I have roots in Broken Arrow and am an alumna of both the University of Oklahoma and Texas Woman's University in Denton, TX.
My educational background includes a Master's degree in Counseling and Marriage Therapy from Texas Woman's University, supplemented by extensive continuing education and training in various therapeutic approaches. I have specialized expertise in Gottman Relationship coaching, life coaching, TBRI certification, foster care, polyvagal therapy, neuropsychology, breathwork, nutrition, yoga, meditation, trauma treatment, tapping, heartmath, sand tray, and strength-based theories. I study Internal Family Systems with various trainings and have done my own IFS work! (and continue to do so).
I am a certified yoga instructor (200-hour level), mindfulness coach, and Trauma-Informed Certified Teacher for Overcome! Anxiety by Sundra Institute. Furthermore, I hold national certification as a health coach by NBH-HWC, which maintains the highest standards for health coaches.
My family and I relocated from Dallas, TX to Tulsa to be closer to our large extended family. We also live part-time in Montana as we have family there as well. I have been married for 25 years, and we have three children ages 22, 19, and 9. As an active family, we enjoy various activities such as homeschooling, hiking, RV camping, exploring, and traveling. We do travel often but as I offer Telehealth I am to continue services in a variety of locations. I have a public counseling Facebook page where I share some of my journeys.
My area of expertise is helping individuals and couples live a conscious-centered life. I have invested an extensive amount of personal work to develop my skills, which benefits my clients directly. I have firsthand experience with anxiety, body image and low self-esteem, and I have learned to manage my thoughts and feelings through various methods such as counseling, meditations, spiritual retreats, and personal development. By cultivating a deeper understanding of myself, I have developed a kinder, gentler, and more balanced relationship with myself and others.
Anxiety is a natural part of living, and it is impossible to live without experiencing it. However, it is possible to learn how to manage anxiety by riding the waves safely to shore. Each person has their unique way of managing anxiety, and it involves cultivating compassion for themselves and others. It is a journey of self-acceptance to learn how to love ourselves amidst chaos. Life is an ongoing process, and we all face our struggles, which makes our humanity more relatable.
While I take pleasure in contemplating broad Eastern and Western philosophical and spiritual concepts, I do not condone spiritual bypassing or any form of partiality, such as using spiritual practices to avoid unresolved emotional issues, neglecting scientific evidence-based practices, or toxic positivity, which can hinder psychological growth. My psychological approach is based on scientific evidence, and I hold high esteem for one's chosen spiritual or religious beliefs.
While I don't adhere to any specific religion (I take a secular approach), I can incorporate elements of transpersonal "spiritual" psychology for those who are interested. This approach focuses on personal development beyond just the individual self, encouraging you to explore the deeper, universal aspects of your identity and the essence of being human. I recognize the detrimental effects of religious trauma, which can leave individuals feeling unworthy, ashamed, fearful, and guilty, affecting their mental health and well-being. If you're inclined towards a "spiritual" but non-religious perspective, please let me know, and we can delve into that conversation.
I provide a non-judgmental space that is welcoming of the LGBTQ community, and I am sensitive to the injustices that people of color encounter in our society. Our well-being is profoundly affected by the world around us, and we are all influenced by our family of origin, present family, society, culture, sexual orientation, and gender. All of these factors contribute to our identity and how we interact with the world.
About Me and Premarital Counseling - I focus on a preventive enrichment approach to couples
A note about couples therapy, having been married for 24 years, I understand how challenging and rewarding a committed relationship can be. I also recognize that relationships can come to a healthy end, and it is essential to acknowledge this fact. It is crucial to acknowledge that not every relationship can be mended, nor should it be. However, it is essential to comprehend the dynamics of the relationship, recognize one's role in it, reflect on what one can offer and what one requires in the future, and understand the key ingredients of successful relationships. These insights are invaluable for navigating future relationships.
I have learned that being open to examining one's emotional patterns is crucial for creating lasting change. Curiosity about yourself and your reactions is essential to developing a mindful self-awareness that allows you to examine your reactions in relation to others. Change happens when couples focus on working on their own "shadows" vs. focusing on how their partner needs to change. Couples therapy provides a significant opportunity for personal growth because it requires us to examine our contribution to relationship issues. By being open to exploring our role in the problems, one can gain insights that lead to personal growth and improved relationships.
To foster healthy communication in couples therapy, it is important for each individual to cultivate self-awareness and self-compassion. This involves being curious about one's own reactions in relation to others, rather than solely focusing on fixing the other person. While it may be challenging to pause and reflect on one's emotions in the moment, it can lead to increased authenticity and effective communication. However, it is essential to note that the relationship must be free of emotional abuse, major addictions, or a partner with a narcissistic personality to ensure a safe and equal environment.
I have shifted to preventive couples work and I love it!!! Often, couples opt for therapy as a last-ditch effort before divorce, having already reached a point of emotional exhaustion, anger, and disconnection from one another. In some cases, they may be in an unsafe relationship. In such situations, it can be difficult for one or both partners to be invested in working on the issues they bring to therapy. Consequently, couples counseling may prove to be counterproductive and even painful at times. It is therefore crucial to consider these factors before engaging a couples counselor.
It is gratifying to witness couples who are committed to improving their relationship and seeing positive results. While the work involved can be challenging, the payoff is truly worth it. In fact, I have found that relationship counseling often leads to greater individual growth than traditional individual counseling, provided that the couple is truly ready and willing to put in the effort. :-)