In retrospect, I have to wonder if I chose to be a counselor or if it chose me. Maybe it was my last name that did it? Fate or choice, its a profession I love. In 1999, I obtained undergraduate degrees in Honors Psychology and Fine Art from Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. Wanting to immerse myself in the field, and feeling an itch for adventure, I moved to the Bay Area in California in 2000. I earned a Masters in Counseling Psychology with a specialization in Somatic Psychology from John F. Kennedy University in 2003. My education was influenced by phenomenal teachers who sustained clinical practices of their own while mentoring students. The program emphasized the cultivation of well-informed and empathic therapists. That time left me with the perspective that everything is meaningful, and that ‘real contact’ is what we are all working for ultimately. Sometimes it’s complicated. Sometimes it’s simple.
During my time in California, I worked in various settings gaining experience. I began by working in a no-fail residential program for children up to age 10, two years later in a school with thirteen and fourteen year-olds, and following that with teenagers in a homeless shelter. I worked for another year with adults in a community clinic providing individual counseling. During this time I also became a Jin Shin Jyutsu (JSJ) practitioner. JSJ is a Japanese healing modality, a form of ‘bodywork’. I also spent 4 years cultivating an intensive meditation practice. And importantly, I had a lot of fun!
All things put together, my heart still belonged to the North Carolina mountains, and after obtaining licensure to work as a clinical mental health counselor in 2005, I moved to Asheville. Now home, I have worked with different community-based agencies serving families and adults in various settings. These positions included the Buncombe County Health Department with its integrated-care program, in-home family services and adult crisis response with RHA, and assessment and individual therapy services with RHA and CNC Access.
Since 2007, I have been working in private practice. In that time, I completed training and obtained full certification as an EMDR Practitioner (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). I also completed intensive trainings in Hakomi, a mindfulness-based experiential approach to counseling. At present, I am immersed in work as an Internal Family Systems therapist, a model that supports greater integration of outlying aspects of our personalities. These modalities significantly influence my approach as a therapist. I have written more about them on this site for you to read. Currently, I work with couples an individuals in downtown Asheville and online.