I’m originally from southwestern Ohio, where I completed my Bachelor’s in psychology at Wilmington College in 2011. After graduating, I became aware of what addiction was for the first time. I went to Ohio State University to continue my education in fall 2011. While attending Ohio State, I lived with a woman who eventually became my best friend. She was working a job she hated, she was stressed, broke, and she had low self esteem. She stayed up late and drank a little too much and smoked pot and cigarettes and made poor choices and passed out drunk every night and woke up with regrets more mornings than she would like to admit. One night, after going a little too hard, she sat down with me and another friend and said she was done. She was scared. She knew she had reached a point where she couldn’t have “just one” anymore. She knew drinking was bad for her. But once she started, she couldn’t stop.
She asked me to go to meetings with her. I had no idea what an AA meeting was, but I went. I remember the first time I walked in the door I was floored. There were so many people there. I listened to the stories of so many people who had problems just like I did, and they made the choice every day to not let their problems get the best of them. They called someone. They went to a meeting. They worked on their problems instead of avoiding them. They made active strides every day to be better. To not let this disease get the best of them. I was amazed and impressed to be in the presence of these people. Everyday people just like me who were trying to do better. Day by day. Hour by hour. Minute by minute.
The meetings I went to with my friend in her early days of sobriety inspired me. I had struggled to identify a specialization in my master’s program. I had known that I wanted to help people but I didn’t know how I wanted help. After watching her grow and change and begin to heal, I knew. This was what I wanted to do.
I switched my focus in my Master’s program to mental health and substance abuse and got an internship at Ohio State Medical Center’s Intensive Outpatient Program. I worked with all kinds of people struggling with substance abuse ranging from high school students to retirees. Some people were required by court to be there, others came because they genuinely just wanted to get better.
I led groups in the IOP several days a week and loved helping the clients there. I enjoyed incorporating facets of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational interviewing, and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) into my groups. I loved engaging the group in experiential games and activities to help them understand a concept. It was more fun for me and for them to play a game than me standing at the front of the room giving a lecture about why effective communication is so important in relationships.
I moved to North Carolina in 2015 and worked at a wilderness-based substance abuse treatment program for 2 1/2 years. There, I was able to combine my love of the outdoors with my passion for helping people get sober. I witnessed firsthand how nature has the ability to strip away everything that is unnecessary so we can learn what is truly important in life. It’s amazing how many distractions we create for ourselves to avoid things we don’t want to deal with. I worked with young adult males (primarily ages 18-35) work through anger issues, heal damaged family relationships, develop respectful and appropriate communication skills, learn effective coping skills, and increase stress and frustration tolerance. It was very rewarding work and I’m honored I was able to do that work in the woods with those clients.
love reading books and learning new things about how to help my clients. I do CrossFit and lift weights most days of the week and I love hiking with my boxer Casey. If this sounds like the kind of therapist you’d like to work with, awesome! Give me a call–I’d love to chat with you about how we can work together to help you meet your goals.