I received my Masters of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy, which includes all the education of a Professional Counseling degree as well, from Richmont Graduate University in Atlanta, Georgia in May of 2005. I currently hold an LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor, #6504) in the state of North Carolina. I am also a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC, #202140).
I have been counseling in a professional setting since June 2005. I have experience counseling with clientele of the severe and persistent mentally ill population. I also have experience counseling with clientele experiencing a wide range of DSM IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, fourth revision) diagnoses such as Depression and Anxiety. I have experience in individual counseling, group counseling, couples counseling, marriage counseling and family counseling. I also have experience counseling with adolescents and their families in individual, marital and family counseling settings. Since December 2008, I have been counseling in a Private Practice setting seeing adolescents and adults in the settings of individual, couples and family counseling.
My theoretical orientation is eclectic, meaning I draw on but am not limited to multiple theoretical orientations during my counseling sessions. The majority of my theoretical orientation is Cognitive Behavioral and Family Systems theories; I use these theories most often in my counseling work with clients. I also incorporate Psychodynamic and Person-Centered therapies in my counseling practice. I draw on a number of techniques of these theories, as well as many other theories in my counseling practice. Some techniques used in counseling are discovering irrational beliefs, evaluating self-talk, identifying cause and effect relationships, examining choices, setting goals, and reframing. I also provide Christian counseling if that is desired. Prayer, Scripture and spiritual concerns can be integrated into therapy if you desire.
I believe that as people become more aware of their thoughts, actions, emotions and beliefs that they have increased ability to face challenges and overcome difficulty more successfully. It takes some people longer to achieve this goal in counseling than others. As a client, you may end our counseling relationship at any point.
Therapy is not easily described in general statements. It varies depending on the personalities of the therapist and client, and the particular problems you are experiencing. There are many different methods I may use to deal with the problems that you hope to address. Counseling is not like a medical doctor visit. Instead, it calls for a very active effort on your part. In order for the therapy to be most successful, you will have to work on things we talk about both during our sessions and at home.
Counseling can have benefits and risks. Since therapy often involves discussing unpleasant aspects of your life, you may experience uncomfortable feelings like sadness, guilt, anger, frustration, loneliness, and helplessness. Therefore, sometimes people get “worse” before they get better. On the other hand, therapy has also been shown to have many benefits: decreased depression, decreased anxiety and panic, resolved losses, better managed grief, increased self worth, etc. Counseling often leads to better relationships, solutions to specific problems, and significant reductions in feelings of distress, depression or anxiety. However, there are no guarantees of what you will experience during the counseling process.
Our first few counseling sessions will involve an evaluation of your needs and desired goals. By the end of this time, I will be able to offer you some first impressions of what our work will include and treatment goals, if you decide to continue with therapy. You should evaluate this information along with your own opinions of whether you feel comfortable working with me. Counseling involves a large commitment of time, money, and energy. If you have questions about the counseling process, we should discuss them whenever they arise.