About Me & How I Work
This page is still evolving! Check back to see new additions and changes.
Training and Education
I hold a master of science in clinical mental health counseling from UNC-Greensboro, and a certificate from the 250-hour in Gestalt Training Program at the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland.
In addition to my counseling degree, I have a bachelor of fine arts in acting from New York University; professional acting was my first profession. I also have master of fine arts in literature and creative nonfiction writing from the Writing Seminars at Bennington College, and I continue to write and publish personal essays.
Currently, I see a variety of clients in my Life In Motion Counseling & Psychotherapy practice here in Durham. (You can read a brief profile of my practice in the Psychology Today directory.) I also co-facilitate grief support groups at Duke's Unicorn Bereavement Center in Hillsborough, and work with veterinarians to provide their clients with grief support for pet loss.
From 2009-2010, I counseled patients and their families at Duke Cancer Patient Support Program. (Click here If you'd like to read a personal essay written from my time at DCPSP.) While at UNCG, I conducted brief therapy with undergraduate students at the Vacc Counseling and Consulting Clinic, on issues such as: "coming out" to friends and family, domestic abuse, managing romantic and roommate relationships, how to make friends in college, homesickness, time and stress management, and family of origin dynamics.
Who Comes to Life In Motion for Counseling, and What We Talk About
I see adults over 18, including elders. I also enjoy working specifically with both undergraduate and graduate students who are juggling a multitude of demands and pressures. The variety of people I work with reflects the diverse cultures, races, religions, sexual orientations, and ethncities here in Durham. My practice is LGBTQ-supportive.
People come into counseling for a lot of different reasons, and we work together on a wide variety of issues, especially those connected with major life transitions, grief & loss, career development, the impact of cancer on you/your caregiver's lives, women's issues, relationships (family, work, love), family of origin issues, and living a more empowered, authentic life. My prior work as a professional actor and my current work as a creative writer also enable me to work with artists of many disciplines on overcoming creative blocks and optimizing artistic productivity.
Some of the skills I help clients with include: setting healthy boundaries, improving communication, self-care, clarifying priorities, and stress management. I can help you learn new ways to pay attention: to listen more sensitively and responsively to both your body's messages, as well as the wisdom of your feelings. I can show you how you might make self-care a thread that weaves throughout your day. If grieving is part of the journey for you, I can help you trust your own process and lead you through some activities that have often supported people learning to live with their loss.
How Do People Change?
If you didn't want your life or self to be different in some way, chances are you wouldn't be thinking about seeing a therapist. Often, people entering therapy are in some kind of discomfort, or even distress. Understandably, many clients are eager to feel better quickly, which is only natural. When I work with clients, my priority is to diminish whatever psychic, emotional pain you are experiencing and increase your healthy functioning. For some clients, this symptom alleviation is all they seek.
For others, this may be an opportunity for our work together to deepen and become enriched. Once you feel a little better, you may find yourself wanting to sustain the kind of exploration and process that addresses underlying causes in ways that can lead to more lasting change. Maybe this means healing past hurts and resolving unfinished business more completely than you've been able to so far, or experiencing a degree of personal growth and the integration of your many selves into a healthy, productive whole.
My beliefs about change include this paradox: healthy change often begins with becoming intimately acquainted with how things are, with what you are like, right now. We are such an action-oriented culture! We want to go straight from "Here's the problem" to "Fix it!" (Sometimes we want to jump right into fixing before we even understand what the problem is!) But it's difficult to change when we're not all that clear about what is true for us in the first place. So, before we get too caught up in how to change "it," we will spend time increasing our awareness of what "it" is . One advantage of expanding your awareness of "what is" can be the almost magical way options you didn't realize were open to you can begin to emerge.
So much of change work, I believe, is less about working to become someone you aren't, but discovering what gets in the way of the healthy expression and full functioning of the person you already are. I believe in your ability to heal, grow, develop new skills; in your capacity to live comfortably in your own skin and in the world, to create and manage your life, to speak in your authentic voice, and to experience joy.
I will be writing more about my approaches to therapy, both here and on my blog, so do check back. And, in the meantime, please don't hesitate to phone or e-mail me with any questions you have. I'd be happy to talk with you or reply to your e-mail. (Do note that the confidentiality of your information cannot be guaranteed when we correspond online.)