Everybody deserves a place to tell their story. Not simply the recollection of life events, but the raw internal experience that often goes ignored. Often what brings people to therapy are the bumps in the road. Transitions, loss, pregnancy, breakups, disconnection, or just a sense that who we are and how we cope can hold us back from a life well-lived. I believe these painful moments are not problems to be “fixed,” but a call to action. A reminder that we can’t move through life as though it is a to-do list. We need to slow down and understand the experiences so we can learn how to better endure them. My role is to support you through this process so you don’t have to face these storylines in solitude.
Even when we have great social support from loved ones, we may need more. Therapy provides the environment to contain a life that can sometimes feel too big to handle through offering specialized knowledge about healing within the healing context of relationship.
This process is collaborative and my approach is flexible and accepting. I tailor each session to take into account you as an individual and you on any given day. I keep in mind that people often resort to therapy when they have tried their usual resources, and therefore work hard to provide a unique environment that gives you new tools.
More than anything, I want clients to know this: your emotions will not overwhelm me, your pain will not make me uncomfortable, your anger will not scare me, and your ways of coping will not disturb me. I will help you hold all of this so we can work together to help you get some relief and create the life you want.
Pregnancy Therapy + Transitions
A special interest of mine is addressing ways pregnancy and family growth may affect women and couples, such as in transitions and identity issues. This time of profound change and transitions calls for special attention to women’s emotional and mental health, whether you hope to use the journey of pregnancy for growth and deeper self-awareness, or you need additional support to navigate the uncertainty and additional stress.
Each woman has an extremely unique experience with pregnancy; however, a few examples of issues I work with: navigating pregnancy and birth as a survivor of sexual trauma, sorting through all the information about motherhood to reconnect with what you need to know and what you already know innately, revisiting feelings of grief that may arise during transitions, developing a healthy relationship with one’s body during pregnancy, working with perinatal and postpartum mood disorders, and facing pregnancy following a previous miscarriage, or traumatic birth experience.
I have completed an intensive training at the Postpartum Stress Center in the assessment, treatment, and advanced clinical practice of postpartum depression (PPD) and pregnancy therapy, and work closely with the Pregnancy and Postpartum Health Alliance of Texas to increase awareness and resources for maternal mental health.
Working with couples is a deeply satisfying part of my job. I find that partners do not realize their effect on each other. This understanding illuminates ways of minimizing stress and conflict in the relationship. Partners can utilize their connection to be stronger and more resilient both as partners and as individuals. I work with couples in all phases of the relationship whether you are looking for support in a new relationship, premarital, marital, or on the verge of divorce and loss.
I have trained for two years under Dr. Stan Tatkin in a Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy called PACT. PACT works with nonverbal subtleties and nervous system regulation in a powerful way that differs from traditional approaches to couples work. So, even if you’ve gone to couples counseling before and left disappointed or feel you’ve tried everything, I’d love a chance to work with you using this more transformational framework.
Traumatic Stress & Loss
Traumatic stress and loss have the tendency to affect people in nearly every realm of their lives: the physical, emotional, mental, relational, and spiritual. I work with those who seek a trauma-sensitive environment to begin the complex process of healing, and feeling like themselves again. Trauma can be tricky. Typically we think of a traumatic experience as one that was life-threatening or life-altering: war, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, childhood abuse or sexual assault. However, in some instances, trauma can come from a more chronic mistreatment or loss.
Many of my clients with trauma or loss feel disconnected or have overwhelming emotions, physical complaints such as headaches or stomachaches, difficulty sleeping, substance abuse issues, self-harming behavior, and/or suicidal thoughts.
I work gently and collaboratively with trauma and loss, and have specialized training in the brain’s response to trauma. I recognize the ways medical, legal and social systems can cause re-traumatization. I ensure an environment where you feel respected, empowered, and in control of our pace.
This life stage is ripe with change, growth, and opportunities to increase your self-awareness and find the values and choices that resonate with the life you want to create. Therapy can be a helpful and nonjudgmental environment to explore career choice, work/life balance, making friends as an adult, life purpose, recognizing and breaking unwanted patterns in relationships, finding self-acceptance, and managing social media’s effect on mood and relationships.
I really enjoy working with artists, writers, or those who don’t work in an artistic field but have lots of pent up creative energy. Creativity is such an important energy in people’s lives. For those who work in demanding creative professions, therapy can help navigate how to fit such deeply personal work into the confines of schedules, deadlines, and potential criticism by looking at self-doubt, exposure vulnerability, and how closely tied your work is to sense of worth.
For others, therapy can help identify and work with the discomfort of overwhelming creative energy and ways creative impulse has been shut down. I enjoy helping people tap into their creative side to inject more vitality into their careers, relationships, and daily life. I also believe utilizing creative expression can deepen therapeutic work on anxiety, depression, PPD trauma resolution, and grief.
I attended UT Austin where I studied and fell in love with the field of Psychology. I then went on to complete a master’s degree in counseling at St. Edward’s University with an emphasis on both individual and marital/family counseling.
My role as a practitioner has been informed by a wide breadth of experience I have gained working within diverse settings in the Austin area. In addition to being a clinician, I have also served as an emergency room sexual assault advocate for SafePlace and a research assistant in UT Austin’s Sexual Psychophysiology Lab.
Although my favorite part of the job is working with clients, I also enjoy staying up-to-date with the latest developments in the field. I continue to be involved with research at UT’s School of Social Work and participate in numerous study groups and trainings. I am guided by a deep curiosity for this work and love of learning.