Enriching Relationships and Personal Resilence
Hello! I grew up in Broken Arrow and attended the University of Oklahoma and Texas Woman's University. After graduating from OU I lived in San Diego, CA and Dallas, TX (Lived in Texas for 16 years).
I earned my master’s in counseling and marriage therapy from Texas Woman’s University. Plus an enormous amount of continuing education and training in Gottman Relationship coaching, health, life coaching, TBRI certification, knowledge of foster care (foster care therapist for 4 years) polyvagal therapy, neuropsychology, breathwork, nutrition, yoga, meditation, trauma training, tapping, heartmath, sand tray and strength-based theories. I am a certified yoga teacher (200 level), mindfulness coach and Trauma-Informed Certified Teacher for Overcome! Anxiety by Sundra Institute. I am a nationally certified health coach by NBH-HWC, the highest standards for health coaches.
Recently we moved back to Tulsa from Dallas, TX to be closer to our large extended family. My husband and I have been married for 24 years and we have 3 children ages 21, 18 and 9 years old. We are an active family, busy with homeschooling, hiking, RV camping, exploring and traveling! So, I should note, there will be times I will be away from my Tulsa office, usually one Friday a month and one weekend a month. Also, for 6 weeks mid-Summer (beginning of July to mid-August), I will be in Montana so I will have all sessions online.
My passion is helping people live a conscious center life. I have personally done an extensive amount of personal work in my life as well, so I practice what I teach on a daily basis, which benefits my clients directly. I do understand what is like to live with anxiety and low self-esteem. Through my own personal work, learning from my own mistakes as a parent and a wife, counseling, meditations, spiritual retreats, and learning how to manage not just my thoughts and feelings but also develop a deeper understanding of who I am, I began to allow myself to have a gentler, kinder, and more balanced relationship with myself and others. Life is not about living without sadness, self-esteem concerns or anxiety. That's impossible, anxiety is a normal part of living.
Instead, it's about learning how to ride the waves of anxiety so you feel confident in your ability to ride them safely to shore. We are all different. Learning how to ride the waves of life also entails cultivating compassion for yourself and for others so the ride is smoother and more enjoyable. How we ride the wave will be different for each person. I'm still exploring my purpose, I'm still working on my self-compassion, I'm still working on my anxiety and guess what, I'm still trying to figure out this thing called life. :-) We never reach this perfect place in life where sadness and anxiety go away. It's learning how to accept yourself (and others) even though you are struggling. We all struggle, it's our common humanity. Learning to love ourselves in the midst of our chaos is a journey of acceptance.
Yes, while I enjoy general spiritual ideas and deep philosophical existential concepts I do not support spiritual bypassing or any lack of objectivity - the tendency to use spiritual ideas and practices to sidestep or avoid facing unresolved emotional issues, avoid research, toxic positivity or psychological wounds. Evidence-based practices (as is science) is an important part of my path in psychology First and foremost I respect your spiritual or religious beliefs. I am very open-minded to many belief systems in our world. Though, I am not "religious" I offer an overall spiritual type of approach if that is something you feel is an important part of your mental health we can weave that into our sessions - sometimes called transpersonal psychology. I understand the implications of religious trauma (unworthiness, shame, fear, guilt) that can impact some individuals' mental health and state of being.
I offer a safe space for LGBTQ and I have a sensitivity and awareness to the prejudices people of color face in our nation. We do not live in a bubble! Our wellness is impacted by the overall system in which we live. We are all impacted by our family of origin, current family, society, culture, sexual orientation, and gender. All play a major role in our identity and how we relate to the world around us.
About Me and Relationship Counseling
I have been married for 24 years, so I really work on applying everything I teach to my own relationship. I am very honest in my sessions with other couples and provide a realistic view of marriage. I truly understand how hard it can be at times, and also how rewarding a committed relationship can benefit the overall family structure! I also believe relationships can end in a healthy manner. Someday, I am going to offer a conscious uncoupling class because how you separate is very important to everyone's mental health. As its healthy to acknowledge that not every relationship can be fixed or should it be. But! Being able to understand what happened within the system, understand your part, process what you need next time and what you can give - along with understanding what makes a relationship work is still very important for any future relationships.
I've been a therapist for a while now and I have learned one of the most important aspects for creating change is being open to looking at your own emotional patterns. Be curious about yourself and your reactions. To be able to look at your own reactions in relation to others; requires mindful self-awareness and self-compassion (for example, its okay to mess up and not be perfect). Couples need to come ready to work on themselves and not come to therapy to fix the other person. Instead, it requires a curious mindset about yourself - "Like, wow I just snapped at him/her....what is happening for me right now?" Yes, that's hard to do - trust me I know! It's easier to stay angry. But, if you can hold onto the moment just long enough to check in with what you need (what's behind the reaction), it increases your ability to communicate more authentically. . Again, for my example here to be ethical, the relationship needs to be absent of any emotional abuse, major addictions, or partner who has a narcissistic personality and so needs to be a relationship of safety and equality.
Many times couples decide to go to therapy as their last resort before divorce - they are so exhausted, angry and honestly emotionally divorced already, that they have little interest in addressing their part or again they may be in an unsafe relationship. If someone already has one foot out the door and has little interest in building a life with the other person couples counseling can be counterproductive and painful at times, so its important to consider all this before working with a couples counselor.
It's exciting to see healthy couples improve their relationship! It's inspiring. This is not easy work, but it is worth it! I can honestly say relationship counseling helps one grow individually by leaps and bonds WAY more than just doing individual counseling alone- if one is ready. :-)