I was a single mother working full time at an electric company in Arizona when I started taking classes at the local community college. Although at the time it seemed improbable, I decided to pursue my life-long dream of becoming a psychotherapist. A workers' compensation injury presented me with the opportunity to attend school full time and two years later I graduated Summa Cum Laude from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology. I obtained my Master of Science degree in counseling from Western Carolina University (WCU) in Cullowhee, North Carolina. WCU is an affiliate institute of the University of North Carolina and it is accredited by The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). I completed a practicum and an internship in North Carolina as part of my graduate program. These assignments were completed at two separate agencies and provided me with invaluable experience working with individuals who have developmental, mental health, and/or chemical dependency disorders.
I have provided mental health and substance dependence counseling, clinical and personnel supervision, and consultation services related to behavioral health as a private practitioner and in non-profit agencies in Florida and Alaska since 1996. In 1999 I opened a counseling practice in Inverness, Florida and one year later I was offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live and work in Juneau, Alaska. In Juneau, I was employed by Bartlett Regional Hospital (BRH), first as their mental health clinician/clinical services coordinator and later as the program director for Rainforest Recovery Center (RRC). RRC is the hospital's dual diagnosis chemical dependency treatment program offering residential, outpatient and emergency services, including detoxification. I retired from RRC after seven years and returned to Citrus County, Florida and reopened my counseling practice in July 2007. I loved living and working in Juneau and I will always miss its beauty. Besides the many wonderful experiences I had in Alaska, I was privileged to work with many talented, dedicated and caring people. Leaving Juneau was a difficult decision for me to make, but Florida is where I was born and raised and where I feel most at home.
I love being a therapist but counseling is not my first career. I started out as a secretary/receptionist for an insurance adjusting firm in Glenwood Springs, Colorado and for five years I had a taste of the business of claims adjusting. From there I went to work for an insurance agency where I learned to quote automobile and mobile home policies and finalize insurance claims. After that, I accepted a job at the local rural electric company where I was the sole data entry clerk for the billing department. I moved to Mesa, Arizona with my son in 1979 and worked for a rural electric company in Phoenix. I remained employed with this company for ten years, first as a billing clerk and later as an electric meter reader. During my employment as a meter reader, working in the intense Arizona heat for nearly nine years, a workers' compensation injury left me unable to return to that job. What seemed like an unfortunate obstacle became an opportunity for change and what a wonderful change it has been.
Our main task in life is to give birth to ourselves...
~ Erich Fromm ~
A Little About Me
What I love most about counseling is the fact that the therapeutic process works and the therapeutic relationship presents every participant with the opportunity for personal growth and development. Counseling is a partnership, a relationship that occurs through collaboration, not something that happens to you. Counseling can be very emotional and very difficult at times but it is mostly very rewarding and empowering. I believe that everyone has an inner drive to be the very best they can be.
Despite our losses and a few setbacks now and again, our life's journey is usually manageable. Most of the time we do extremely well in adjusting and adapting to the changes that occur on a daily basis. Most of the time we can maneuver around all of the obstacles that get in our way.
There are times in everyone's life when unresolved issues from the past or too many obstacles in the present haunt us or occur at one time making it difficult to function. There are times when these obstacles seem too intimidating to confront but if avoided grow exponentially, creating an atmosphere of despair and a life of stress and anxiety. Unresolved problems interfere with personal growth by crushing dreams and preventing the accomplishment of goals. Even routine daily activities can become unbearably burdensome, depleting our energy and eliminating our motivation to keep trying, especially when nothing seems to change. For some, there is a loss of interest in things once enjoyed and life becomes dull and meaningless. Others rely on substances to escape the daily pressures and disappointments that become overwhelming or to cope with unbearable grief and loss.
This seemingly inescapable downward spiral is not all-powerful and all-consuming. The cycle can be broken and turned into an opportunity for growth. I believe that everyone has the capacity and the desire to heal and to overcome life's challenges no matter how daunting. I believe that everyone has the capacity to find pleasure in all that life has to offer. I believe that everyone can find purpose and meaning in their lives no matter what obstacles they encounter. I believe in people and in their extraordinary ability and powerful inner drive to overcome any situation so they may continue their personal journey with confidence.
"...there are three main avenues on which one arrives at meaning in life. The first is by creating a work or by doing a deed. The second is by experiencing something or encountering someone, in other words, meaning can be found not only in work but also in love...the third avenue to meaning in life: even the helpless victim of a hopeless situation, facing a fate he cannot change, may rise above himself, may grow beyond himself, and by so doing change himself. He may turn a personal tragedy into a triumph."
~ Viktor E. Frankl
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