MS, LPC, NCC
she / her / hers
Gender Identity & Sexuality
Anxiety & Depression
Trauma & PTSD
Highmark / BCBS
United Healthcare / Optum
Who I Help
I am a LGBTQIA+ and relationship minority affirming therapist. I love working with LGBTQIA+ related concerns, gender identity, sexuality and sexual identity, and various relationship types (i.e. CNM, poly, open relationships).
I also have experience with and enjoying working with those struggling with bipolar disorder, behavioral issues, depression, grief, school issues, self-esteem, stress management, gender identity, sexuality/sexual identity, trauma and PTSD, women's issues, life transitions, peer relationships, self-harm, and suicidal ideation.
Do you experience racing thoughts? Do you find yourself spiraling into the abyss inside of your mind? If so, we need some brain balance and CBT. Does your heart threaten to beat out of your chest? Does your anger seemingly spike from 0-100? Maybe you would benefit from some DBT skills, like Distress Tolerance or Grounding to help you achieve a Body balance. By learning skills that help challenge both our brains and our bodies, we can achieve, what I affectionately call, the brain/body balance. Let's dig into the root of what is really causing your anxiety, and identify skills that will work for your type of anxiety.
Radical Acceptance is also a concept taught early on by me, and you can expect me to challenge you to push back on your negative distortions. You can expect me to be "firm, but kind". You can expect me to always validate your feelings--they are yours and you are allowed to experience them. But together, we can also challenge your thoughts and behaviors to encourage new habits internally and externally to get you closer to the life you truly want to live, showing up in the way you truly want to show up.
Anxiety is about elevation, and a loss of control or fear of the unknown, which causes an increase in our levels of, well, pretty much everything. Depression is the exact opposite, right? We may have those same fears, but it is NOT "uppity". It's low--like velcro that sticks us to our bed and makes our limbs feel heavy. It can also present itself as "just a normal person living just another day"--which might mean you feel utterly exhausted from all of the "masking" you have to do to get through that day.
While the approach we take will always be collaborative and driven by YOU, I can suggest things that may work best for you as we continue to get to know each other and I learn more about your story and your struggles. Together, we can utilize a mix of techniques and skills to create a personalized approach to your unique set of difficulties.
I often utilize CBT skills to help challenge negative core beliefs about ourselves, and rationalize the thoughts and emotions that are at play. DBT can then be used to help us spark that movement, or help us start achieving small goals to help us build to larger goals. I also often use some behavior modification techniques with depression because truly, the stone has gathered the moss and we need to chip away at it before we get it rolling again.
You can expect me to challenge you to push back, even if it feels impossible. You can expect me to guide you, but not carry you, as depression needs to be fought and clawed out of. You can expect me to use a lot of metaphors including journeys and starry skies, and you may (if interested) expect to paint your emotions or expressions. I will hold you accountable, while also accepting where you are right now.
Self-Harm and Suicidality
I use a number of different techniques to help people who experience self-harm and suicidal ideations, but a main tool is motivational interviewing.
Do you WANT to feel like this? If you do, okay, I accept you as you are--but lets unpack that a little bit to get to its root. Safety is my number one priority, but so is trust and compassion. You can expect me to teach you harm reduction methods as well as the behavior chain of analysis and how relapse is a part of healing. You can expect me to utter the words "be gentle with yourself" every single session (most likely), and not judge you for those thoughts and urges that often make you feel isolated or "crazy". I use CBT, DBT, solutions- focused, and existential approaches to help you accomplish small goals, and make meaning out of your life and experiences. We can also utilize some art therapy approaches and metaphors to help you paint new realities for yourself, and accept (radically) that you have these thoughts and urges and still experience the good pockets of life too.
What Can you Expect?
When you are with me in the therapy room, you can expect to be accepted for exactly where you are on your journey--and for who you are in this world. What you absolutely always can expect me to do is hold space for you to be your authentic self. You can expect to meet with a real human, not a therapy droid. I will not be sitting behind a desk, I will not be in a suit, or have perfect hair and makeup. I will meet you where you are.
Want to sit on the floor? Okay, I'll just join you down there. Want to yell obscenities and just let loose because you feel so stifled and stuck? I got you, and will probably yell some obscenities with you. I have been known as a "firm but kind" therapist, and I intend to offer that to everyone I have the honor of working with.
You can expect genuine validation and compassion from me while I also hold you accountable and challenge you in the areas needed to achieve your personal goals. I want to be with you on this journey, but I want you to make sure you're the one driving the car at a pace that is comfortable for you. I use humor and empathy, and pull from my own life experiences as a bisexual woman, among other identities, to help relate to and understand my clients. You can expect some self-disclosure--only if it is relevant and would be helpful to you.
Your time with me is just that--yours. I will never pretend to know more than I do, and I will be open and honest while we learn from one another.
I'm formally an informal therapist. What's this mean? Well, it means we can have a session while sitting across from one another on couches while I hold a clipboard, or, we can have a session while we lay on the floor and throw a stress ball back and forth and laugh until we cry. I am truly human, and want to connect with you on a human level. I don't want a power struggle, or to feel like I'm superior because I'm the clinician. I want to meet you exactly where you are, create a trusting therapeutic alliance, and help you "unstick" what is stuck. I'm also really good at compartmentalizing my work from my personal life, and value self-care over everything. We cannot pour from empty vessels--and my hope is that I can model that for you so that you can begin to give yourself permission to do the same.
Being a therapist is truly one of the most internally rewarding and fulfilling careers I have ever achieved. Having come from a place where I needed someone like me at a younger age, I can say that the amount of pride I have in my work, and the care that I take to connect to people gives me natural energy. If I can make one tiny different in someone's life, all of the schooling, the debt, the time and energy put into this whole thing is far beyond worth it to create rainbows and sunshine amidst storm clouds.
I've lived a life. I've experienced my own traumas, and I've had to battle my own way through mental illness. So when I say I know, which I don't take lightly, the chances are I do know. And if I don't know, I will not ever pretend that I do. I want to learn, while helping you learn. I want to feel safe, while helping you feel safe. When you are with me, I care deeply for you and want you to genuinely know that you are not alone in this world or on this journey.
Let's unpack the huge pile of shit that's holding you back--together. Let's dive in, get at the root, and tackle it--together. You do not have to be alone in this. There IS a space for you in this world, including and especially here. Let's work together to create those spaces elsewhere, and help you really SHOW UP like you've always wanted to.
When I'm not at Open Space CCW, you may also find me...
At home with my husband and our fur babies, or out and about at any number of live music venues, art galleries, or museums. I love to explore not only the city, but the world. You can also find me on airplanes going to any number of destinations, or at festivals honoring any number of cultures as I seek to absorb as much as I can from the world and all of its people and places.