Trauma-informed Therapy for Individuals & Couples
I provide trauma-informed therapy to individuals and couples in a safe, comfortable setting. Many people who give up on therapy do so because they haven’t found the right "fit" with a therapist. Choosing a therapist you feel comfortable with is paramount to starting the therapeutic process. I offer a free thirty-minute consultation for individuals and couples interested in starting therapy. This is an opportunity to meet face-to-face to discuss your therapeutic goals and how I can help you. We can decide together if my background and your goals are a good match.
I have a Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin and am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. My 25+ years of clinical experience include providing therapy in an inpatient treatment facility, an intensive outpatient program, a medical practice, and private practice. I have worked with children, adolescents, and adults in individual, group, couple, and family therapy.
The Therapeutic Relationship
Psychotherapy is an invitation to a collaborative healing relationship between therapist and client. The client and therapist each extend and accept the invitation to work together. My role in the therapeutic relationship is that of a compassionate trail guide. As the trail guide, I keep us focused on our destination: your healing. Together, we challenge the defenses and beliefs that perpetuate your suffering and prevent you from achieving your goals. Should you and I decide to work together I’ll regularly seek your feedback about our alliance and your growth. We’ll review your progress toward your goals to keep us on track for the best use of your time and money.
My therapeutic approach is based on psychodynamic psychotherapy, attachment theory, object relations theory, and interpersonal neurobiology. Intensive Short-term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP), a psychodynamic psychotherapy model, informs all of my clinical work. ISTDP promotes accelerated symptom reduction in depression, anxiety, PTSD, and somatoform disorders. In addition, I incorporate a variety of therapeutic interventions as part of the process depending on individual needs. These include Emotional Transformation Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR), and Accelerated Resolution Therapy.
I use the Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy (PACT) for my work with couples. In 2012 I began studying with Stan Tatkin, Psy D, the developer of PACT and co-founder of the PACT Institute. I was invited to join the PACT Institute's inaugural invitation-only certification program and am one of 19 clinicians worldwide to receive the PACT-certified designation. I host a monthly online discussion group for PACT therapists, provide consultation to PACT therapists, and offer courses through the PACT Institute. With my colleague, Kathryn Barksdale, LPC, I co-created Trauma Wise Couple Therapy, a project focused on providing solutions to psychotherapists working with high-trauma couples. Together, we developed a framework for therapists who work with couples with complex trauma. I continue to attend group case consultations with Stan and am a coach for the PACT Institute. In addition, I sit on the board of the International Experiential Dynamic Therapy Association (IEDTA) and chair the IEDTA Diversity Committee. I presented on two panels at the IEDTA conference in Venice, Italy, in 2022.
My commitment to healing and the therapeutic process includes my clients’ healing and my own. I firmly believe that effective and ethical therapists do their own work. I can’t expect my clients to engage in the kind of vulnerability that occurs in therapy without having experienced it myself. A therapist’s understanding of hitting a plateau or pushing through resistance is only as good as their own first-hand knowledge. As a therapist, I can only go as deep with my clients as I have been myself.
I make a concerted effort to do my own internal anti-racism work and address my privilege as related to other marginalized groups. Many of my clients have lived experiences with racial and cultural trauma with which I have no personal experience. Implicit biases related to sexism, hetero-normism, transphobia, ageism, poverty, and ableism appear whenever humans come together. This includes in the therapy room and in my work with clients. I strive to identify and challenge my own internal biases and understand my clients’ individual, inter-generational, and societal experiences of trauma. I am a cis-gendered white woman, and my pronouns are she/her. I seek to provide an affirming, inclusive, justice-oriented space for healing and to support my client's healing through an anti-oppressive, anti-racist lens. I'm committed to providing quality mental healthcare to individuals of all races, identities, expressions, orientations, and family backgrounds.
I'm a bit of a neuroscience geek and love learning about the latest research regarding how our brains function and how that applies to the healing process. I'm also passionate about knitting and other fiber arts and take almost any opportunity to get my creative juices flowing.
One might think of therapy as a form of guided mindfulness meditation. We help the patient pay attention to reality in this moment... Each time he ignores his inner life by using a defense, we help him see his defense and return to his feeling.
― Jon Frederickson
Training & Consultation
I commit to my ongoing growth and development as a therapist through continued education, consultation, and deliberate practice. My consistent investment in professional training enhances my expertise and clinical skills. This investment yields powerful results for my clients in the form of deeper healing and more rapid results. It's my fortune to learn from some exceptionally skilled therapists, including Stan Tatkin, Jon Frederickson, Allan Abbass, Nat Kuhn, and Ange Cooper. Some of the advanced training I've attended over the past several years are listed below, along with my professional affiliations.
To sharpen my skills as a therapist, I participate in multiple forms of deliberate practice (DP). DP is a purposeful form of practice and skill-building for the specific goal of performance improvement. Individuals from a broad range of professions, such as professional athletes, dancers, musicians, artists, medical professionals, and teachers, use various types of DP. DP takes many forms, including mindful skill-building, receiving coaching from experts in the field, peer supervision, intentional self-supervision, and observation of video-recorded sessions.
For me, I am driven by two main philosophies: know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others. You'd be surprised how far that gets you.
― Neil deGrasse Tyson
Advanced Professional Training
ISTDP for Anxiety Disorders, Allan Abbass, Joel Town, 2023
Clinical Certification Program, the PACT Institute, 2022
IEDTA International Conference, Venice, Italy, 2022
ISTDP for the Fragile Patient, Monthly Case Rounds, Allan Abbass, 2022
Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy, Advanced Supervision, Jon Frederickson, 2021-2022
Bringing Structural Change in the Fragile Patient, Immersion, Allan Abbass, June 2022
Accelerated Resolution Therapy, Basic Skills, January 2022
Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy, Advanced Training, Allan Abbass & Ange Cooper 2021-2022
Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy, Level III, Stan Tatkin, 2020-2021
Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy, Core Skills, Jon Frederickson, 2018-2021
Treating Depression with ISTDP, Immersion Allan Abbass December 2021
ISTDP Halifax Immersion, Allan Abbass & Joel Town, September 2021
ISTDP Halifax Immersion, Allan Abbass, Joel Town, Ange Cooper October 2020
Working with Splitting and Dissociation in a Fragile Patient, Jon Frederickson, July 2020
Emotional Transformation Therapy, Levels I, II, III, IV & V Steven Vazquez, 2018-2020
Somatic Experiencing Master Class, Through the Eye of the Needle, Part I, Peter Levine, 2018
Bodywork and Somatic Education, Modules I, II, III, & IV Dave Berger, 2017
Somatic Experiencing, Advanced, Modules I and II, Berns Galloway, 2016
Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy, Level III, Stan Tatkin, 2016
Somatic Experiencing Master Class, Depression and Healthy Aggression, Peter Levine, 2015
Penetrating Defenses and Surmounting Shame, Jon Frederickson, & Susan Warshow, 2015
Somatic Experiencing, Intermediate, Modules I, II, and III, Maggie Kline, 2015
Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy, Level II, Stan Tatkin, 2014
Somatic Experiencing, Beginning, Modules I, II, and III, Maggie Kline, 2014
Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy, Level II, Stan Tatkin, 2013
Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy, Level I, Stan Tatkin, 2012
EMDR Levels I & II, 2007
Only a few find the way, some don’t recognize it when they do – some… don’t ever want to.
― Lewis Carroll
Experiential Dynamic Therapy Association (IEDTA) board member, 2022-present
IEDTA Diversity Committee, chair, 2022-present
IEDTA Conference Program Committee, member 2022-present
International Deliberate Practice Society
Society for the Exploration of Psychotherapy Integration
International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation
International Center for Clinical Excellence
Emotional Transformation Therapy International Association
American Psychological Association
Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute, Lifetime Member
National Association of Social Workers
Austin Group Therapy Society
Austin In Connection
Masters of Science in Social Work, University of Texas at Austin, 1999
Bachelor of Science in Social Work, University of Texas at Austin, 1998