From infancy, we explore our environments to establish a very critical piece of our development: safety. When our safety is threatened physically, emotionally, and mentally, our body and our mind find ways to protect itself. We may engage in negative self-talk, repress painful memories, or shut ourselves off from others. We may engage in harmful activities that to make us feel invincible. The less we feel supported, seen, or heard, the more painful this all can feel.
For some, entering therapy feels scary and uncomfortable, especially when we are young. With that being said, safety is of utmost importance to me with every client that I have. In this environment, you are the expert of you, and I can accompany you on your journey to a place where you feel heard, validated, and accepted. We can work on developing skills that help affirm this both inside and outside the therapeutic space. While our past may inform our present, it does not determine our future or our ability to achieve peace and stability.
As a self-identified White heterosexual female, I work daily to understand my role in providing a culturally responsive and inclusive therapeutic experience. We do not exist separately from that of our culture, family, peers, and societal framework; this is true both in and outside of a therapeutic environment. With each client, I uphold values of cultural humility and openness, and I am committed to the lifelong journey of cultural competency. Adopting a more integrative approach, I am passionate about incorporating several modalities into my sessions with my clients. This includes Psychodynamic interventions, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Emotion-Focused Therapy, Mindfulness strategies, and more. For children and adolescents, I am comfortable incorporating Child-Centered Play and Art Therapy to encourage self-expression, identity development, emotional intelligence, family support, etc. With all ages, I utilize a Person-Centered and Strengths-Based therapeutic approach that focuses on empathy, active-listening, and unconditional positive regard.
I am passionate about working with children, adolescents, and their families. So much of who we are is informed by our early childhood experiences and our attachments with our family members. I believe we can work together to identify the strengths in the current family structure and use that as our solid base for support and growth. I have experience working with adjustment-related disorders, anxiety disorders, selective mutism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), LGBTQ+ children and adolescents, depression, grief, childhood trauma, post-traumatic stress disorders, and family/relationship issues.
Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, AR
Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology from Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
PhD in Counseling Psychology (In Progress), Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
Brilliant Detroit (Through partnership with Wayne State University), Detroit, MI
Mental Health and Wellness Clinic (MHAWC), Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
Children’s Hospital of Michigan (CHM), General Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, Detroit, MI
Currently, I am a PhD Candidate in the Counseling Psychology PhD program at Wayne State University. My research interests include early childhood development, parent-child relationships and their influence on development, community-based research methods, and racial socialization. I have recently defended my dissertation, which analyzed the ways in which White parents are discussing race and culture with their children and the affective factors that influence those strategies. I am projected to graduate with my PhD in Fall 2023. I am passionate about my current and future work as a clinician, scholar, advocate, and educator in this field. I am very excited to be providing short- and long-term therapy at Mala Child and Family Institute.
Specialties/Areas of Interest
Individual and family services
Those struggling with stress, self-esteem, and self-harming behaviors
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in childhood and adolescence
Overcoming grief and loss
What is your favorite quote?
“Dare to love yourself as if you were a rainbow with gold at both ends” – Unknown.
I saw this quote scrolling through social media and it was saved as my phone wallpaper for quite some time. Self-love can be one of the hardest things to accept into our daily routine. It is something I work daily on, and something I help my clients work on as well. I believe that when we truly begin to love ourselves, for all parts of ourselves, we increase our ability to prosper and find peace.
Why did you decide to become a mental health professional?
I have always had a strong passion for wanting to help others. If it wasn’t psychology, I might have entered another healthcare profession. In college, I quickly became fascinated with understanding the complexities of human nature. Why are relationships crucial to our mental health? How do we process BIG emotions? Who in our lives has the most impact on our development? Overtime, I realized that I was becoming less interested in the ‘why’ questions, and more interested in ‘what’s next?’ From there, my passion grew for therapy and its process. Right after I got my first client, I knew in my heart I was right where I was meant to be.
What is your favorite thing about your job?
Society, emotions, relationships, and life in general can be so overwhelming. I have always believed that even an hour of freedom a week, to get things off our chest, can do wonders for our well-being. My favorite part of my job is being able to offer a safe space for those who need it.
What is your ultimate wish for every client?
If I could wave a magic wand for all my clients, my wish would be that one day they can feel safe enough to explore the things inside therapy, outside of therapy. That the skills and self-love attained in this safe space, can begin to transcend to their daily life with ease. Additionally, that they have a support system (no matter how small) that can support them at every turn.
What is your favorite self-help book?
I have lots! But my favorite one I have read most recently is called Don’t Keep Your Day Job, by Cathy Heller. For me, it served as an opportunity to find things that inspire me outside of my day-to-day lifestyle. It might be helpful to those who are feeling stuck in their routines and help them figure out things that make them feel creative, excited, and inspired.
Which conditions do you most enjoy treating?
I have the most experience working with those who experience anxiety, depression, grief, and trauma symptoms. However, I have interest in working with individuals with a variety of symptoms, diagnoses, and backgrounds! My most worked with population happens to be children and families, and I feel my academic/research expertise aligns best with this population.
What modalities do you love implementing as a therapist?
From a conceptual perspective, I believe I align most with psychodynamic theory. From a treatment perspective, I have been trained as an integrative therapist. Such that, I may use a variety of modalities to fit the unique needs of my client. Most often, I incorporate a Strengths-Based Perspective, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Person-Centered Therapy, Child-Centered Play Therapy, Emotion Focused Therapy, and Family Systems Therapy into my sessions.