, and complicated. Sometimes we are the thing that complicates life, and other times we are merely caught up in the chaos. All we can do is our best with what we have, at any given moment. It is that belief, that we are all doing the best we can, that I try to lead with in my interactions with others. Whether we are looking at the past and choices that we have made, reflecting on the impact of choices others have made, or simply trying to navigate current situations and present choices. I believe that learning skills to manage the big reactions that we experience can help us slow down to look at the entire picture and consider our best options.
I work with adults and teens (14+), helping them manage anxiety, depression, substance use, self-harm, suicidal ideation, and trauma. I use a variety of modalities that include Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and trauma informed care.
I grew up with many family members in the military and watched the change in them as they would come back from tours of duty and the struggles their family endured while their family member was away. Watching first responders manage shifts, stressors of the job, and pressure from society all while trying to support the people they love reminds me of my own family and their struggles. This motivates me every day to learn, support, and educate all that I can.
I received my Master's of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy. I am trained in play therapy and EMDR. I am a lifelong learner and continue to engage in reading, training, consultation, and mentorship.
My training in play therapy has taught me the "language" of children. When children play they are expressing their thoughts, feelings, and anxieties. Play therapy allows me to hear this communication and encourages validation of emotions and experience, change of perception, and resolution.
My training in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) allows me to use many different therapy styles to identify negative beliefs about self and reprocess them to be strengths.
I came across the word: Parakleet in my studies and this truly defines the work with responders. I cannot change the job, co-workers, families, husbands, wives, parents, kids, society, politics, and all the other stresses we experience; what I can do is walk alongside. We all struggle, feel stuck, and feel like we have screwed everything up. Me too. If we can do it together though, share the load, things can feel a bit lighter and we can learn different ways to cope, live and thrive.
I work with kids as long as they are potty trained, families, couples, and individuals.
I was born and raised in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Growing up within a law enforcement family, I knew that no matter what I ended up doing in life I primarily wanted to give back to my community by supporting people. I attended New Mexico State University focusing my studies within healthcare. I began my career in healthcare working alongside law enforcement as a victim advocate and assisting with the sexual assault nurse examiners unit.
In 2018 I relocated to the Pacific Northwest with my husband and our children. Though the days are not as sunny as I was used to living in New Mexico, I love the changing seasons and picturesque landscape. A majority of my experience is in outpatient clinical settings as a Certified Medical Assistant and Phlebotomist.