My Approach to Helping
I am a systems therapist, which means that I work from a perspective that a person or family is affected by everything around them: friends, family, coworkers, school and work environments, and social groups. All of these and more influence how we think, act, and respond to stress. I try to gather as much information about all of these things as possible to be as aware as possible about the total systems influence. I prefer to utilize cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), narrative therapy, and mindfulness-based interventions in treatment. Often it is appropriate and necessary to utilize other therapies so as to find the best fit for my clients. I have experience with solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT), psycho-education, dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and motivational interviewing.
I specialize in military and first responder families and couples. As a veteran and military spouse myself, I have unique insight and perspective on the challenges and stressors that they face. When I was in the Marines, I saw firsthand the damage that day-to-day military life and deployments wrought. One of my assignments required me to process casualty reports from the front and rear during the war. I developed a passion for mental health during this time. When I left the Marines, I chose to continue to serve my country by serving my brothers and sisters in arms.
More Info About My Practice
After serving in the Marines from 2001 to 2005, I earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from The Evergreen State College in 2007. I immediately pursued my master's degree at Chapman University, graduating in 2010. I broke from clinical practice from 2011 to 2016 to work for the US Navy as an engineering psychologist, working to ensure optimal performance of the human element of Naval warfare systems to be placed on ships, as well as Marine Corps ground vehicles. In 2016 I returned to clinical practice as a Crisis Intervention Specialist, serving the Dallas area and 5 surrounding counties on a mobile crisis outreach team. I worked extensively with those in crisis, including those experience suicidal and homicidal ideation. I coordinated care and service with local law enforcement, fire rescue, emergency room personnel and the court system. I am currently completing my Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Sciences from North Central University with a specialization in military families.
Had a Negative Therapy Experience?
I often tell my clients that going to a therapist is like taking your car to a mechanic. If the mechanic doesn't understand how the car works, or can't fix it, you don't give up on the car. You find a new mechanic. Therapy is no different. If you didn't like your primary care doctor, you'd switch and find a new one, right? Don't stay with a therapist after 3-4 sessions if you don't feel comfortable by then. Don't give up on your mental health just because one therapist wasn't a good fit.
Why Going to Therapy Does Not Mean You are Weak or Flawed
Choosing to take care of yourself is the most important decision you can make for yourself and everyone around you. I have been around a lot of veterans who served in a climate that taught that admitting you were having trouble dealing with something meant you were weak. That's a hard belief to overcome, but it is absolutely necessary. In recent years, even the military has learned that mental health is just as important as physical health.
Asking for help is the hardest thing to do. Just look at you. You're not even sure you should tell someone you need help. "I can do this on my own," you think. Then you get lost in the woods, shadows following you, and you don't know where to go next. It doesn't mean that you can't find your way home. You just need a guide, a sign that points you in the right direction. A therapist is a compass, a north star, to help you find your way home. A therapist can't walk that path for you, but they can show you the way. That kind of work takes bravery and determination. That's not weakness. That's strength.