I consider myself a ‘generalist’ practitioner, which simply means that I am comfortable working a range of problems and concerns. Some of the other disorders I commonly treat and problems I frequently address include depression, anxiety, identity issues, relationship concerns, insomnia, sexual health, and developmental/life transitions. However, over the course of my career I have developed several speciality areas that are unique to my practice. Those specialty areas include:
- Grief and Loss: I have a deep understanding of how anxiety, depression, traumatic symptoms, relationship issues, and other problems can result after the death of a loved one. There is no time frame for us to feel better after someone close to us has died, but when intense grief symptoms persist for a prolonged duration and interfere with our lives it is time to seek help from a professional. In order to provide such services, most of my doctoral research and clinical rotations were focused on gaining knowledge and expertise in this area. I am also a member of the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC) and am strongly committed to furthering my ability to treat and help people whose lives are disrupted due to loss. While my energies have focused on helping the bereaved, I apply the same skill set when working with those suffering from other losses, such as relationships (e.g., divorce, romantic, friendships, family, birth of child), physical functioning (e.g, disability, injury, illness), lifestyle (e.g., job loss, financial, goals/dreams), and pets and animals.
- Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Symptoms of PTSD can occur in those grieving the death of a loved one. However, they can emerge in many other instances as well, such as from physical, sexual, and emotional abuse; combat exposure; or another terrifying experience of some kind. I am competent working with people who have survived these events and have received training in Prolonged Exposure Therapy for PTSD, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and other methods aimed at promoting the adaptation to trauma. Furthermore, my graduate studies afforded me the opportunities to study PTSD in Thailand and Mississippi among survivors of the Indian Ocean Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina, respectively. I find satisfaction helping people cope with the symptoms of trauma, while also helping them discover growth and reliance after these experiences.
- Sport Psychology and Performance: Everyone who plays a sport of any kind wants to get better at it (hopefully!). Sometimes, mental health issues, injury, or other performance-limiting factors can inhibit our skill-set and success. As such, I completed a nine-month supervised clinical rotation working with student athletes, which included delivering individual and team interventions and studying the effects of sport-related injury on mental health. I also continue to expand my expertise in this area through various continuing education opportunities. Currently, I work with athletes from diverse backgrounds of sport, such as running, fishing, and skiing. I also apply these principles and knowledge to my own athletic interests of weight lifting, golf, snowboarding, and even hiking.
To help my clients grow and overcome these challenges, I take a collaborative approach that focuses on understanding the problem to determine how best to resolve it. In this process, special attention is paid to my clients’ needs, wants, cultural identities, personal histories, and values. I believe that humans have a large capacity to be autonomous and self-directed. Thus, as a psychologist I help my clients realize this potential, promoting adaptive ways of coping, and work myself out of job as a result.
Theoretically, I work from interpersonal, psychodynamic, and existential perspectives. In other words, it has been my experience that most psychological problems stem from difficulties forming satisfying relationships with ourselves and others, hurtful or traumatic experiences in childhood and across the lifespan, or struggling to cope with challenges of being human (e.g., death, loneliness, meaning, etc.). Regardless of the source of the problem, I believe that the foundation of effective therapy stems from the relationships I establish and maintain with my clients. While relationally focused, I frequently incorporate empirically-supported interventions from other approaches, such as cognitive-behavioral, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and prolonged-exposure therapies, among others. It is this integrative and relational approach that translates to the most beneficial and satisfying outcomes for my clients.