MY TRAINING AND EXPERIENCE: THE COUNSELING SIDE
I earned my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Master of Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degrees at Cleveland State University in Cleveland, Ohio. Throughout my time in the counseling field, starting with my graduate internships, I've had the good fortune to serve an incredibly diverse client population in multiple settings. I've worked in a university counseling center with first-year college students, many of whom were first-generation college attendees struggling with adjustment to college life, relationship concerns, low self-esteem, and identity issues; as well as mental health concerns such as anxiety, depression, and trauma. I've also served clients ranging from ages 18 to 80 who were living with substance use addiction - many of whom were also dealing with a lot of the same issues faced by my college student clients.
What these experiences have taught me is that no one is immune to mental health issues; that any one person's problems are exactly as important as any one other person's problems, no matter who they are or where they're from; and that regardless of what your situation is, you always, always have the right to ask for help.
I currently practice as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and Certified Geek Therapist in Lakewood, OH. I'm fully trained in person-centered counseling through my graduate program, and I've also received training in Narrative Therapy and Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT); these are some of the primary counseling approaches I use in my work with my clients. I primarily work with young adults who are dealing with identity concerns, anxiety, depression, survival of trauma, life transitions, and other stage-of-life related stressors.
MY BELIEFS ABOUT LIFE, COUNSELING, AND HOW I WORK WITH MY CLIENTS
1) Life is sometimes hard, sometimes painful, and sometimes pretty freaking scary. It's like that more often, and for more people, than you might think - so if "happy" isn't your default setting, that doesn't make you weird, broken, or screwed up; and neither does the fact that you may be struggling and in a lot of pain right now. You don't have to struggle alone, and I believe that we can work together to help you build the kind of fulfilling, satisfying life you want to live.
2) Counseling is a collaborative process. You're way more of an expert on your life and what's going on with you than I am; I know a lot about how to use counseling methods to help you solve your problems and improve your situation. Between the two of us, if we work together we can make a great team.
3) Counseling works best when it fits the needs of the person who's in counseling, so your treatment will be your treatment, not some generic plan that looks like it was copypasted from Wikipedia. Even if you've been told you have mental health diagnoses like generalized anxiety disorder or major depressive disorder, those may be important but they're just a few parts of the Story Of You - definitely not the whole story. I want to help YOU, not just bits and pieces of you.
MY CORE VALUES AS A COUNSELOR, AND MY COMMITMENT TO YOU:
- Acceptance: I will take you as you are, without judgment of any sort for any reason, and help you become who YOU want to be.
- Authenticity: I'll be real and be me with you, and my counseling room will always be a safe place for you to be real with me.
- Autonomy: I fully support your right to have a voice in your own treatment and to choose the life you want to live.
- Compassion: I am motivated to work with you toward the long-term relief of your suffering, and I am as ready to put in that work as you are.
- Confidentiality: With certain very specific exceptions (like if you or another person are in imminent danger), I operate on what some people call the Vegas Rule: What happens in my counseling room, what's said in my counseling room, stays in my counseling room. 'Nuff said. - Consistency: I will act in a way that shows you where you stand with me; I will walk my talk; and I won't "flip the script" on you for no reason.
- Determination: I don't give up easily - and I won't give up on you. (Some people say I don't give up at all; I just change the plan until it works.)
- Honesty: I. Will. Not. BS. You.
- Hope: I believe that I have every reason to expect with confidence that our work together will help to create positive outcomes for you.
- Openness: I will be willing to consider new ideas and try new things, especially if I think they might get you closer to the life you want. (This includes willingness to learn about your passions - if we don't already share them in common!) - Partnership: I will work with you on establishing goals that will help you build the life you want, and I will hold you accountable to work with me toward those goals.