Therapy is first and foremost about you — and your hopes for change. It is my role to create a safe and productive context in which the changes you desire can occur.
People enter therapy for reasons as varied as individuals are unique. However, the motivation to come to therapy is usually related to three areas of life: personal issues, relationship difficulties, and the life challenges and situations that we all face at times. Often, people face struggles in all three areas at the same time.
Regardless of what external catalyst encourages someone to seek therapy, the shared entry point into the change process is pain. Pain can range from mild discomfort to intense desperation. People come to therapy hoping for a solution, usually with the same three questions: Is change possible? Is it possible for me? Can you help me?
It is typical for people to come to their first session feeling both fear and hope. There is often uncertainty about what actually happens in therapy as well as fears about how much discomfort it may involve. These are understandable concerns, and one early priority is discussing how therapy works, and what to expect.
I wish I could say that therapy is never difficult, but that is not the case. Typically, the change process does include some challenging times. But the question of whether therapy is painful is not the real question. People seek therapy because they are already in pain. The real question is: do you choose to continue living with the familiar distress you currently feel? Or do you enter into a process that holds the possibility of a richer, more fulfilling life?
I can’t guarantee that therapy will work for everyone, and I make it a point not to hold out false hope. But my experience has been that, as hard as it may be at times, therapy offers an invaluable opportunity. It can be one of the most fruitful things you will ever do.
Whether you are dealing with depression, anxiety, feelings of isolation, relationship difficulties or other painful experiences, there is hope for a positive transformation that can impact the rest of your life.
We live in a culture that says we should never need help or encounter any life experience that is too difficult to handle on our own. We are taught that we should never show hurt or pain. A childhood message most people are familiar with is, “If you don’t stop crying, I’ll give you something to cry about.” It is painfully common for adults, both men and women, to apologize immediately for crying.
Therapy provides a safe place for you to feel whatever you are feeling and to explore your experience as deeply as you choose. It allows you to find out who you are and what you are capable of beyond the limitations you have experienced in the past.
I love my work. Witnessing change continues to increase my belief in its potential for healing. It is said that “therapists are the keepers of hope.” For me, that hope is inspired and perpetuated by the people with whom I am privileged to work.
I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Clinical Psychology from Abilene Christian College, a Master’s of Social Work from the University of Illinois, and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Penn State University. I am licensed to practice as a Psychologist with Health Service Provider status in the State of Tennessee.
I feel very fortunate to have had excellent in-depth training, both academically and clinically, and a breadth of professional experience. As a social worker, I worked in child welfare and public schools. As a psychologist, I have extensive experience in individual and couples therapy, community mental health, and in a university setting as an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Penn State.
My first clinical experience was with students and faculty at the Penn State University Counseling Center where I was also Director of Training for graduate students, interns, and staff.
I eventually opened my own clinical practice and have been offering individual, couples, and group therapy for over 20 years. It has been my privilege to assist hundreds of people in their personal growth processes.
Currently, I am in full-time private practice in Nashville with individuals 18 and over, elders, and couples, and I periodically offer group therapy. I am also honored to serve on the Board of the Nashville Psychotherapy Institute.
On a personal note, I have several abiding interests. I have always loved music and was a student of the piano for many years. I have equally enjoyed being a supporter of the performing arts, particularly as the volunteer Director of the Performing Arts at the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, a national juried show run almost completely by volunteers.
My favorite volunteer activity, however, was serving as a nationally certified Pet Therapy team with my little dog, Siena. For 7 years we visited hospitals and nursing homes, and I watched her impact life after life (and no one’s more than mine).
I am also an avid college sports fan, an amateur marathon-walker, and always at the top of my list are my two sons.