Approach, Expertise, Influences and Experience
I use the following therapeutic modalities to implement my approach described below: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Self-Compassion Therapy, Polyvegal Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Intuitive Eating, and Mindfulness Practices.
-I attend to the "roots" of the plant first. How healthy can a plant be if when it looks sick all we do is paint the leaves green? :
To that end we usually need to fundamentally change how we relate to what hurts us. We hurt where we care. Anger, anxiety, depression, and other difficult internal experiences, although hurtful, guide us to a life of meaning, belonging, and contentment. To be frightened of, ashamed of, or to yell at yourself about your ills makes living the life we hope for nearly impossible. Learning to cultivate a healthy relationship with what ails us is crucial to a meaningful, connected, happy life. "Treating the roots" first fosters a durable resilience in moving towards what is important to us, even when it's the last thing we want to do.
-I am guided by the firm belief that you are good and doing your best:
It's just sometimes we and/or the world can be so hard on us that it feels like the only life for us is one at the bottom of a well. I know though that life doesn't just have to happen to you: you can happen to life too! So, I want to know who you are when you are not believing there is anything fundamentally wrong with you. What ways of being make you feel most alive, and what gets in the way? Where and how do you experience awe? Once I know the answer to these questions, we know which direction to get you walking.
-I can teach you to become capable to care for, provide, protect, and motivate yourself like a good coach or wise elder:
What works for my clients in learning to do this is a combination of radical acceptance, growing nonjudgmental awareness, inner compassion, looking at our past, and understanding the science behind how our body interacts with our minds. While this is very over simplified, it is a potent combination that can be tailored to each individual. While, there is much we can and need to change within, I think that it is crucial to also recognizing the truly immense and chronically under acknowledged impact of external systems—economic, political, cultural—on our internal worlds. When we shine light on these impacts, we empower ourselves with greater resolve to shape our environment for our needs and desires. Often, it is liberating to clearly see that what ails us is not nearly entirely our fault and we don't have to be so ashamed.
-Metaphorically, I hope therapy with me feels like one traveler offering guidance to another:
You are on your ‘mountain of life’ doing your best to climb. I am on my ‘mountain of life’ doing my best to climb. In between us is a valley. Our session together is a time when I pause my climb to assess yours. With the advantage of perspective and training, I can see what is around you and call out: “This method works really well” or “Most people have trouble going that direction, try this way.” This also means that you, doing the 'actual' climbing, can call back: “I’ve tried,” or “It feels too slippery. I’m scared.” Then we can collaboratively discuss and challenge each other to understand and uncover what works.
Services and Areas of Expertise
-I offer clinical assessments and therapeutic interventions based on each individual client’s needs, goals, and values.
-To keep fees low, I do not rent an office - I either work online or outside in a park in Greensboro NC.
-I work with adolescents and adults ages ~16 and up.
-Areas of expertise:
Binge eating and disordered eating (Health At Every Size/Intuitive Eating informed)
Couple therapy and non-romantic partner counseling
Autism or Asperger Syndrome
Climate change anxiety
Social skills building
Existentialism and Nihilism
Resources and Influences
The following is an incomplete list of resources that influence how I connect to, understand, and help people. This list is meant to better inform you of who I am and my approach so that you can gain a sense if we might be a good fit. The most important indicator of a successful therapeutic outcome is when therapist and client can trust, empathize, and collaborate. To that end, I encourage you to call and ask any questions you might have about me!
Video - Pale Blue Dot - Carl Sagan
Podcast - Maintenance Phase
Podcast - The Healing is in the Return - Krista Tippet and Sharon Salzber
Podcast - Social Ecology & the Critique of Hierarchy - Srsly Wrong
Book - We've Had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy & the World's Getting Worse - James Hillman, Michael Ventura
Book - Loving-kindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness - Sharon Salzberg
Book - Anchored: How to Befriend Your Nervous System Using Polyvagal Theory - Deb Dana
Licensed Clinical Social Worker, State of North Carolina
MSW, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2019
BA, Global Studies, Warren-Wilson College, 2010
Before professional counseling, I spent several years leading young adult groups in the backcountry for the National Park Service. I kept them safe, taught them how to live together twenty miles from any road, and helped them through tough times. Subsequently, in my first year of graduate school, I interned as a social worker for the Wake County Public school system. I counseled middle schoolers and supported families in removing barriers to their kids’ education. In my second year, I worked at the Evergreen Community Clinic on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill as an outpatient therapist. Then I worked for Essential CTS, in Durham NC for 2 years, leading social skills groups, counseling a diverse range of clients one-on-one. In November of 2021, I started my own private practice. I have over 3000 hours of supervised clinical experience since graduating to date and I am a fully Licensed Clinical Social Worker (License #C015472).