After finishing my BSW (1995) and MSW (1997) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, I obtained my LCSW in Illinois in 2000 and have been a licensed clinician for twenty-three years. I started my career in group homes with abused, neglected, and pregnant/parenting teenage clients in the foster care system. I then moved to inpatient psychiatric units, where I treated seriously, chronically mentally ill and substance abusing clients impacted by economic difficulties and a lack of community resources. I have worked in several PHP/IOP programs for mental health and dual diagnosis clients, seeing growth and healing through these programs. My true passion lies with trauma, sexual abuse/sexual assault survivors, hidden abuse, and C-PTSD.
I began working with borderline personality disorder and C-PTSD just as dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) gained credibility as an effective treatment to decrease the chronic dysregulation, self-injury and frequent suicidality co-occurring with these populations. I have been trained in DBT since the early 2000’s and have seen dramatic improvement in clients utilizing this treatment modality. I consistently use principles of DBT to inform my work.
I have been an adjunct professor at two different graduate schools of social work in my hometown of Chicago, and this work, along with training social work/MFT interns and pre-licensed clinicians honors my commitment to training the next generation of therapists. I also frequently work with therapists in my clinical work and am "a therapist's therapist."
I see clients with struggles ranging from more straightforward parent-child relational issues to longstanding trauma. With professional and personal experience raising three (now) teenaged children from an attachment parenting, free-range philosophy, I help many parents gain greater insights into the challenges of modern parenting. I speak at local schools on a variety of clinical topics, and provide community support for parents coping with life and family changes related to COVID-19. I promote raising resilient, internally-motivated, responsible, empathic children and help educate parents in this philosophy.
While taking a brief time off from my career to raise young children, I volunteered with Human Rights Campaign's (HRC) "Welcoming Schools" committee to train educational personnel to be more responsive and welcoming to LGBTQIA+ students and parents. I am deeply committed to diversity, inclusivity, and equity and am an ally to LGBTQIA+ individuals. I am the proud parent to an AFAB, nonbinary trans teen beginning their gender affirming journey, and am familiar with the challenges this may present to parents.
In the past few years, I have synthesized my passion for trauma work into working with the devastating effects of narcissistic abuse, a mental health issue not yet well understood in the larger psychological community. I guide clients in identifying and leaving these toxic relationships, rebuilding their lives, and helping them resolve trauma, codependency, attachment and self-love issues that make survivors vulnerable to this form of abuse.
I live in the Pasadena area and in my spare time I am a marathon runner, backpacker, and an aspiring armchair photographer. I love travel, live music, collecting vinyl, and being surrounded by my people: my children, my partner, good friends, and my rescue dogs, Blue and Poppy.