I was born in Charleston, West Virginia and spent the majority of my childhood in the town of Delaware, Ohio. I attended undergraduate at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio where I had the opportunity to spend a semester at the University of Salamanca, Spain. In Spain, I was able to develop my Spanish language skills and to experience the diversity of life in other parts of the world. I moved to Illinois in 2002 to begin my graduate work at Wheaton College. While at Wheaton I was able to work with children and their families in the Head Start program in the predominately Latino regions of Chicago. I also worked as a school counselor for elementary and junior high children in the Austin community of Chicago. My internship training was through the Chicago Area Christian Training Consortium (CACTC) and took place here at Heartland Counseling and at the Lawndale Christian Health Center. To complete my doctoral degree, my dissertation focused on identifying the sources of stress for Head Start teachers. I have stayed on at Heartland as a therapist.
I like to approach my counseling with children from a behavioral systems point of view. With children, behavior often begins and is maintained by a complicated mixture of individual, family, and community factors. I like to take into consideration the environments that the child comes in contact with each day and tailor treatment recommendations to meet the needs of the child in all of those settings. I enjoy using a collaborative approach with parents, school, physicians, and other individuals in the community to ensure that not only the psychological, but the physical, social, and spiritual needs of the child are attended to. With adolescent and adult clients I find that it is those same early experiences with family and social systems that have often led to negative views of themselves or the world around them. I like to explore the origin of those thoughts and feelings with clients and help them find healthier ways of being in relationship with other people as adolescents and adults.
I enjoy working with children, adolescents and their families on many different issues including behavior, school, family relationships, self-esteem, anxiety, and social coping. One area of my work that I am trained in and have a strong passion for is working with children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD). From 2000 – 2005, I worked with children with ASD’s doing Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy (ABA). The five years that I spent doing in-home ABA therapy have given me a rich understanding of the challenges that face the families of children with ASD’s, as well as an appreciation for dedication and commitment that parents have for their children. My work with children with ASD’s now tends to focus on providing support for family members, helping and training school personnel involved with the children, and working individually with children to improve social and adaptive skills.
Hobbies and Interests
Being a mom to two young children, my time away from Heartland is filled with dirt, markers, trucks, and dolls. With the time I do have left, in the summer I enjoy being outdoors and camping or hiking. I have been on several backpacking trips including; Yosemite National Park, parts of the Appalachian Trail, and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. In the winter I love to craft at home. I enjoy sewing, crocheting, and cardmaking. My husband and I have also been active with our church’s youth programs for several years.
T.V. shows – Grey’s Anatomy, Elementary, Once Upon a Time, Call the Midwife, Reign
Books – Harry Potter, Sophie’s World, The Secret Life of Bees, The Hunger Games
Movies – Princess Bride, Hitch, Pirates of the Caribbean, anything Pixar
Foods – Anything made with pumpkin, Pizza, Nutella
Sports teams – The Cubs, The Bears, and The OSU Buckeye’s football team