What is your educational background?
I received my bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2005 and my master’s degree in counseling in 2009. I am a licensed professional counselor supervisor (LPC-S) and a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT). I am a member of the National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC).
What is your work experience?
I have worked in a variety of settings and have had the opportunity to work with all kinds of people. I worked in harm reduction for many years, providing counseling and psychoeducation to clients and their loved ones.
I also worked with people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (IDD), most of whom were dually diagnosed. This work was provided in the community; therefore, I saw clients in a range of settings, including crisis respite, mental health hospitals, and in jail. This has given me a broader knowledge of not only mental health in Travis County, but also a deeper understanding of our criminal justice system.
I also have vast public speaking experience and have developed trainings for clinicians, law enforcement and paraprofessionals.
Why is substance use your area of focus?
Honestly, it was always what I found most interesting, so I pursued it. I ended up loving it, especially working from a harm reduction model. After about 5 years, I ventured into a different field, wanting to ensure that my career path was not too linear. I am grateful to have branched out; to have gained new experience and perspective.
However, after a number of years, I found that I really missed working with individuals with substance use issues. This work is my passion and I am grateful to get to do it.
Who is your ideal client?
Anyone whose lives are affected by substance use or addiction. The general public often has a stereotyped image of people who are “addicted” to drugs and alcohol. In reality, drugs and alcohol do not discriminate. Neither do I. One of the aspects of this work that I enjoy most is having the opportunity to work with people from all walks of life.
What is your approach to therapy?
In brief, collaboration, pragmatism and compassion are the corner stones of my therapy style. However, I think honesty and humor are crucial components as well. I use a strengths-based approach, incorporating harm-reduction psychotherapy, motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioral therapy and solution-focused therapy.
What if I don’t feel like you and I are good fit?
Fair enough. No therapist is the right fit for every client. Comfort with your chosen therapist is paramount and critical for the success of any therapy. If you feel like the fit is not quite right, I will be happy to provide you with referrals to other clinicians.
Ok, how about some random facts about yourself…
I am a Native Austinite, which I know makes me a rarity these days. I have wanted to be a therapist since I found out what therapists were—there was never another profession that appealed to me the way this did. Also, I dislike writing about myself.