A guiding theme for my life is that of relationship and two statements inform this interest. The first is from Irvin Yalom, who instructs, “It is the relationship that heals.” I have experienced the positive aspects of being healed in my own relationships and seen the immense power of how relationship heals others through therapy and counseling. The second is by the educator Jon Kabat-Zinn, in his definition of mindfulness: “Paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” Being in relationship with oneself and others requires a focused mind and focused awareness in both the realm of the self and the other. The challenge is to be nonjudgmental and authentic in those interactions.
I have worked in the field of counseling and therapy for the past 25 years, working in a myriad of settings. Since 2003, I have been in private practice in Virginia Beach, working as a psychotherapist with adolescents, adults, families, substance abuse, trauma, depression, anxiety and additional clinical symptomology.
The challenge of being authentic in treatment is no better represented than treating teenagers and families. In this work, I found my calling. I have been looking for ways patients can find peace, utilizing multiple types of treatment, including individual therapy, groups, and specific work with adolescents and families. My search for effective treatment led to Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) to treat teenagers, families, and adults. This approach has integrated well in how I understand relationships and how to develop peace by utilizing mindfulness-based approaches. I continue to utilize DBT, Prolonged Exposure (PE), and evidence-based treatment in my clinical work.
In my own life creating meaning is done through relationships with others and with my relationship with God. The conflict of being on a journey to understand, married with the frustration of the unknown future is captured all too well in Proverbs 3:5-6, Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. There is tension between the demand to “know” in those difficult moments and the humility of accepting what we cannot understand. This acceptance and humility is necessary to experience peace.
My involvement in teaching has expanded my worldview and my role in helping others. I have expanded interests in how therapy works from both the clinical and research domains. I have developed significant interest in how the counselor develops personally and professionally and have a strong interest in the supervision process. Students need good clinical training! I am passionate in helping them find their way to become competent counselors.
My position at the CUI Townsend Institute Counseling Program allows me to seek and expand on the many passions I have with clinical work and counselor supervision. In addition, it affords the chance to pursue research in finding answers to the myriad of questions that my clinical and supervisory work has generated.
Areas of Interest
- Addiction in Adolescents and Families
- Qualitative Research Methodology
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy
- Evidence-based treatments
- Mindfulness in Teaching and Supervision
- Counselor Education and Counselor Development
- Use of Technology in Teaching
- Ph.D., Counselor Education and Supervision: Regent University
- M.A., Community/Clinical Psychology: Norfolk State University
- B.A., Psychology & Sociology: Virginia Wesleyan College
- LPC – Licensed Professional Counselor
- LMFT – Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist
- LSATP – Licensed Substance Abuse Treatment Practitioner
- CSAC – Certified Substance Abuse Counselor
- ACS – Approved Clinical Supervisor