My journey to becoming a therapist began in 1994. I was feeling overwhelmed and fearful about my life as well as all the barriers for a newly divorced, single mom with four children. I decided to find a therapist. What could it hurt? In all actuality, that experience was pivotal to coping with the challenges I was facing. In some ways that experience shaped me into the person I am today. Every time I left my therapist’s office, I remember feeling competent and capable. My happiness increased and I was less worried…what a relief.
I am a person who likes to learn by observing my environment, so as I experienced therapy, I became fascinated with the skill set of a therapist who could allow me to feel good about myself without ever giving me advice. How did she do it? I learned my own truth, what my life experiences had taught me, both positive and negative, and how to create a plan for a different, more hopeful future for myself and my four children. I became more compassionate, loving, and spiritual. I am grateful for that life-changing experience.
Fast forward to 2002…in my work at that time, I enjoyed learning about people and one of the things I would do was create informal surveys to make conversation; the question I decided on one week was, “Are you happy with your life choices regarding your work?” I got many varied answers, but the thing that impacted me the most was hearing myself say, “If I could do what I really wanted to do, it would be to go to college and become a therapist.” I was 43 years old and thinking, “Could I actually do it?”
That old saying, “You can’t un-ring a bell” held true. I said it, and I meant it. I went home that day and told my husband what I had said, how I surprised myself, my fears, and also my excitement at the prospect. He agreed that I should go to school and said, “I think you would make a great therapist!” He was then, and still is, my biggest fan. Today I often I tell people that “we” have a Master’s Degree because of the love and sacrifices he made to support me in my journey to become a therapist.
I began my college journey without even knowing how to use a computer. I struggled but soon learned that I could do it. My biggest academic challenge was college algebra. I wrote an essay on the topic and actually won a scholarship…but that’s a story for another day. I met amazing people on my journey, some of whom I am still connected to today. I completed my “10-year plan” in just over 7 years and in 2009 I graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a Master’s Degree in Social Work.
Today, I work primarily with couples in private practice. My work at Stonebridge Couples Therapy is incredibly rewarding. In addition to my time in private practice, I have also worked for 10 years at Family and Children’s Services as a therapist. I have learned about trauma, PTSD, and substance abuse, how these affect the lives of my clients and their families, and how to treat them. I continue to work part-time for the Women in Recovery program where I facilitate therapy groups. I also teach classes on family, divorce, and co-parenting with Family and Children’s Services’ Family Life Education department.
My love of people and learning has allowed me to continually enhance my skills and become a highly qualified therapist. I am proficient in many models of therapy and have always enjoyed mentoring and supervising new therapists. One of the models I have advanced training in is Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), a proven, research-driven model for working with couples and families who are in distress and want to increase love and connection in their relationship. I am also a certified national provider of Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) which treats post-traumatic stress disorder.
Besides the love of my family and my faith, the greatest reward I have experienced is being able to work with couples and individuals, and witnessing the transformations of increased love and connection, self-esteem, and competency in their lives and relationships.
Today, when clients express doubts about if therapy can really help them, I tell them ‘I get it, I understand, I am with you.’ I also tell them that, sometimes, therapy kind of sneaks up on you. You want to feel better, get relief sooner rather than later…and truly one day you realize you aren’t the same anymore; you are different and you feel differently about things. You have a new perspective, and that changes everything.