As a North Carolina Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Supervisor (LCMHC-S) and Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist (LCAS), my driving force is helping others create a life worth living. The core values informing my practice are compassion, resilience, mindful presence, authenticity, and magic.
My educational background includes earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology (2003) and a Master of Arts degree in Community Counseling (2005) from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where I grew up. Before moving to Asheville in 2011, I lived in Atlanta where I obtained an additional 180 hours of post-graduate education in addictions. While in Atlanta, I worked in a university setting, community mental health, and later school-based mental health. Prior to building my own practice here in Asheville, I worked in a community health setting providing outpatient mental health and substance dependence therapy for adolescents and adults in the clinic, school-setting, and a domestic violence shelter.
Personally and professionally, I have a heart for working with trauma, grief, anxiety, and addiction. I am trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), completed Year 1 of Somatic Experiencing training, and am currently in the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) MDMA Therapy Training Program. I've traveled to the University of Washington in Seattle to be trained by the creators of Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) and completed Chinese Stone and Crystal Medicine (Level 3) through Upper Clarity School of Stone Medicine with Sarah Thomas, L.Ac. I also have training in expressive arts therapy and regularly facilitate groups. As my practice evolves, I find myself drawn towards learning the herbal medicine traditions of Appalachia. I'm excited to be taking herbalism courses over the next couple of years through HERBalachia.
I am a member of the American Counseling Association and the Association for Creativity in Counseling. I’m actively involved with the NC Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, a cause dear to my heart. Otherwise…I love hiking, paddling, gardening, photography, writing… and playing with my furry, four-legged-children, Merlin, Simon, and Linus. Merlin is a blind terrier mix and both Simon & Linus are miniature Australian Shepherds. Occasionally, they come along to the office with me.
What is your treatment orientation and approach? What will we DO in therapy?
First and foremost, modalities are much less important than the therapeutic connection we share. While evidence-based practices are important, healing is an alchemical, heart-centered process that unfolds differently for each person. My treatment orientation is integrative in nature, drawing from a range of theories and practices.
My approach is most deeply rooted in existential/humanistic psychotherapy, radical acceptance, DBT (mindful awareness, connection, acceptance, responsibility), EMDR (adaptive resolution of trauma) and ecopsychology (“connection with” vs. “power over”), all aimed at cultivating connection, mindful awareness and compassion. Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, says that creativity is our true nature. Therefore, expressive arts therapy and the creative process are often woven into therapy for meaningful self-exploration and understanding.
Regarding substance use disorders work, I draw most heavily from Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention, Mindful Recovery, Refuge Recovery, Seeking Safety, and Harm Reduction: Pragmatic Strategies for Managing High-Risk Behaviors. Addiction groups integrate education, support, and experiential activities to facilitate learning and change. All in all, I’m trained in a number of approaches and will work with you to determine which direction we should go. I am comfortable working from a harm reduction perspective, as people vary in readiness for change.
Areas of special interest include mood and anxiety disorders, trauma and traumatic grief, addictions, gender and orientation concerns, and spirituality. If you have lost a loved one to suicide or in a traumatic manner, I would likely be a good match for you.
Is healing possible?
YES! Healing isn’t merely suppressing symptoms, recovering from addiction and trauma or understanding dysfunctional, neurotic patterns. Depth psychologist Bill Plotkin suggests that healing is about becoming fully human – learning to embody our souls in order to become conscious contributors to the unfolding story of the more-than-human world.
“The most effective paths to soul are nature-based. Nature — the outer nature we call ‘the wild’ — has always been the essential element and the primary setting of the journey to soul…The individual soul is the core of our human nature, the reason for which we were born, the essence of our specific life purpose, and ours alone…the gift you carry for others is not an attempt to save the world but to fully belong to it. It’s not possible to save the world by trying to save it. You need to find what is genuinely yours to offer to the world before you can make it a better place. Discovering your unique gift to bring to your community is your greatest opportunity and challenge. The offering of that gift — your true self — is the most you can do to love and serve the world. And it is all the world needs.” – Bill Plotkin in Soulcraft: Crossing into the Mysteries of Nature and Psyche.
What helps you see beauty in the world and to be resilient in the face of challenges? Let's figure it out together.