What made you decide to become a counselor?
At the risk of sounding so stereotypical, I guess I have always kind of known that’s what I would do J
From a young age I was involved in volunteering, leadership, and fundraising—mostly because my mom was always involved in our community like that. As I got older, that developed into more of a fascination with why people act, think, and feel the way they do. I started reading more books about psychology, watching movies and documentaries, learning about social issues, and getting involved in more community activism.
Before I went to college, I volunteered for a grassroots non-profit that focused on rehabilitation for child soldiers rescued in Africa. I also did some overseas volunteering, and realized somewhere along the way, thankfully before I graduated college, that I could do more than just raise resources and awareness for issues like these, and that I could actually help the people who are struggling with them. And now, several years and graduate schools later, here we are!
If you could teach the world one skill or technique to improve their lives, what would it be?
To embrace uncertainty. Our tendency to want to control every aspect of our lives really starts to take a toll on us at a very early age. We spend a lot of energy trying to do something about the way we feel, or how others think, or what’s going to happen in the future… But the better able we are to open to the experiences that life throws at us, good and bad, the better we can understand that we really have very little control over most things, and that’s okay!
Our unavoidable lack of control and tendency to constantly strive for it produces plenty of problems for all of us—problems like anxiety, loneliness, eating or exercising problems, and just general yuck. The best thing we can do for ourselves is take a step back and figure out who we are and how we can respond to our world in a way that helps us maintain balance and live the life we really want to be living. *Cue the annoyingly appropriate Let It Go song from Frozen*
What is the most common problem your clients bring to you?
I specialize in treating anxiety, so most of my clients are coming in for help with getting a little more of themselves back into their lives- to work on not being so taken over by their emotions. I see a lot of kids (which means I work a lot with parents, too!), so a lot of the time the problem is that they just can’t stop the anxiety and it’s beginning to overwhelm them or the family.
Have you personally been in counseling and if so, what did you learn about yourself?
As a practicing therapist and as a current doctoral student in psychology, I actually consider myself to be counseled in many different ways, by many different people. I’ve had both counselors and amazing mentors along the way, and I am lucky to have many wonderful support systems in my life that work every day to keep me sane.
If you could recommend one book to all of your clients, what would it be?
Oh man. This is like asking a kid to pick only one flavor of ice cream… I guess I will have to go with my first ever book about mindfulness, “Wherever You Go, There You Are” by Dr. Jon Kabat Zinn. I read this when I was 17, an age of exploring my own beliefs and values, and it has always stuck with me. It actually sits on my desk and I open it quite frequently, even now. I love the way it’s structured, almost like a poetic novel, or quick daily reads. It’s very thought provoking and has really shaped my own experience with mindfulness and spiritualism, as well as how I work in my therapy practice.
What inspires you to help others?
My clients, actually. It’s always my clients who inspire me and remind me how powerful the relationship between two people can be. Therapy is a beautiful thing really, getting to challenge, support, and grow with someone in that way.
Who is your ideal client?
I love them all! I have a lot of different professional experiences to draw from and have worked in a lot of different settings, so part of the adventure for me is getting to figure out what I like about each and every client that walks in. That being said, my specialty is in treating kids and adults with anxiety, which I LOVE doing and have been very successful at. Lately though, I have been working more with issues in parenting and family “management” (for lack of a better word). It’s is a big deal, parenting, and so many of us need support when trying to manage the curveballs it can throw at us. Really though, as long as you come ready to learn and challenge yourself, to maybe try something new, the rest is just icing on the cake.
How do you personally practice self-care?
I have to say, this is an area that I am definitely expert in! I’ve really had to learn and practice this carefully, and have seen and felt the consequences when I don’t. I’m pretty sure my fiancé has too J
My 2 rules of thumb with self-care are 1) to be organized (or to make sure I specifically make time for myself—because time management is a real weakness for me) and 2) to listen to my body. I’m the type of person who feels my stress in my body almost immediately, so the moment I start to notice aches and pains or any kind of funk, I kick it into self-care mode and make sure to clear out my schedule, even if just for a few minutes, and allow myself to be selfish in doing things I really love…. Cooking, reading, watching Netflix, chatting with friends, whatever I need in that moment. I have a funny & inspiring Pinterest board that I can take a break and scroll through when I’m having a tough time.
Maybe most important though is my daily routine. I meditate at least once a day, as spirituality plays a big role in my self-care and health. I am an avid kickboxer, and I go to yoga and run a few times a week, which helps me balance all the time I spend sitting in class or at work. I am outdoors as much as possible, and I love love love to travel. Even just getting out to a new part of town for a few hours is totally nourishing to me! Recently, I’ve been planning my own wedding, which is only weeks away now! It’s been so much fun making that a priority and doing lots of DIY and creative stuff.
Finally, I need to give a shout out to my dog, Sadie, my fiancé, and my soon-to-be-step-son. They are my closest support system and leaning on them is absolutely part of what keeps me healthy!
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Here you will find articles contributed by members of our team. We hope to provide helpful information here to inspire mindful living and general wellness. The information provided here is not a substitue for professional mental health advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you need to speak to a professional regarding your mental health, please make an appointment.