I love what I do. Period. I am one of those lucky people that loves what they do and enjoys going to work. I can’t imagine any other career where you receive daily gifts from your clients. Each client entrusts me with their life stories and I am constantly humbled to be part of their journey. Since 1995 I have felt this strongly about it and it hasn’t faded yet.
So, what is my story you ask? I was raised in Chicagoland, Wisconsin, Connecticut and then back to IL, but the central area and then back to the Chicagoland area, where I was always supposed to be. Although living close to the ocean was also a pretty wonderful life.
I was always supposed to be a social worker but I didn’t know it until my junior year in college. I was fascinated with the idea that people do not live in a bubble but are impacted by their immediate family, their extended family, school, community, friends, country, etc. And that each person reacts to these various elements the best they know how, even if it’s not the best for them.
My Career Journey
I graduated from college and my parents said, time to gain some type of real employment. There was an ad in the paper (that’s was before you put your resume on Monster.com) for a case manager at a drug treatment center in Hannibal, MO. I thought, I will never work with addicts but I need a job so this should tie me over until I find something I “really” like. I worked with men and women whose lives were devastated by addiction and whose families were devastated by addiction. I saw people in such intense emotional pain grow and become whole again. This was a wonderful way to start my career and it gave me considerable experience and was exactly what I was meant to do.
When I moved to this area in 2000, I have worked as a therapist with several client populations including those that have addiction issues but also those with mental illness, self-harming behaviors and those that are struggling with various life issues. Exploring ways to communicate feelings differently and reacting in less destructive and painful ways become a focus for therapy.
I received my bachelor’s degree in social work at Quincy University in Quincy, IL in 1995 and my Master’s degree from Aurora University in 2004. I have been an adjunct professor in the graduate program at Aurora University for several years. I teach in the addiction program mainly because I really like teaching. To me it is essential for students to see clients as people and understand to gift that they are being given.
My Approach To Counseling
I am all about engaging in the change process with my clients. Change involves thinking, feeling, and choosing. Below you will see some of the theoretical approaches I use. I offer the clinical terminology and a basic description of what it means.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy – changing the way I think and act
- Dialectic behavioral therapy – changing the way I talk and act
- Enhanced motivation techniques – proven ways to get me moving
- Rational emotive therapy – getting clarity on my thoughts and emotions
- Psycho-social education for clients regarding diagnosis – getting the facts about my condition and how to approach it
- Coping skills – my toolkit to cope when I need to
My Speciality In Counseling
I enjoy working with individuals of all backgrounds, adolescent through adult. In addition to my professional licensure, I have the following certifications:
- Certified Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor (CADC) – 2001
- Dialectic-Behavior Therapy
While I treat a variety of mental health concerns, my speciality includes
- Phase of life concerns
- Substance abuse
- Process addictions
My Contribution on a Broader Scale
I am a past board member of the National Alliance for the Mentally IL- DeKalb, Kane and Kendall Co
I am the past state President of the Illinois Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. You can read my interview here. Also, I invite you to read an interview I gave recently regarding “Out of the Darkness” an event sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. http://www.ottawadelivered.com/story.cfm?id=7667&page=1#gotostory This experience changed my life. Preventing suicide and encouraging greater understanding of mental health is my passion.
My Life in Balance
When I am not at work I keep pretty busy. I have two daughters that I adore. They keep me busy, grounded and humble. I am not a perfect parent but they seem to like me anyways. We have a miniature German Shepard (we didn’t know she was a miniature when we adopted her) who has kept us crazy busy since we adopted her in August 2013. I really like to read, listen to great music, go downtown and people watch, be outside, go on road trips to new places and organize stuff. I am really hoping to learn how to knit in 2014 but so far it’s not going well.
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org