How I View Therapy
My main guiding principle is: Follow the leader. You're the expert on your own life, and I will spend a lot of time learning how you define things in your life. While I have training in a range of treatment approaches, I rely on what my clients come into the room with. Some of my clients have expressed surprise after a meaningful session that "I didn't even think we were getting anything done" or "I wasn't even expecting to talk about that today." It isn't magic; it's your own ability to heal yourself.
I use the word "work" often. Sessions may sometimes feel pointless, silly, creative, but it will still be work. Research on therapy outcomes shows us that the motivation of the person seeking therapy is the best predictor of how effective therapy will be. If you come to work, that is the biggest gift you can give yourself on your journey towards healing.
Some ways of describing what I do:
- Strength-based. Be prepared to talk about what you can do well and exceptions to a problem story. We can't find a way out if we only look at what ins't working.
- Client-centered. I don't pressure clients into doing anything they don't want to do. I won't ever intentionally shame, guilt, trick, bribe, or lecture you (and if it happens you're encouraged to help me grow by telling me!). I always encourage clients to ask if they're confused about anything in my office. I will always strive to use your language when talking about things. Goals for treatment come directly from you.
- Down-to-earth. I have facial piercings, wear sometimes odd clothes and often have colored hair. Sometimes I swear and use slang in sessions. I have been told I have a laidback personality as a therapist. Who I am in the grocery store is who you will see in my office. Authenticity and self-love is a major part of my orientation as a therapist, so I try to bring my authentic self into sessions.
- Experience-based. Do I do a lot of talk therapy? Yes. We're verbal creatures, it's a big part of how we're used to operating. However, we're whole-brain, whole-body creatures too, and sometimes it's impossible to talk our way through struggles. So sometimes we might do a drawing, play in sand, throw a ball or go for a walk. This also means that sometimes people don't get why we're doing the crazy things we do, and I am always happy to explain how it is therapeutically relevant.
My Qualifications and Experience
I have a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University Of Minnesota-Twin Cities and a Master of Science from St Cloud State University. I have conducted two research articles on couples satisfaction and published one research article in 2017. I have been working in mental health since 2012 and have experience providing therapy in homes, schools and outpatient settings. I have completed a number of trainings on play therapy (including adolescent play therapy), sandtray therapy and am Level 2 Gottman Method-certified.
My professional goals for the future include exploring teaching opportunities, starting the path to be AASECT-certified, applying for a PhD program in human sexuality and doing more research in this area.
Who I Am Outside of Work
I have a young child who takes up much of my time (if I don't answer your phone call it is probably because I'm chasing her around). I enjoy live music, art galleries, reading nonfiction, and making sculptures when I have the time. When it's finally nice out in Minnesota, I enjoy almost anything that gets me outside.