Why work with me for therapy?

I  know it can be time consuming and overwhelming to find the right therapist. This page is to help you learn more about me and my qualifications to help you decide if I might be the right fit to help you work towards your goals.

First off, I think it can be helpful to know a little about the type of client that typically has the most success working with me. Clients that get the most out of working with me come to sessions willing to honestly discuss issues and learn new skills. They are prepared to put in the effort to apply what we discuss outside of session. They understand that it’s not going to happen overnight.  They approach sessions with an open-mind and willingness to learn. They may be scared, nervous, or have difficulty feeling motivated, but they are committed to making changes in their behaviors and thoughts in spite of discomfort. They understand that therapy doesn’t always feel “good”, sometimes it brings up painful emotions, makes us confront things that we fear, or makes us question things that are uncomfortable to question. If you bring this willingness to learn, change, and grow to sessions we are more likely to be successful.

As we work together I will  provide validation and a nonjudgmental space, while at the same time encouraging you to increase awareness of reality and unhelpful narratives and beliefs that may be getting in your way, to identify what is “in” vs. “out” of your control, and to question what can help you move closer to your ultimate goals.

I find it helps the therapeutic process to have some interests in common, so here are a few things I enjoy: I love animals and being outside in nature,  anything related to the Fall season – all year round,  and finding unusual items at antique and thrift stores.  I’m calm and nonjudgmental – you can feel free to be yourself in session. While I do help other’s learn to accept and love themselves, I’m not the bubbly, cheerleader type –  I don’t believe finding satisfaction and success in life has to mean smiling all the time or being loud, talkative, or overconfident. We will work together each session to find what creates meaning and value for you.
Check out my blog post on other ways to get the most out of your sessions.

My Qualifications

I have a MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a BA in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Asheville.  I’m a National Board Certified Counselor and a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor in North Carolina (credential changed from “Licensed Professional Counselor” by the board in 2020).  I know it can be hard to tell the difference between all the different types of mental health provider licenses – counselor, social worker, marriage and family therapist, life coach, psychologist, psychiatrist, etc…. Some important things about my license to help you decide on therapy with me:

  • I have met the highest standard for masters-level hour requirements for graduate study and post graduate licensure and supervision.
  • The majority of my graduate and licensure hours were required to be in person, face to face time spent with clients providing actual therapy. Some licenses and certifications have lower hour requirements or are allowed to accumulate their hours from higher amounts of paperwork, phone calls, and other non-client centered experiences.
  • I am nationally certified and have passed examinations verifying that I am knowledgeable in mental health history, modalities, ethics, interventions, and theories.
  • I am required to maintain ongoing continuing education hours to ensure I am continuing to grow as a professional and delivering treatment based on the most current evidence and research.
  • I do not prescribe medications.
  • I do not provide letters, recommendations, or court services for disability, transgender medical procedures, bariatric surgery or other medical procedures, emotional support animals or service animals, custody, fitness to parent, military fitness, competency, etc.

I became certified in the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning (EAGALA) model of equine-assisted psychotherapy in 2015. This has allowed me to incorporate my passion for working with animals into my practice. If you love the idea of yoga with goats, you should definitely try therapy with horses…. Check out my services page for more information on equine-assisted psychotherapy. There’s no riding or horsemanship involved and, no, it’s not therapy for horses.

I have worked with a variety of populations and diagnoses including but not limited to Borderline Personality Disorder, Depression, Anxiety, dual diagnosis (mental health & substance use), autism spectrum diagnoses, teens and adults with behavioral issues, palliative care/grief, and  addressing burnout, compassion fatigue, and vicarious trauma in animal care professionals.

Treatment Approach

I combine several evidence-based approaches (meaning there is research showing they work) and philosophies of therapy into sessions. I blend them together depending on what is needed and will work best for you. Approaches used include, but are not limited to:

  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy – A set of skills and homework that can be practiced daily, built on, and used to change your thoughts, reactions to emotions, and your relationships. Modules include mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance, and emotion regulation.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – Noticing, questioning, and challenging or re-framing limiting thoughts, opinions, & beliefs to change your mindset and perspective which in turn changes your behaviors. Thoughts, emotions, & behaviors are all connected.
  • Narrative Therapy – Our lives, identities, and behaviors are shaped by the stories others tell us and what we tell ourselves about who we are and what we have been through. You can take control of your story and decide what you want the meaning, the chapters, and the ending to look like.
  • Solution-focused Therapy – We can focus on what solutions exist to resolve problems you are facing and take steps to act on what you have control over. You have strengths, choices, and skills to help you get there.
  • Existential Therapy – You define and create meaning (or lack thereof) in your life. What makes your life worth living, what’s of value to you?

 

Online and phone sessions are available to anyone in North Carolina and are being used at this time due to COVID-19.

At the Mooresville location I provide both individual office sessions and equine-assited individual, group, and team building sessions at a  beautiful,private farm estate with over 50 acres of pastures. It looks like a fairy tale property with a beautiful herd of horses, a covered bridge and creek, deer and other wildlife, and ivy covered buildings. The office is in an updated loft area of the barn, overlooking the stables and hay loft, while still having all the comforts of a traditional therapy office.

The Winston-Salem office is in a traditional building on Henning Dr. near the Reynolda and Wake Forest University areas. I provide individual office sessions only at that location, but Winston-Salem clients are also welcome to incorporate equine-assisted sessions in Mooresville (about an hour from Winston) into their treatment if they are willing to commute for those sessions.

Visit the Locations page for more info about each office.

Feel free to contact with any additional questions!

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“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson